Koine Greek and Augustine

I am no scholar and much linguistic anthropology goes over my head but with a basic understanding of the significance of the use of Koine Greek and the subsequent use of the Latin Vulgate, I sense that I have an awareness of why there are so many major differences of theology between the Christian denominations.

Koine Greek arose as a common dialect within the armies of Alexander the Great and dates to about 330BC. It was always a second language – a simplified subset of the native Greek spoken throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East (many couldn’t write it).

The Septuagint (a 3rd century BC translation of the Hebrew Bible) and the Greek New Testament were originally compiled in Koine Greek.
By 330AD Koine Greek had fallen into disuse and had been replaced by Latin.

Augustine (354 – 430AD) was a Latin speaking philosopher who later became a theologian – raised in a Christian home but regarded Christianity as foolishness at first – in love with philosophy and rhetoric – he developed a cocktail of ideas some of which came from Christianity. He apparently never studied Greek – taught rhetoric.
He was very influential in defining how Latin was understood and how Greek became reconstructed later. He was a sex addict – disturbed – converted about 387AD but continued to struggle with sexual behaviours that he tried to manage by becoming very rigid and disciplined – in a monastery to stay away from women. He distracted himself by studying theology and Greek philosophy (then in Latin). His perception of sin nature based on his own uncontrolled sex?
In 400AD he was one of the first to condemn an induced abortion – the first to entertain the concept of a just war – a focus on Mary – a great evolution of traditions!
(see Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Brittannica for more on Augustine of Hippo).

Latin translations of the Bible were replacing the Greek – with many modifications as a result of incorporating church traditions. It is suggested that nobody would have realised at the time how some of the original meanings of the Koine Greek would be lost and die. It was ignored by the church for nearly 1000 years – nobody was studying it. When new documents were discovered the church seemed to think it was in a special Holy Ghost dialect to people who mystically understood it. They reconstructed a Greek dictionary by going backwards using tradition / Latin Vulgate for what those words probably meant – a form of manipulation? To what extent did this influence the Protestant Reformation when they saw differences between the Greek and Roman traditions?

One of the major lessons I have learned while using the internet, especially over the last ten years is why people believe what they believe, often as a result of divisive, denominational theology. So many differences seem to be the result of differing interpretations of significant ‘theological’ words.

 

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