HOME

TheInfoList




Koine Greek (;. Modern , ), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
spoken and written during the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
, the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
and the early
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (') of the kingdom of and a member of the . He was born in in 356 BC and succeeded his ...

Alexander the Great
in the fourth century BC, and served as the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a ...
of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries. It was based mainly on
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...
and related
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
speech forms, with various admixtures brought about through
dialect levelling Dialect levelling or leveling (in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Curren ...
with other varieties. Koine Greek included styles ranging from more conservative literary forms to the spoken vernaculars of the time. As the dominant language of the Byzantine Empire, it developed further into
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Fall of Constantino ...
, which then turned into
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
. Literary Koine was the medium of much of post-classical Greek literary and scholarly writing, such as the works of
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
and
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
. Koine is also the language of the Christian
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, of the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
(the 3rd-century BC Greek translation of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
), and of most early Christian theological writing by the
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, di ...
. In this context, Koine Greek is also known as "Biblical", "New Testament", "ecclesiastical" or "patristic" Greek. The Roman Emperor
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoicism, Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Nicc ...

Marcus Aurelius
also wrote his private thoughts in Koine Greek in a work that is now known as ''The
Meditations ''Meditations'' () is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a from 161 to 180 and a philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the (a term coined s ...

Meditations
''. Koine Greek continues to be used as the liturgical language of services in the
Greek Orthodox Church The name Greek Orthodox Church (Greek language, Greek: Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία, ''Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía'', ), or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Christian denomination, churches within the lar ...

Greek Orthodox Church
.


Name

The English-language name ''Koine'' derives from the Koine Greek term , "the common dialect". The Greek word () itself means "common". The word is pronounced , or in US English and in UK English. The pronunciation of the word ''koine'' itself gradually changed from (close to the Classical Attic pronunciation ) to (close to the
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
). In Greek, the language has been referred to as , "Hellenistic Koiné", in the sense of "Hellenistic supraregional language"). Ancient scholars used the term ''koine'' in several different senses. Scholars such as
Apollonius Dyscolus Apollonius Dyscolus ( el, Ἀπολλώνιος ὁ Δύσκολος; reached his maturity sometime around 130 CE) is considered one of the greatest of the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greec ...
(second century AD) and
Aelius Herodianus Aelius Herodianus ( grc-gre, Αἴλιος Ἡρωδιανός) or Herodian (fl. 2nd century CE) was one of the most celebrated grammarians of Greco-Roman antiquity. He is usually known as Herodian except when there is a danger of confusion with t ...
(second century AD) maintained the term ''Koine'' to refer to the
Proto-Greek language The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language which was the last common ancestor of all varieties of Greek language, Greek, including Mycenaean Greek, the subsequent ancient Gr ...
, while others used it to refer to any vernacular form of Greek speech which differed somewhat from the literary language.Andriotis, Nikolaos P. ''History of the Greek Language''. When Koine Greek became a language of literature by the first century BC, some people distinguished two forms: written as the literary post-classical form (which should not be confused with
Atticism Atticism (meaning "favouring Attica", the region of Athens in Greece) was a rhetorical movement that began in the first quarter of the 1st century BC; it may also refer to the wordings and phrasings typical of this movement, in contrast with various ...
), and vernacular as the day-to-day
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
. Others chose to refer to Koine as "the dialect of
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
" or "Alexandrian dialect" (), or even the universal dialect of its time. Modern classicists have often used the former sense.


Origins and history

Koine
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
arose as a common dialect within the armies of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (') of the kingdom of and a member of the . He was born in in 356 BC and succeeded his ...

Alexander the Great
. Under the leadership of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
, their newly formed common variety was spoken from the
Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...
of Egypt to the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
. It replaced existing
ancient Greek dialects Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several variety (linguistics), varieties. Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of th ...
with an everyday form that people anywhere could understand. Though elements of Koine Greek took shape in
Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
, the post-Classical period of Greek is defined as beginning with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, when cultures under Greek sway in turn began to influence the language. The passage into the next period, known as
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Fall of Constantino ...
, dates from the foundation of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
by
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine the Great
in 330 AD. The post-Classical period of Greek thus refers to the creation and evolution of Koine Greek throughout the entire Hellenistic and Roman eras of history until the start of the Middle Ages. The linguistic roots of the Common Greek dialect had been unclear since ancient times. During the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
, most scholars thought of Koine as the result of the mixture of the four main Ancient Greek dialects, "" (the composition of the Four). This view was supported in the early twentieth century by
Paul KretschmerPaul Kretschmer (2 May 1866 – 9 March 1956) was a German linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed ...
in his book ''Die Entstehung der Koine'' (1901), while
Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff Enno Friedrich Wichard Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (22 December 1848 – 25 September 1931) was a German classical philologist. Wilamowitz, as he is known in scholarly circles, was a renowned authority on Ancient Greece Ancient Gree ...

