[B-Greek] How to convert 1960?s schoolboy Attic into usable Koin?

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Tue Oct 20 06:35:22 EDT 2009

On Oct 19, 2009, at 5:11 PM, Stanley Loper wrote:

> I concur with the advise given.
> I would say go with what you learned earlier.  It is easier to  
> refresh what
> you knew and get back into the swing of things.  Then go onto the  
> ways in
> which Koine differs from Attic and learn to comprehend it.  I would  
> also
> caution you not to lay too much emphasis on the subtle differences  
> in words
> which makes Attic the language of philosophers.

I'm not quite sure what is meant by this. Of major Greek philosophers  
only Plato really wrote in Attic; Aristotle wrote in early Koine, and  
what are we to say of Xeno and Epicurus and Plotinus? I think the  
consensus is rather that there was a more formal Greek of scribes and  
litterati and a language of the street and commerce -- and that Koine  
involves both levels.

> Koine was not that type of
> medium for communication.  I've seen some questions around the net  
> as to
> just how important the distinctions really were important to those  
> who spoke
> Koine in their everyday dealings.  Truth be told, I would question how
> important those distinctions really were for the everyday speakers  
> outside
> the educated elite in Athenian society as well.  The Bible was *not*  
> written
> primarily for the highly educated.

True enough, but there are distinct differences between the usage of  
Mark and John and that of Luke and Hebrews.

> My grounding in Greek was through a work which exposed the student  
> to just
> about every dialect documented from ancient Greece, including  
> Spartan.  The
> translation exercises drew from that diverse a database.  It did lay  
> a bit
> more emmphasis on Attic and Koine for obvious reasons, but it was  
> premised
> on a study of ancient Greek instead of classical or biblical.

What is this distinction you are making between "ancient Greek" on the  
one hand and "classical or biblical (Greek) on the other? I've always  
thought that classical and biblical Greek are both "ancient Greek."

> I enjoyed the
> approach thorougly.  Still, go back over familiar ground first.  You  
> will
> find you haven't lost so much as you think.  You've just gotten a  
> lot out of
> practice!
> I like your approach to retirement as well.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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