Tag Archives: spirants

Spelling of Capernaum

John 6:24 txt καφαρναουμ 𝔓⁷⁵ ℵ B D N W SBL TH NA28 {\} καπερναουμ A E L 047 TR RP lac 𝔓⁶⁶ C T. The lacunose MSS do have the word elsewhere. The MSS are listed by date as follows:

𝔓⁶⁶ – 200 – καφαρναουμ
𝔓⁴⁵ – III – καφαρναουμ
𝔓⁷⁵ – III – καφαρναουμ
0162 – III/IV – καφαρναουμ
ℵ – IV – καφαρναουμ
B – IV – καφαρναουμ
W – IV/V – mixed
C – V – καφαρναουμ
D – V – καφαρναουμ
T – V – καφαρναουμ
A – V – καπερναουμ
Z – VI – καφαρναουμ
N – VI – mixed
Σ – VI – καπερναουμ
Φ – VI – καπερναουμ
E – VIII – καπερναουμ
L – VIII – mixed
047 – VIII – καπερναουμ

You can see that the spelling changed in the 5th century with Codices W and A, except that Codices L and N and Z carried it a bit later. The BDF grammar on the transliteration of Hebrew “MUTES: כ, פ, ת (unvoiced nonemphatic stops and spirants) are represented by χ, φ, θ, except where two aspirates would follow in contiguous syllables (in which case the Greeks dissimilated even in their own words).”

Ancient Greek had letters for both the aspirated and unaspirated P, T and K, while in English we have letters only for the aspirated, because the unaspirated stops do not mean something different from the aspirated versions, they are not “phonemes.” In Greek, the aspirated P was Φ φ (sounds just like our English P) and the unaspirated was Π π, which English does not have a letter for. The Greek aspirated T was Θ θ, like our English T, and the unaspirated was Τ τ, which English does not have a letter for. The Greek aspirated K sound was the letter Χ χ, like our English letter K, and the unaspirated was Κ κ, which English does not have a letter for. The Greek language has changed very much since then. For example, the letter β is no longer the B sound but is now V. You now write the B sound as the two letters μπ. The letter δ is no longer the D sound, but is now voiced TH as in “then.” Now, to write the D sound you write two letters, ντ. Greek grammar has of course changed in the thousands of years. One of the biggest changes is that there is no longer a dative case.