[B-Greek] NT Greek Scholars in Greece?

Nikolaos Adamou nikolaos.adamou at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 1 01:31:47 EDT 2009

Of course there is literate production of biblical studies in Greece
by Greek scholars.  One has to have in mind that the size of
population is much smaller, but that does not mean anything.  But
there are special cases.  One peculiarity is the function of the
public university in Greece.  Vassilios is right up to the point.  But
I do not think that this is the problem, and his point does not allow
one to see the main issue.
Greek scholars write in Greek and publish in small publishing houses
for mostly the Greek/Orthodox audience.  Some have problems in English
communication, some prefer German communication.  But mostly the
communication is in Greek.  Few from those that produce in Greece
produce for the academic community at large and particular for the non
Greeks for several historical reasons.  They produce for the Orthodox
Greek community.  They also use a text that is not the generally
accepted text in the west as the NA27 and UBS4.  There are exceptions,
like Karavidopoulos and other professors who favor the western text,
were substantially criticized on this matter.
Every summer I go to Greece I find new work produce, and some of it of
significant value.
For example the volume by Konstantinos Siamakis on the Alphabet, as
the language developed in its relationship to the Bible.  Also his
critical work about the Modern Greek Language translations is very
interesting.  His brother, fr. Athanasios Siamakis published
translated to modern Greek with analysis, the Greek musicians of the 2
– 4 centuries after Christ (Alypios, Kleonidis, Plutarch) and showed
that this Greek music is indeed the eight tones that is used in
today’s Greek Orthodox Church, adapted by the Christians from the
forth to the sixth centuries.  This work is essential for one who has
interest to study the vocal aspect of the Greek Language.
In the seventies and eighties, the entire MG’s patrology was published
either in a photographical reprint or in new form with Modern Greek
translations and extended analytical introductions.  At that time
significant work was done in the relationship between the Bible and
the patrology, mostly yet unpublished.  Karavidopoulos used a portion
of this work, given to him in a photocopied form.  Other professors
from the Thessaloniki School of Theology also produced significant
work, like fr. John Romanidis, and not only.
The current Greek Orthodox Archbishop of the United States, Demetrios,
is such a NT scholar, former professor, who also taught at Harvard as
a visitor when he was teaching at Holy Cross Seminary, with several
books, in Greek as well as in English.
Years ago, when in Turkey the Halki Seminary was still active, we also
had significant work produced.  It was there where in 1904 the first
orthodox critical NT was produced by professor Antoniadis.
It is this work that was criticized and condemned without looking at
the manuscripts used in 1933 from J.M.Reif, ‘The Antoniades Greek New
Testament’ in E.C. Colwelland D.W.Riddles (eds.) Prologomena to the
Study of Lectionary Text of the Gospels (Chicago).  This work is
referred, without any further check, by Bart D. Ehrman, The Text of
the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status ...‎
- Page 65, 1995 and James Keith Elliott, A bibliography of Greek New
Testament manuscripts, page 11.
Only just recently, Klaus Wachtel, Early Variants in the Byzantine
Text of the Gosples, in “Transmission and reception: New Testament
text critical and exegetical” by Jeff Childers, DC Parker, 2006, pages
28-47, evaluates this work, examining the used manuscripts, providing
an extended table with variances.  Indeed, Klaus Wachtel’s work is
mostly an English presentation of Andoniadis Greek introduction, and
verification of his work.
As one can realize there are rooted differences.  Several scholars,
here in the USA, of NT and classical Greek believe and teach the
existence of two different languages -  Modern Greek and non Modern,
Koine, Classical, Homeric.  This creates an obstacle for a working
communication.  Is Greek a language in continue usage through the
centuries, or it died and resurrected? (By who and when?)  Does the
work of Antonius Nicholas Jannaris work “An historical Greek grammar”
and of Hatzidakis have any academic value?  Or probably their Greek
identity, does not allow them to have an authentic opinion.
So, thank God, there are non Greeks, like Winer & Moulton or
Robertson, who in his Greek Grammar said:
1.  “The modern Greek popular speech does not differ materially from
the vernacular Byzantine, and thus connects directly with the
vernacular κοινή.” (p. 44);
2.  “Knowledge of the modern Greek4 helps the student to escape from
"the Procrustean bed of the old Greek" which he learned as a fixed and
dead thing” with footnote.5 “Thumb, Handb. der neugr. Volkspr., 1895,
p. x.”,(p45);
3.  “the modern Greek vernacular has more merit than was once conceded
to it” (p. 46), "Speaking generally, we may say that the Greek of a
well-written newspaper [the literary language] is now, as a rule, far
more classical than the Hellenistic of the N. T., but decidedly less
classical than the Greek of Plutarch." With footnote 2 as “Jebb, On
the Rela. of Mod. to Class. Gk., in Vincent ands Dickson's Handb. to
Mod. Gk., 1887, p. 294. Blass actually says: "Der Sprachgebrauch des
Neuen Testaments, der vielfaltig vom Neugriechischen her eine viel
bessere Beleuchtung empfangt als aus der alten klassischen Literatur."
Kuhner's Ausf. Gr. etc., 1890, p. 25. Blass also says (ib., p. 26)
that "eine wissenschaftliche neugriechische Grammatik fehlt." But
Hatzidakis and others have written since.” (p. 46) and finally,
4.  “After all, an educated Greek knew what he meant better than we do.” (p.47).
The Greek & Latin free audio resource of the Bible in
http://www.greeklatinaudio.com/additional.htm makes the following
interesting points. There are important not coming from a native
Greek, as his voice identifies.  “Classical academia is generally not
concerned with the art of vocal reading of Greek”, “The Bible highly
recommends (commands!) vocal reading of its contents.”, “Modern Greek
pronunciation is REAL as opposed to theoretical”, “it SOUNDS far better and far more FLUID than the
theoretical”, “…never be an issue...unless it's selected from a
tattered hat as a subject for academic debate. (And the debate, of
course, will NOT occur in Greek! NOR will it occur in Greece!)”.
Nikolaos Adamou, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
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