QOTD: Martin Hengel

martin hengel

The bond which held the Hellenistic world together despite the fragmentation which began with the death of Alexander and continued thereafter, was Attic koine. Its sphere of influence went far beyond that of Aramaic, the official language of the Persian kingdom. Greek merchants dealt in it, whether in Bactria on the border of India or in Massilia; laws were promulgated in it and treaties concluded in accordance with a uniform basic scheme; it was the language of both diplomats and men of letters; and anyone who sought social respect or even the reputation of being an educated man had to have an impeccable command of it….Impeccable command of the Greek was the most important qualification for taking over Greek culture. The final establishment of and dissemination of the koine was probably the most valuable and the most permanent fruit of Alexander’s expedition.
Martin Hengel. Judaism and Hellenism, pg. 58.


One thought on “QOTD: Martin Hengel

  1. Thank you very much for posting this significant quote. Here are some other sources that I have gathered documenting this same issue:

    J. N. Birdsall, “Language of the New Testament”, in New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, et al., eds. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 713-714.

    G. Adolf Deissmann, Bible Studies: Contributions Chiefly from Papyri and Inscriptions to the History of the Language, the Literature, and the Religion of Hellenistic Judaism and Primitive Christianity, trans. Alexander Grieve (Winona Lake, IN: Alpha Publications, n.d.; 1979 ed., reprint of Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1923, combining both Bibelstudien and Neue Bibelstudien), esp. pp. 77, 80, also pp. 61-169, “Contributions to the Language of the Greek Bible”.

    Adolf Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East: The New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World, 4th rev. ed. of Licht vom Osten (Tübingen, 1909, 1923), trans. Lionel R. M. Strachan (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, n.d.; 1978 ed.), pp. 62-69.

    C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953, 1959), pp. 1-4.

    James Hope Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 4 vols., Vol. I: Prolegomena, 3rd ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978), I:1-32, esp. pp. 4-8, and 30-32.

    James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyrii and other Non-Literary Sources (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d.; 1930 ed.), pp. vii-xx, esp. xi-xii.

    A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 4th ed. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934), pp. 49-51, 53-56, 66.

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