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6 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2011 :  23:17:50  

I have a number of questions on the regional and chronological use of Koine Greek.

Eastern based writers such as Origen, Didymus of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, etc., sometimes have a vocabulary not available in Lidell and Scott and other standard dictionaries. How can one properly translate is my question. Is it proper to conjecture a word from a classical source such as Lidell and Scott or look elsewhere? Does anyone have thoughts on whether a more accurate translation is to use Stephanus' dictionary or a Latin parallel translation?

I also have a question for those who have translated any of these writers listed above. At least in my experience I have found the above writers wrote in a slightly different Greek than Gregory Nazianzus and the Cappodician writers. Gregory seemed to rely more on classical Greek. Is this correct? Would the writers based or influenced by the leaders of Alexandria, Egypt be writing in regional Koine dialect?

Last of all, the Greek authors who wrote after the 4th century seem to have written in an easier to read style. Theodoriti of Ohrid and Oecumenius Bishop of Trikka, and Nicetas Serronius are three that immediately come to mind. Is this an over-generalization or do others find this true as well?

Your feedback would greatly be appreciated. It will help in building a number of articles for my website.



52 Posts

Posted - 06 Feb 2011 :  16:09:59  


I am far from being an expert on this subject, but I also encountered the same difficulty, namely that certain words are not found in the Lidell & Scott dictionary. What I usually do is look into an English translation. This problem may be due to the fact that language had also evolved by the 4th century, but I would be curious to know more about it.

Don't forget also that different authors have their own style, but all were very much influenced by Attic. Plotinus' style is not that of Basil, and both authors also have differences with, say, Plato or Aristotle. Again, Gregory of Nyssa incorporates a lot of Classical imagery and poetry in his writings to an extent greater than any other author. I think that the style each author chooses depends on his purpose, on audience, etc. St. John Damascene, for instance, in his treatise "In defense of Images", uses a relatively simple style, which makes the work easily understandable by a larger number of people. Yet, Damascene's language is indeed Classical.

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615 Posts

Posted - 06 Feb 2011 :  18:37:27  


Perhaps you might find useful E. Sophocles' Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. It includes also an introduction to Byzantine Greek.

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6 Posts

Posted - 06 Feb 2011 :  23:45:33  


I downloaded the Sophocles text but haven't looked at it yet. On the topic of Lexicons, I just realized that I don't have all the volumes of Stephanus' Lexicon, Google books only has two. Would anyone know where I could find the complete set?

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