[B-Greek] BG FAQ updated (Nov 9, 2006)

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Nov 12 05:39:48 EST 2006

There's not really anything new here, but some URLs have been updated  
and/or corrected.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
B-GREEK discussion list (Biblical Greek)

About B-Greek:
B-GREEK is a mailing list for scholars and students of Biblical  
Greek. Our main focus is upon understanding the Greek text of the  
Bible. Discussion topics include scholarly study of the Greek Bible  
and related Jewish and Christian Greek texts, tools for beginning and  
advanced students of Biblical Greek such as textbooks, reference  
works, bibliography and research tools, and linguistic topics such as  
morphology, lexicography, syntax, and discourse analysis. B-Greek was  
established in 1992 by David Marotta at the Center for Christian  
Study, an independent Christian ministry at the University of  
Virginia. In 1998 the list changed its venue to ibiblio.org at UNC- 
Chapel Hill after David asked to step down as list owner. We are  
grateful to David for his vision of a forum where the Greek text and  
language of the Bible are probed in ongoing conversation by an  
eclectic group of beginning students and veteran teachers, lay  
persons and clergy, conservatives and liberals, earnest inquirers and  
academic scholars -- equally committed to probing the Biblical text  
in the original Koiné, and jointly exploring the mysteries and  
probabilities of Biblical Greek morphology and syntax.

Anyone interested in New Testament Studies is invited to subscribe,  
but list-members will be assumed to have at least a working knowledge  
of Biblical Greek. While "lurkers" are welcome to receive and read  
list correspondence, posts to the list are expected to pose questions  
about Biblical Greek, not general questions or opinions about  
doctrine or the meaning of the English text. Even basic questions are  
welcome, provided they are really about the meaning of the Greek  
text. This is not a general discussion list for Biblical matters.  
While one need not be a Greek scholar to subscribe, one should at  
least be taking the first serious steps in the study of Biblical Greek.

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the B- 
Greek Archives at


Some topics ordinarily discussed on B-Greek are:

-- The Greek language of the Bible and related texts such as the  
Greek OT (Septuagint/LXX), Koiné Greek texts illustrative of the  
practice of speakers and writers of Greek in the NT era, Patristic  
Greek texts, etc.;

-- Resources for teaching and learning (Biblical) Greek: lexica,  
grammars, morphological charts, web-sites, discussion-lists, etc.-- 
including answers to questions raised by beginners, whether they are  
working their own way through a Greek textbook or studying Greek  
formally in schools;
-- Bibliography pertaining to Biblical Greek topics;

-- Specific Greek passages in the Biblical text about which one  
wishes to raise questions or suggest alternative approaches;

-- questions about Greek textual variants bearing on the  
interpretation of a particular passage may be appropriate (but not  
general discussion of textual criticism itself--for which there is a  
special list of its own; if you are interested, you can find more  
information at


B-Greek is not a forum for general Bible issues, except insofar as  
they may bear specifically upon interpretation of a particular Greek  
text, Neither is it a forum general or specific hermeneutical or  
theological issues.

Keeping discussion informative and constructive:

-- Comments should focus upon issues directly related to Biblical  
Greek or a biblical Greek text. If, in the judgment of list- 
moderators, discussion is moving beyond parameters deemed appropriate  
for the list, a thread may be closed; those who continue to post on a  
closed thread may lose list privileges.

-- Those who participate in the conference represent a wide range of  
theological and denominational perspectives, perhaps even including  
some whose interests are purely academic. Deep religious convictions  
surely characterize many, perhaps most, of the list-participants, and  
some of these convictions bear directly upon how the Biblical text is  
to be understood. At the core of our discussion, however, is not what  
our convictions are but what the Greek text may legitimately be  
understood to mean. If discussion of this nature is to succeed,  
proper respect and courtesy to other list members is important. While  
scholarly debate, including disagreement, is encouraged as a goal of  
this conference, attacks upon the character, intelligence, or faith  
of those participating are not acceptable. Criticism must focus upon  
the arguments of others; it may not be directed to the individual.

-- B-Greek must not be used either to attack or to defend any  
particular doctrine deemed "orthodox" by one or another individual or  
group; this is not the forum for apologetic controversy.

-- Those who violate these policies will be contacted politely by the  
B-Greek staff and requested to conform to these guidelines. Those who  
continue to violate the policies will no longer be welcome in the  

Administrators of B-Greek:

List-Owner: Jonathan Robie
jwrobie at mindspring.com OR jonathan.robie at datadirect-technologies.com

Co-Chair Carl Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com

Co-Chair Carlton Winbery
winberycl at earthlink.net


Subscribing to B-Greek:

Subscribe to B-Greek by entering the List Information web site at:


and filling out the form, which follows on the list-description. You  
will be sent email requesting confirmation, to prevent others from  
gratuitously subscribing you. This is a hidden list, which means that  
the list of members is available only to the list administrator. You  
will be asked to enter in the form:

-- Your email address:

-- Your name (While this is optional for registration, real-name  
signatures must be appended to all messages sent to the list):

-- Password: (Do not use a valuable password as it will occasionally  
be emailed back to you in clear text. If you choose not to enter a  
password, one will be automatically generated for you, and it will be  
sent to you once you've confirmed your subscription. You can always  
request a mail-back of your password when you edit your personal  

-- Language you prefer to display your messages:

Messages for distribution to the list should be sent to:

b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org


Signatures: It is a courtesy expected of B-Greek subscribers; even if  
the "From" header includes one's personal name as well as the e- 
address, posters should append personal names below their messages.  
Indications of the locality from which they write would help  
personalize further for others the sender of a message. Academic or  
institutional information may be appended also, but there is no  
privilege associated with any academic or institutional status so  
indicated. Rubrics or comments appended to signatures must be free of  
provocative sectarian or political posturing.

