[B-Greek] Modern vs. Erasmian pronunciation

Louis Tyler lrtyler at grandecom.net
Wed Nov 29 22:15:46 EST 2006

For over twenty years I used the modern pronunciation for ancient (biblical) Greek because I wanted to be authentic.  The only examples of Erasmian that I heard were heavily English-accented and sounded artificial.

After several years of transition, I finally changed to Erasmian.  For years it bothered me that when I listened to Zodhiates's recordings, I couldn't tell the difference between, say, hHMEIS and hUMEIS.  

But I held onto the modern pronunciation, even with the ambiguities.  One of the most outstanding examples of itacism is Matthew 5.9:  MAKARIOI hOI EIRHNOPOIOI, hOTI AUTOI hUIOU QEOU KLHQHSONTAI.  The modern pronounciation of this is MAKARII I IRINOPII, OTI AFTI II QEOU KLIQISONDE.

What really made me decide to try to come up with a Greek-accented version of Erasmian was that that such grammatical niceties as the indicative, the subjunctive, and the optative are often lost in the modern pronunciation, e.g.:  QELEI, QELHi, and QELOI are all pronounced alike with the modern pronunciation, i.e., QELI, QELI, and QELIi.

After I started recording the Greek New Testament onto CD, I found out that my friend, Donald Potter, had written a book on how to best realize the Erasmian pronunciation.   It turned out that the conclusions of his research agreed with my version of Erasmian.

Some of my recordings are available for free on Potter's website, which follows:


Just go to this page and scroll down to my recordings of Ephesians in the TR and the Byzantine textform.

Now that I'm going MP3, I have several CDs that I could make available for free to anyone interested, involving all the books of the New Testament.  I might only request help with the postage.

I'd like to make this free offer as long as the CDs last, if anybody's interested.

Louis Tyler

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