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
and
Antoine Meillet Paul Jules Antoine Meillet (; 11 November 1866, Moulins, France – 21 September 1936, Châteaumeillant, France) was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. He began his studies at the Sorbonne University Sorbon ...
, based on the intense Ionic elements of the Koine – instead of and instead of (; ) – considered Koine to be a simplified form of
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
. The view accepted by most scholars today was given by the Greek linguist
Georgios Hatzidakis Georgios Nicolaou Hatzidakis ( el, Γεώργιος Νικολάου Χατζιδάκις; , in Myrthios, Ottoman Crete – 28 June 1941, in Athens) was a Greeks, Greek philologist, who is regarded as the father of linguistics in Greece. He w ...
, who showed that despite the "composition of the Four", the "stable nucleus" of Koine Greek is Attic. In other words, Koine Greek can be regarded as Attic with the admixture of elements especially from Ionic, but also from other dialects. The degree of importance of the non-Attic linguistic elements on Koine can vary depending on the region of the Hellenistic world. In that respect, the varieties of Koine spoken in the
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
n colonies of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
(e.g. Pontus, cf.
Pontic Greek Pontic Greek ( el, Ποντιακή διάλεκτος, ; Pontic Greek: , or ) is a variety of Modern Greek originally spoken in the Pontus area on the southern shores of the Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ...
) would have more intense
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
characteristics than others and those of Laconia and Cyprus would preserve some
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
and
Arcadocypriot Arcadocypriot, or southern Achaean, was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese The Peloponnese () or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Peloponnesos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsu ...
characteristics, respectively. The literary Koine of the Hellenistic age resembles Attic in such a degree that it is often mentioned as ''Common Attic''.


Sources

The first scholars who studied Koine, both in Alexandrian and Early Modern times, were classicists whose prototype had been the literary
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
of the Classical period and frowned upon any other variety of
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
. Koine Greek was therefore considered a decayed form of Greek which was not worthy of attention. The reconsideration on the historical and linguistic importance of Koine
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
began only in the early 19th century, where renowned scholars conducted a series of studies on the evolution of Koine throughout the entire
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
and
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. The sources used on the studies of Koine have been numerous and of unequal reliability. The most significant ones are the inscriptions of the post-Classical periods and the
papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poaceae, grasses or other vegetable sources in water, dr ...

papyri
, for being two kinds of texts which have authentic content and can be studied directly. Other significant sources are the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
, the Greek translation of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
, and the Greek
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
. The teaching of these texts was aimed at the most common people, and for that reason, they use the most popular language of the era. Other sources can be based on random findings such as inscriptions on vases written by popular painters, mistakes made by Atticists due to their imperfect knowledge of Attic Greek or even some surviving Greco-Latin glossaries of the Roman period, Augsburg
e.g.: Finally, a very important source of information on the ancient Koine is the
modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
language with all its dialects and its own ''Koine'' form, which have preserved some of the ancient language's oral linguistic details which the written tradition has lost. For example, Pontic and
Cappadocian Greek Cappadocian, also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek, is a mixed language originally spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey) by descendants of the pre-Turkic peoples of Anatolia. The language originally diverged from Byzantine Greek ...
preserved the ancient pronunciation of as ε ( for standard Modern Greek etc.), while the
Tsakonian language Tsakonian (also Tsaconian, Tzakonian or Tsakonic; Tsakonian: , ; Greek: ) is a Hellenic language which is both highly divergent from other spoken varieties of Modern Greek The linguistic varieties of Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''K ...
preserved the long α instead of η ( etc.) and the other local characteristics of
Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of . Together with Northwest Gree ...
. Dialects from the southern part of the Greek-speaking regions (
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Dodecanese
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
, etc.), preserve the pronunciation of the double similar consonants (), while others pronounce in many words υ as ου or preserve ancient double forms ( etc.). Linguistic phenomena like the above imply that those characteristics survived within Koine, which in turn had countless variations in the Greek-speaking world.


