[B-Greek] Rm. 8:20: "EF' hELPIDI"

Randall Buth ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il
Sun Jun 25 13:14:25 EDT 2006

 >> I don't whether this has come up before, but I was wondering
 >> whether "EF' hELPIDI" was an unusual form, which seems (to me) more
 >> likely than a printer's error.
 >> Andrew J. Birch
 >> Palma de Mallorca, Spain

 >It does make you sit up and take notice, doesn't it? This is what is
 >(un)commonly termed "Cockney Koine" or "orrible haspiration," or the
 >like. ;-)
 >I'll cite the opening section of BDF ("Orthography"), specifically
 >the section on "Breathing", §14:
 >" ... non-Attic rough breathing ... in the case of hELPIS, hIDEIN,
hIDIOS, hOLIGOS, hEFIORKEIN, alone, where aspiration in the NT is
frequent and strongly attested, aspiration is supported by other MS
tradition, by inscriptions and papyri ... The basis of the phenomenon
in any case is to be sought in analogies (Schywyzer I 305): hAFIDEIN
following AFORAN, KAQ' hIDIAN following KAQ' hEAUTON, OUC hOLIGOS
following OUC hHTTWN ... " The reading EF' hELPIDI in Rom 8:20 is
noted in p46, p46 also has it at 1 Cor 9:10, but USB4/NA27 has EP'
ELPIDI there.
 >Carl W. Conrad

This was worth looking up in Swanson, Romans, who was just cited in  
another post.
It turns out that the Alexandrian witnesses p75, B, and alef all have  
EF' ELPIDI. Their historical fidelity shows thru in their ability to  
preserve a reading that would not have been accepted by the general  
Alexandrine academy. Also, D and F, a 9th century text, read EF.  We  
may assume that Paul's letter likely had EF ELPIDI, which he or his  
scribe wrote.

Several, e.g. Gignac, Horrocks, have questioned whether, and to what  
extent, the rough breathing was in use in the common era. It appears  
that the psilotic (no "h" pronounced) ancient Ionic was winning out  
in the game of laisez-faire Koine/post-Alexander Greek. Thus, it is  
likely that Paul would have said ELPIS, without an 'h', but he or a  
scribe may have "hypercorrected" to EF ELPIS when adding the  
preposition. As BDF and Schywyzer argue, semantic analogy played a  
role in choosing allomorphs (variant forms) like EP/EF, AP/AF, OUK/ 
OUX. [Semantic analogy is not a phonetic phenomenon and is more  
likely to occur or be accepted where phonetic aspiration was no  
longer in use]
It was such morphological pairs that helped to maintain the writing  
tradition of aspiration throughout the centuries, even when no 'h'  
was sounded on any of the following words. That is, KAQ' HMERAN  
preserved HMERA as belonging to a list of aspirates, despite HMERA  
being pronounced without an 'h' aspiration. The phenomenon that Carl  
calls "orrible haspiration" illustrates the spelling problems that  
arise when a speaker without 'h' has to write words where some, but  
not all words, need to have 'h' written.
Randall Buth

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