Citing off-list messages of others in posts to B-Greek: It is  
considered to be in very poor taste to post to the list items that  
have been sent off list. Before doing so always consult the author to  
see if this is acceptable. Complaints from authors of messages that  
have been posted to the list without their consent will be reviewed  
by the BG Staff and appropriate action will be taken, if necessary.

Monitoring of messages sent to the list before distribution: The  
first messages posted by each new subscriber are monitored to assure  
due observance of list-protocol. Posters who violate list-protocol  
may be monitored or, if they persist, may be removed from the list- 

Replying to a messages: The software used by the B-Greek list  
automatically formats replies to go to the original sender. If you  
wish your responses regularly to go to the list as well, you should  
set the settings preferences of your e-mail program to put <b- 
greek at lists.ibiblio.org> automatically in the cc: header, or you can  
copy <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org> into the cc: line in your reply  
message header. Please be careful in this regard; an error may result  
in your general response going only to the original sender.

Private messages: Some inquiries will invite private ("off-list")  
responses; in that case, simply send a message directly to another  
member of the list, without copying your message to the entire list.  
Your message will be private. No one else will be able to read it. We  
ask that as many messages as possible
be posted to the entire list so everyone can benefit from the  
discussion, but when a private message is truly desired, you always  
have that option.

Promoting products, services or public causes on this list: We do not  
permit messages on this list which can be interpreted as being of a  
commercial or business nature, including sales messages from non- 
profit organizations. We especially do not permit messages which spam  
and/or cross-post religious discussion lists trying to get people to  
purchase products or visit various web sites. Advertisements or job- 
postings are not allowed without the approval of the list-owner,  
Jonathan Robie <jonathan.robie at datadirect-technologies.com>. Please  
clear your requests before posting. Those directly related to the  
subject matter of B-Greek will probably be approved.

Transliterating Greek in messages sent to B-Greek


B-Greek has from the beginning allowed every poster to use any scheme  
he/she found comfortable, since we all could usually figure out what  
text was meant. For those who wish some guidance, a generally  
accepted scheme has evolved on the List, with two or three matters  
still not fully settled.

(1) CAPITALS are used when transliterating Greek letters, on a one-to- 
one basis, reserving lower-case {i} to represent iota-subscript and  
lower-case {h} to represent rough breathing. No accents, no smooth  
breathings. And no distinction between medial and final Sigma.

(2) If accents are really necessary, to distinguish otherwise  
identical words, acute is represented by {/}, grave by {\}, and  
circumflex either by tilde {~ [preferable]} or {=} -- always AFTER  
the vowel over which it would be written.

(3) A few characters without Roman single-character form are usually  
done with almost-look-alike Roman characters otherwise unused:

Theta = Q
Eta = H
Psi = Y (upsilon is always U)
Omega = W

(4) Digraphs (in the usual Roman transliteration) are handled in  
three different ways to avoid two-letter transliterations, all  
involving otherwise-unused Roman letters:

THeta uses Q ("look-alike", as above).
PSi uses Y ("look-alike", as above).
PHi uses F (sound equivalence).
CHi uses C (first letter of traditional digraph).

(5) Xi and Chi: There being no single Roman letter for "Xi" other  
than X, the "look-alike" use of X for "Chi" is confusing, though some  
use it. And some seem to like to use C for "Sigma." Since S is  
otherwise unused, and poses no confusion whatever, using C for  
"Sigma" makes for problems in decoding back to Greek, especially  
since it is the only letter available for "Chi" (unless X is used,  
thus posing a problem for "Xi"). And occasionally someone uses P for  
"Rho", making problems for how to represent "Pi".
                Usual in            Traditional
                B-Greek             (uses macrons and digraphs)

alpha              A                    a
beta               B                    b
gamma              G                    g
delta              D                    d
epsilon            E                    e
zeta               Z                    z
eta                H                    e with macron
theta              Q                    th
iota               I                    i
kappa              K                    k
lambda             L                    l
mu                 M                    m
nu                 N                    n
xi                 X                    x
omicron            O                    o
pi                 P                    p
rho                R                    r
sigma              S                    s
tau                T                    t
upsilon            U                    u
phi                F                    ph
chi                C                    ch
psi                Y                    ps
omega              W                    o with macron

rough breathing    h                    h
iota-subscript     i                   (i)

Other resources about Biblical Greek: There are several Internet  
websites devoted to Biblical Greek, including:

Mark Goodacre's British site: "Greek New Testament Gateway" at

Marc Huys' Belgian site: "Greek Grammar on the Web" at

Archives for B-Greek: B-Greek Archives:

Here may be found the correspondence accumulated from list-members  
since the inception of the list in 1992. There are gems here, and to  
assist you to discover them, the webmaster, Jonathan Robie, has  
provided a powerful search engine that will quickly enable you to  
find discussions on a topic of interest to you, if in fact, that  
topic has at some point in the history of the list also been of  
interest to others.

Older archives (5/5/1992-4/20/2002):
(updated November 9, 2006)

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu or cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

More information about the B-Greek mailing list