Types


Biblical Koine

''Biblical Koine'' refers to the varieties of Koine Greek used in
Bible translations into GreekWhile the Old Testament portion of the Bible was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. The Greek language however, has several different dialects or denominations. This required several different translations don ...
and related texts. Its main sources are: * The
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
, a 3rd-century BC Greek translation of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
(Old Testament) and texts not included in the Hebrew Bible; * The Greek New Testament, compiled originally in Greek.


Septuagint Greek

There has been some debate to what degree Biblical Greek represents the mainstream of contemporary spoken Koine and to what extent it contains specifically
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
substratum In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
features. These could have been induced either through the practice of translating closely from
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroas ...
or
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...
originals, or through the influence of the regional non-standard Greek spoken by originally Aramaic-speaking Hellenized Jews. Some of the features discussed in this context are the Septuagint's normative absence of the particles and , and the use of to denote "it came to pass". Some features of Biblical Greek which are thought to have originally been non-standard elements eventually found their way into the main of the Greek language. S. J. Thackeray, in ''A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek According to the Septuagint'' (1909), wrote that only the five books of the
Pentateuch The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebre ...
, parts of the
Book of Joshua The Book of Joshua ( he, ספר יהושע ') is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nev ...
and the
Book of Isaiah The Book of Isaiah ( he, ספר ישעיהו, ) is the first of the Latter Prophets Nevi'im (; he, נְבִיאִים ''Nəḇî'îm'', "Prophets" literally "spokespersons") is the second major division of the Hebrew Bible (the '' Tanakh' ...
may be considered "good Koine". One issue debated by scholars is whether and how much the translation of the Pentateuch influenced the rest of the Septuagint, including the translation of Isaiah. Another point that scholars have debated is the use of as a translation for the Hebrew . Old Testament scholar James Barr has been critical of
etymological Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of words. By extension, t ...
arguments that refers to "the community called by God to constitute his People". Kyriakoula Papademetriou explains:


New Testament Greek

The authors of the New Testament follow the Septuagint translations for over half their quotations from the Old Testament. The "
historical present In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
" tense is a term used for present tense verbs that are used in some narrative sections of the New Testament to describe events that are in the past with respect to the speaker. This is seen more in works attributed to
Mark Mark may refer to: Currency * Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark ( Bosnian/Croatian/ Serbian: , Bosnian/Serbian: ); sign: KM; code: BAM) is the currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and ...

Mark
and
John John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), including a list of people who have the name John John may also refer to: New Testament Works ...

John
than . It is used 151 times in the ''
Gospel of Mark The Gospel according to Mark ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον , translit=Euangélion katà Mârkon), also called the Gospel of Mark, or simply Mark, is the second of the four Gospel#Canonical_gospels, canonical gospels and of ...
'' in passages where a reader might expect a past tense verb. Scholars have presented various explanations for this; in the early 20th century some scholars argued that the use of the historical present tense in ''Mark'' was due to the influence of
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...
, but this theory fell out of favor in the 1960s. Another group of scholars believed the historical present tense was used to heighten the dramatic effect, and this interpretation was favored in the ''
New American Bible The New American Bible (NAB) is an English translation English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or relate ...
'' translation. In Volume II of the 1929 edition of ''A Grammar of the New Testament'', W.F. Howard argues that the heavy use of the historical present in
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
and
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
, compared with the relatively infrequent usage by
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
and
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...

Xenophon
was evidence that heavy use of this verb tense is a feature of vernacular Koine, but other scholars have argued that the historical present can be a literary form to "denote semantic shifts to more prominent material."


Patristic Greek

The term ''patristic Greek'' is sometimes used for the Greek written by the Greek Church Fathers, the
Early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
theologians in late antiquity. Christian writers in the earliest time tended to use a simple register of Koiné, relatively close to the spoken language of their time, following the model of the Bible. After the 4th century, when Christianity became the
state church of the Roman Empire The state church of the Roman Empire refers to the church approved by the Roman emperors after Theodosius I issued the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which recognized the catholic orthodoxy of Nicene Christians in the Great Church as the Roman Empi ...
, more learned registers of Koiné also came to be used.


