CHAT: barbarisms (was: CHAT: Being both theologically correct and properly modern)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, May 12, 2001, 16:44|
At 3:27 pm -0400 11/5/01, Muke Tever wrote:
>> All Orthodox translations from the Greek that I've seen say "and was
>> incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" from "kae sarkwthenta ek
>> Pnevmatos ayuu, kae Marias tees Parthenuu".
>> Note that my transliterations are by ear, since there is no
>> transliteration method extant for Ecclesiastic Greek, and I refuse to use
>> the Erasmian nonsense.
>Huh. I would probably write it like this:
> <kai sarkôthenta ek Pneumatos hagiou, kai Marias tês Parthenou>.
>But that'd just be transliteration (letter-for-letter equivalents).
>I would pronounce it something like this:
> [kE sarkoTEnta Ek pnEvmatos aG_ju kE marias tis parTEnu]
>(with all the accents in Latinate places,
ACH Y FI!
Quasi-modern pronunciation with Henninian stress! How can you so distort a
language I love? ;)
>I thought all Erasmus had was a pronunciation scheme?
Yes - but he did have the decency to retained the _Greek_ accentuation - at
least the Byzantine stress, still used by the Greeks themselves. (Nor,
apparently, did he actually adopt his suggested 'reforms' himself :)
What Erasmus did was to attempt to restore the pronunciation of consonants
and, more especially, vowels to their ancient form. In view of the almost
non-existent state of linguistics at the time and far less evidence than we
have now, he didn't do too badly. He probably got something not too
distant from the Koine of the Roman period.
But by the 4th cent. AD the pronunciation of Greek had come close to that
used by the Greeks today. So for practically all of its history, the Greek
church would've used a non-Erasmian pronunciation.
To use the Erasmian pronunciation for Byzantine & later Greek is as
anachronistic as, say, pronouncing contemporary modern English the way
English was pronounced in the late Middle English period, i.e. at the time
of Chaucer (or, for that matter, pronouncing Medieval Latin as tho it were
Therefore, I agree with 'bjm' that pronouncing the Nicene cred/symbol in
the Erasmian fashion is 'savage' - but to give it Henninian stress is truly
barbaric (since no _Greek_ ever did this).
Henninius, who was responsible for this barbarism, was really one Heinrich
Henning, who Latinized his surname as Henninius. He was a doctor of
medicine at Utrecht in the late 17th cent - ideally qualified (I don't
think!) to pontificate on the oral accentuation Greek. He concluded, by
simplistic & unsound 'reasoning', that: "ergo ut Latine pronunciamus ita et
Graece erit pronunciandum" - i.e. that Greek should have stress-accent
determined by the same rules as Latin!
Henning's bizarre doctrine was accepted in Britain & the Netherlands where
it had become widely accepted early in the 18th cent. and has remained,
till recent times, general in both the Netherlands & Britain was well as
the (British) Commonwealth.
Elsewhere in Europe, however, AFAIK the Byzantine & modern Greek system was
retained. I had thought that German influence in classical scholarship had
ensured that the Henninian pronunciation had not found a foothold on the
American side of the pond and that the Byzantine oral stress was still used
there. Young Muke's email had shattered yet another myth I entertained
about Americans: so the Henninian barbarism have reached there <sigh>
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]