Dating the books of the bible based on the morphology of the words

Piper2000ca
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Dating the books of the bible based on the morphology of the words

I've been learning Koine Greek for the last few months, and I've recently started reading the New Testament in Koine (I'm starting with the book of John, and I haven't even finished the first chapter, and it is already screaming Gnosticism), and I started wondering; Koine Greek like all languages changes over time, are there examples of different words/spellings in the different books based on the time period they were written, and can you use this to help date when hey were written?


lpetrich
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It'll be hard to get very

It'll be hard to get very far with this method with the New Testament, since as far as can be determined, all its books were written within about 50 to 150 CE.

The most precise that one can get is with allusions to well-documented events like someone being a leader or a provincial governor. And even that can be problematic, since some such references might be later insertions to "correct" the text.

I think that such methods might be more successful with the Old Testament, however; it was written over a longer timespan. 


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Piper2000ca wrote: I've

Piper2000ca wrote:
I've been learning Koine Greek for the last few months, and I've recently started reading the New Testament in Koine (I'm starting with the book of John, and I haven't even finished the first chapter, and it is already screaming Gnosticism),

To me, their clear gnostic nature is the bigger issue... 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


spumoni
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Greek sources

Hey Piper2000ca, The most widely used and trusted work is "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature" by Frederick William Danker.  It is originally composed by Walter Bauer who you might know suggested that early orthodox Christianity and heretical fomrs competed for centuries til orthodoxy won out.  John is clearly responding to proto-gnosticism in his work and this is more pronounced in his letters.  Just watch out because there are some mistakes that often get made by misapplying word origins.  D. A. Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies" lays out all the ones to avoid.  Hope that helps.

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A few minor comments: (1)

A few minor comments:

(1) Congrats on finally learning Koine.  That is the best thing you can do.

(2) The most respected is actually the NA 27 (waiting on the 28).

(3) The New Testament books range (in actuality) between 55 - 200 CE actually.  (All dating methods are conjectural, and a wider range of dating should be considered in my opinion, no earlier than 55, as Paul doesn't really clarify when he wrote and that doesn't mean we should assume earlier)

(4) Most of the New Testament has been redacted in some form, much of it has even been "updated" - keep in mind that Christians were copying texts for hundreds of years before it was all collected and copied into codices in the fourth century under direct order from Constantine (per Eusebius).  Before this period, there aren't enough manuscript fragments or leafs to adequately know much about the original language of the original scripts.  And we will probably never know. 

(5) There are different "dialects" of Greek (I would even say that Coptic is a hybrid of Koine and Egyptian characters).  Classical Greek (Homeric Greek) is not the same as other pre-socratic Greeks (Heraclitus), and postSocratic Greeks (Plato, Xenophon).  There are different meanings to words, different ways the words are used (For example, poietes in Socratic Greek means "doer" as well as "poet" - but by the time of the first century CE, the usage of the word as "doer" had gone almost extinct, and had primarily only been used to mean "poet" - poieteos is what was used to refer to "doing" or "making" - in other words, it changed from a verb to a noun in a period of a few hundred years, and was replaced by a similar yet different word). 

 (6) Consider some books on textual criticism. The book done by Bart Ehrman and Bruce Metzger are worth reading are are "beginner" friendly as well as offer incredible insight into how the texts were copied and transmitted.  

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spumoni
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Sources

FYI, you probably already know this but Nestle Aland is a translation of the New Testament. Bauer is a lexicon of the words of the period thus "are there examples of different words/spellings in the different books based on the time period they were written." I'd recommend Paul Wegner's "A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible" as a better introductory text vs. Metzger and Ehrman.  They tend to be more technical.

Spumoni