An ancient language that, along with Latin, forms the basis of most modern Western languages, such as English. The New Testament was written during the Hellenistic period of Greek in the common, spoken form of Greek known as Koiné Greek.
Four Historical Periods of the Greek Language
||Before 300 B.C.
||Homer, Plato, Aristotle|
||300 B.C – A.D. 330
||A.D. 330 – A.D. 1453
||Latin became dominant|
||A.D. 1453 – Present
Hellenistic Greek was spread through the Alexander the Great’s conquest and formation of the Roman Empire (336-323 B.C.). By 100 B.C., Greek was the spoken language (or the “lingua franca”) of the entire Roman Empire. It was often learned as a second language and many of Classical Greek’s subtleties were lost. There were two forms of Hellenistic Greek:
- Literary Greek – used in formal literary communications and closer to Classical Greek.
- Koiné Greek – the common everyday Greek spoken by the commoner. Shopping lists written in Koiné Greek have also been found. The New Testament was also written in Koiné Greek, the language of the common man.
For more on Biblical Greek, see Koiné Greek.