Differences between Attic and Koine Greek

The study of all sources from the six centuries which are symbolically covered by Koine reveals linguistic changes from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
on elements of the spoken language including
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
,
word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
,
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
and
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
(sound system). Most new forms start off as rare and gradually become more frequent until they are established. As most of the changes between modern and ancient Greek were introduced via Koine, Koine is largely familiar and at least partly intelligible to most writers and speakers of Modern Greek.


Differences in grammar


Phonology

During the period generally designated as Koine Greek, a great deal of phonological change occurred. At the start of the period, the pronunciation was virtually identical to
Ancient Greek phonology Ancient Greek phonology is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "re ...
, whereas in the end, it had much more in common with
Modern Greek phonology This article deals with the phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular ...
. The three most significant changes were the loss of vowel length distinction, the replacement of the pitch accent system by a stress accent system, and the monophthongization of several diphthongs: *The ancient distinction between long and short vowels was gradually lost, and from the second century BC all vowels were isochronic (having equal length). *From the second century BC, the Ancient Greek pitch accent was replaced with a
stress accent In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
. * Psilosis: loss of
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
, . Rough breathing had already been lost in the
Ionic Greek Ionic Greek ( grc, Ἑλληνική Ἰωνική, Hellēnikē Iōnikē) was a of the Attic–Ionic or Eastern of . History The Ionic dialect appears to have originally spread from the Greek mainland across the at the time of the s, around t ...
varieties of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and the
Aeolic Greek In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
of
Lesbos Lesbos or Lesvos (, also ; el, Λέσβος, Lésvos ) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly con ...
. *The diphthongs , were respectively simplified to the long vowels , , . *The diphthongs , , and became
monophthong A monophthong ( ; , ) is a pure vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writ ...
s. , which had already been pronounced as by the Boeotians since the 4th century BC and written η (e.g. ), became in Koine, too, first a long vowel and then, with the loss of distinctive vowel length and openness distinction , merging with ε. The diphthong had already merged with in the 5th century BC in
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...

Argos
, and by the 4th century BC in
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of sel ...

Corinth
(e.g. ), and it acquired this pronunciation also in Koine. The diphthong fronted to , merging with . The diphthong came to be pronounced , but eventually lost its final element and also merged with . The diphthong ου had been already raised to in the 6th century BC, and remains so in Modern Greek. *The diphthongs and came to be pronounced (via ), but are partly assimilated to before the
voiceless In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
consonants . *Simple vowels mostly preserved their ancient pronunciations. (classically pronounced ) was raised and merged with . In the 10th century AD, unrounded to merge with . These changes are known as
iotacism Iotacism ( el, ιωτακισμός, ''iotakismos'') or itacism is the process of vowel shift by which a number of vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the t ...
. *The consonants also preserved their ancient pronunciations to a great extent, except and . , which were originally pronounced , became the fricatives (via ), , , which they still are today, except when preceded by a nasal consonant (μ, ν); in that case, they retain their ancient pronunciations (e.g. , , ). The latter three (Φ, Θ, Χ), which were initially pronounced as aspirates ( respectively), developed into the fricatives (via ), , and . Finally ζ, which is still metrically categorised as a double consonant with ξ and ψ because it may have initially been pronounced as σδ or δσ , later acquired its modern-day value of .


New Testament Greek phonology

The Koine Greek in the table represents a reconstruction of New Testament Koine Greek, deriving to some degree from the dialect spoken in
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...
and
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, ha-galil; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galil ...

Galilee
during the first century and similar to the dialect spoken in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
, Egypt. The realizations of certain phonemes differ from the more standard Attic dialect of Koine. has spirantized, with palatal allophone before front-vowels and a plosive allophone after nasals, while is beginning to develop a fricative articulation intervocalically. and still preserve their ancient aspirated plosive values, while the unaspirated stops have perhaps begun to develop voiced allophones after nasals. Initial aspiration has also likely become an optional sound for many speakers of the popular variety. Monophthongization (including the initial stage in the fortition of the second element in the αυ/ευ diphthongs) and the loss of vowel-timing distinctions are carried through, but there is still a distinction between the four front vowels , , , and (which is still rounded).


