Category Archives: koine greek

Blessed With The Deep, The Silent, The Complete

This Wikipedia gives a synopsis of the origin and progeny of the goddess Night (Nyx) in Greek mythology. I’m only pasting it here because it gives a list of cool Greek words to know. Like night/νυξ.
In Hesiod‘s Theogony, Nyx [Νυξ] is born of Chaos [χαος]; her offspring are many, and telling. With Erebus [Ερεβος] the deity of shadow and darkness, Nyx gives birth to Aether [αιθηρ] (atmosphere) and Hemera (day) [ημερα]. Later, on her own, Nyx gives birth to Momus [μωμος] (blame), Moros [μορος] (doom), Thanatos [θανατος] (death), Hypnos [υπνος] (sleep), Charon (the ferryman of Hades),[citation needed] the Oneiroi [ονειροι] (dreams), the Hesperides, the Keres [κηρες, κηρ] and Moirae (Fates), Nemesis [νεμεσις] (retribution), Apate [απατη] (deception), Philotes [φιλοτης] (friendship), Geras [γηρας] (age), and Eris [ερις] (strife).
This has a parallel with many Gnostic concepts that also offer some good Greek words to know:
1. [The Valentinians] maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Æon [αιων – age/eternity], whom they call Proarche [προαρχη – pre-beginning], Propator [προπατηρ – pre-father], and Bythus [βυθος – deep], and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennœa [εννοια – thought], whom they also call Charis [χαρις – grace/charm] and Sige [σιγη – silence]. At last this Bythus determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous [νους – mind], who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father’s greatness. This Nous they call also Monogenes [μονογενης – only-born], and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia [αληθεια – truth]; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things. For there are first Bythus and Sige, and then Nous and Aletheia. And Monogenes, perceiving for what purpose he had been produced, also himself sent forth Logos [λογος – logic/reason] and Zoe [ζωη – life], being the father of all those who were to come after him, and the beginning and fashioning of the entire Pleroma [πληρωμα – fullness]. By the conjunction of Logos and Zoe were brought forth Anthropos [ανθρωπος – man/humanity] and Ecclesia [εκκλησια – assembly/church]; and thus was formed the first-begotten Ogdoad [ογδοας – eightfold], the root and substance of all things, called among them by four names, viz., Bythus, and Nous, and Logos, and Anthropos. For each of these is masculo-feminine, as follows: Propator was united by a conjunction with his Ennœa; then Monogenes, that is Nous, with Aletheia; Logos with Zoe, and Anthropos with Ecclesia. (Against Heresies 1.1.1)
I linked to Ogdoad in Wikipedia because that word seems to have roots in Egyptian mythology, and Valentinus is supposed to have been educated in Egypt. Also, “Deep Silent Complete” (close enough to Βυθος, Σιγη, Πληρωμα) is one of my favorite Nightwish songs (even though it reminds me a bit of my ex-fiancee). This song is also about another personified god in Ancient Greek myth, “Ocean” (Οκεανος).
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in gnosticism, koine greek


Greek, The New Testament, and the Essenes

This information is taken from the rational response squad, who I think are kinda cultish. Even so, this is a very good argument for why the NT was written in Greek and not the native tongue of Jesus and his disciples:

  • All four canonical gospels were written in Koine Greek, which reflects Greek education – the same education that Pliny the Elder / Younger, Julius Caesar, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Eratosthenes, Virgil, and Apollinus of Rhodes would have received. All four canonical authors would have had to attend gymnasion, the Greek school for filospohia, aglhteon, and grammatikov, or literary education – how to read and write, to learn to “know one’s letters”
  • Hellenized Jews were also welcome to attend gymnasion as long as they had enough money to afford it. Often Jews of high standing in a community could attend gymnasion.
  • The gospels are derived from a common form of literary creation[,] dependent on model use — something taught rigorously at gymnasion — where the author would use earlier literature as a foundation for building tropes, archetypes, and narrative to formulate plot and even name characters.

So, how could illiterate Palestinian fishermen who spoke Aramaic learn Koine Greek just out of nowhere? Unless they really weren’t fishermen and they were some of the higher class Jews. Reading and writing at this time period wasn’t just for anyone – only the highest class people would go to school and actually learn to read and write. If Jesus and his disciples were carpenters and fishermen – professions that don’t earn a lot of money and require no formal education – from some backwater of the Roman empire, why and how would they learn to read and write Koine Greek?

Also of note, I was reading the bio on John Allegro and it said that he was one of the people responsible for translating the scribes found at Nag Hammadi – which is where we get a lot of information about Gnosticism from. He said that the parallels between the Essenes and Christianity are intriguing, to say the least.

The Essenes were an ascetic sect of Jews from the Hellenistic period up until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. These Essenes mysteriously disappeared after the temple’s destruction, which is also around the time that Christianity started gaining ground. Most of what we know about the Essenes comes from Philo the Jew and [Flavinus] Josephus.

Josephus mentions the Essenes and their “river bathing rituals” which could be construed as a direct description of baptism or just a common religious meme from that time period and locale.

I think there’s an obvious connection between either the Essenes directly, former Essenes seeking some direction after the destruction of the Temple, or people who were incredibly influenced by Essenes theology. John the Baptist seems to fit the description of an “Essene” perfectly – and supposedly Jesus “continued” his ministry. The stories of Peter seems unequivocally to be nothing more than a dramatized mnemonic of the role of the Essene main “Overseer” (the Essene title ‘caiaphas’ – or ‘cephas’ as a word play on the Aramaic “stone”, ‘kepha’), recognized by many scholars as the equivalent of the later Christian “Bishop”. Essenes in their writings have a “Teacher of Righteousness” – which could be one of the possible influences of the creation of the Jesus that Christians have in their minds today. Maybe not a direct copypasta, but maybe some of the characteristics of the Essenes’ “Teacher of Righteousness” – their beloved, inspirational, and suffering Teacher, who they arguably regarded as a latter-day Joshua ben Nun (Jesus son of Fish) were ‘put into’ Jesus’ character. After all, Philo and Josephus were Jews who learned Greek education and they knew about the Essenes – it’s entirely possible that whoever wrote the gospels of the New Testament knew about Essenes theology as well – and injected their prior Essenes theology and sayings into the gospels.

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Posted by on September 3, 2008 in Christianity, dead sea scrolls, essenes, greek, greek education, gymnasion, josephus, koine greek, nag hammadi, new testament, philo

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