[B-Greek] B-GREEK FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Feb 2 07:13:46 EST 2009

Posted periodically: the latest version of the BG-FAQ for the benefit  
of new members and for old members who want to refresh their grasp of  
administrivia and BG protocol for citing Greek text in plain-text  
messages sent to the list. Thank you for observing these protocols and  
keeping discussion informative and constructive.

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List

B-GREEK FAQ	(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 for 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
bgreek.owner at gmail.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: If your email address does not contain your real full
name, please use a signature that provides at least your name.
Signatures may also include your location, academic affiliation, or a
web page. Signatures should not include comments that might be seen
as provocative, sectarian, or political.

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 message: 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 <bgreek.owner at gmail.com>. Please clear your requests
before posting. Those directly related to the subject matter of B-
Greek will probably be approved.


Using Unicode (UTF-8) for Greek citations in messages sent to B-Greek:

Greek citations in messages posted to B-Greek may be formulated in
plain-text Unicode (UTF-8), but for the sake of list-members who have
problems reading or typing Unicode, such citations should at the same
time be formulated in BG-transliteration, in accordance with the
following pattern:

         John 1:1 ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ
λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν,  καὶ θεὸς
ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Transliterating Greek into plain-text ASCII 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".

Greek character

	name of character
	Usual in B-Greek
(using macrons and digraphs)
Α  α		alpha		A	a
Β  β		beta		B	b
Γ  γ		gamma	G	g
Δ  δ		delta		D	d
Ε  ε		epsilon	E	e
Ζ  ζ		zeta		Z	z
Η  η		eta		H	ē   (e with macron)
Θ  θ		theta		Q	h
Ι  ι		iota		I	i
Κ  κ		kappa	K	k
Λ  λ		lambda	L	l
Μ  μ		mu		M	m
Ν  ν		nu		N	n
Ξ  ξ		xi		X	x
Ο  ο		omicron	O	o
Π  π		pi		P	p
Ρ  ρ		rho		R	r
Σ  σ  ς	sigma	S	s
Τ  τ		tau		T	t
Υ  υ		upsilon	U	u
Φ  φ		phi		F	ph
Χ  χ		chi		C	ch
Ψ  ψ		psi		Y	ps
Ω  ω		omega	W	ō   (o with macron)
῾		rough breathing		h
ᾳ  ῃ  ῳ	iota subscript	Ai  Hi  Wi	(i)

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

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

Marc Huys' 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 July 18, 2007)

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List

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