Sample Koine texts

The following texts show differences from Attic Greek in all aspects – grammar, morphology, vocabulary and can be inferred to show differences in phonology. The following comments illustrate the phonological development within the period of Koine. The phonetic transcriptions are tentative and are intended to illustrate two different stages in the reconstructed development, an early conservative variety still relatively close to Classical Attic, and a somewhat later, more progressive variety approaching Modern Greek in some respects.


Sample 1 – A Roman decree

The following excerpt, from a decree of the Roman Senate to the town of Thisbae in
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
in 170 BC, is rendered in a reconstructed pronunciation representing a hypothetical conservative variety of mainland Greek Koiné in the early Roman period. The transcription shows raising of to , partial (pre-consonantal/word-final) raising of and to , retention of pitch accent, and retention of word-initial (the
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
).


Sample 2 – Greek New Testament

The following excerpt, , is rendered in a reconstructed pronunciation representing a progressive popular variety of Koiné in the early Christian era.Horrocks (1997: 94). Modernizing features include the loss of vowel length distinction, monophthongization, transition to stress accent, and raising of to . Also seen here are the bilabial fricative pronunciation of diphthongs and , loss of initial , fricative values for and , and partial post-nasal voicing of voiceless stops.


References


Notes


Citations


Bibliography

* Abel, F.-M. ''Grammaire du grec biblique''. * Allen, W. Sidney, ''Vox Graeca: a guide to the pronunciation of classical Greek – 3rd ed.'', Cambridge University Press, 1987. * Andriotis, Nikolaos P. ''History of the Greek Language'' * Buth, Randall,
: Koine Greek of Early Roman Period
' * Bruce, Frederick F. ''The Books and the Parchments: Some Chapters on the Transmission of the Bible''. 3rd ed. Westwood, NJ: Revell, 1963. Chapters 2 and 5. * Conybeare, F.C. and Stock, St. George. ''Grammar of Septuagint Greek: With Selected Readings, Vocabularies, and Updated Indexes''. * Horrocks, Geoffrey C. (2010). ''Greek: A history of the language and its speakers'' (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. * .


Further reading

*Bakker, Egbert J., ed. 2010. ''A companion to the Ancient Greek language.'' Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. *Blass, Friedrich, and Albert Debrunner. 1961. ''Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature.'' Translated and revised by R. W. Funk. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. *Christidis, Anastasios-Phoivos, ed. 2007. ''A history of Ancient Greek: From the beginnings to Late Antiquity.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. *Colvin, Stephen C. 2007. ''A historical Greek reader: Mycenaean to the koiné.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. *Easterling, P. E., and Carol Handley. 2001. ''Greek Scripts: An Illustrated Introduction.'' London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. *Evans, T. V., and Dirk Obbink, eds. 2009. ''The language of the papyri.'' Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. *Gignac, Francis T. 1976–1981. ''A grammar of the Greek papyri of the Roman and Byzantine periods.'' 2 vols. Milan: Cisalpino-La Goliardica. *Horrocks, Geoffrey. 2010. ''Greek: A history of the language and its speakers.'' 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. *Palmer, Leonard R. 1980. ''The Greek language.'' London: Faber & Faber. *Stevens, Gerald L. 2009. ''New Testament Greek Intermediate: From Morphology to Translation.'' Cambridge, UK: Lutterworth Press. *––––. 2009. ''New Testament Greek Primer.'' Cambridge, UK: Lutterworth Press.


External links


KoineGreek.com
Koine Greek audio/video resources produced in a "Living Koine Greek" pronunciation along with resources on pronunciation.
New Testament Greek Online
by Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum, free online lessons at th
Linguistics Research Center
at the
University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin, UT, or Texas) is a public university, public research university in Austin, Texas, founded in 1883. The University of Texas was included in the Association of American Universities in 1929. The i ...

Free Koine Greek Keyboard
A unicode keyboard originally developed by Char Matejovsky for use by Westar Institute scholars
The Biblical Greek Forum
An online community for Biblical Greek
Greek-Language.com
Dictionaries, manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, and tools for applying linguistics to the study of Hellenistic Greek
Diglot
A daily di-glot or tri-glot (Vulgate) reading {{authority control Languages attested from the 3rd century BC Hellenistic civilization Hellenism and Christianity Christian liturgical languages Standard languages, Greek Languages of ancient Macedonia Languages of Syria Languages of Egypt Languages of Sicily Varieties of Ancient Greek