Sign In | New Login


Punctuation

Papyrus 46 Basic Punctuation Elision Brackets Double Brackets

All punctuation (and diacritics, spaces and capitalization) in the Greek New Testament are later editorial additions which were not necessarily present in the original autographs (see Papyrus 46 below).

Robinson-Pierpont: Word separation, paragraph division, punctuation, and diacritical markings...are not considered definitive for the interpretation of the text. Although alternative accentuation, aspiration, or punctuation could alter the interpretation of many passages and affect exegetical comprehension, the editors have followed the general usage found in standard printed editions.1

The added Greek punctuation does not exactly match English. The period and the comma are the same. Greek uses a semicolon ( ; ) for an interrogation mark. Greek uses a middle dot ( · ) where English uses either a colon or a semicolon.

(Note that Modern Greek utilizes a fuller set of punctuation than what is found in the GNT and described here.)

Papyrus 46

P46 is a third century Greek manuscript of the Pauline Epistles (Romans, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and Thessalonians) lacking punctuation, diacritics, and spacing:

P46 contains a single accent, about a dozen rough breathings, and a half-dozen apostrophes. The most common mark is the diaresis, which occurs several hundred times.... Even more so than the lack of diacritic marks, modern readers will notice the lack of punctuation and spacing between words.2

P46 is viewable online at the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection's Reading the Papyri: P46, Features of the Codex.

Basic Punctuation

Greek PunctuationEnglish Equivalent
 . Period . Period
 , Hypodiastole* or Comma , Comma
 · Middle Dot : or Colon or Semicolon
 ; Semicolon ? Question Mark
 — Dash — Dash

A middle dot functions as either a colon or a semicolon†:

Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς· Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
[This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, may your name be hallowed; (Matthew REB 6:9)]

A semicolon functions as a question mark:

Ἐτρέχετε καλῶς· τίς ὑμᾶς ἐνέκοψεν [ τῇ ] ἀληθείᾳ μὴ πείθεσθαι;
[You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7 NET)]

*A precursor to the comma, called a hypodiastole, prior to the introduction of punctuation and spaces, was used as necessary for word separation such as ὅ,τι to disambiguate ὅ τι from ὅτι. (In fact, the hypodiastole-comma within ὅ,τι has been retained in Modern Greek and is now regarded as belonging to the word; within Classical Greek texts, though, ὅ,τι is printed as two words: ὅ τι.3)

†Modern Greek texts have both colons ( : ) and middle dots ( · ) so that middle dots function as semicolons only; most Classical Greek texts, however, preserve the middle dot for both.

UNICODE NOTE: Per Unicode's Character Code Chart for the Greek and Coptic Range, the preferred characters for the Greek middle dot and semicolon are code points U+00B7 MIDDLE DOT and U+003B SEMICOLON, although the Greek and Coptic Range itself includes another middle dot and semicolon, U+0387 GREEK ANO TELEIA and U+037E GREEK QUESTION MARK.4

Elision (Apostrophe ’)

Certain common small words drop their final vowel when adjoined to words having an initial vowel or diphthong. Κατ’ and δι’, for example, are elided forms of κατά and διά, as in the following verse:

καὶ χρηματισθέντες κατ’ ὄναρ μὴ μή ἀνακάμψαι πρὸς Ἡρῴδην, δι’ ἄλλης ὁδοῦ ἀνεχώρησαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν.
[After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country. (Matthew 2:12 NET)]

Elisions in the Greek New Testament
ἀλλ’ἀλλά (particle, but)
ἀνθ’*ἀντί (preposition, against)
ἀπ’, ἀφ’ἀπό (preposition, from)
δ’δέ (particle, but)
δι’διά (preposition, through)
ἐπ’, ἐφ’ἐπί (preposition, upon)
κατ’, καθ’κατά (preposition, down)
μετ’, μεθ’μετά (preposition, with)
μηδ’μηδέ (particle, neither)
οὐδ’οὐδέ (conjunction, neither)
παρ’παρά (preposition, beside)
τοῦτ’**τοῦτο (pronoun, this)
ὑπ’, ὑφ’ὑπό (preposition, under)

*Ἀντί elides only in front of rough breathings (thus ἀνθ’, but never ἀντ’ as with κατά and μετά per note ‡ below).

Ἀπό, ἐπί, and ὑπό become ἀπ’, ἐπ’ and ὑπ’ before smooth breathings, and ἀφ’, ἐφ’ and ὑφ’ in front of a rough breathings.

Κατά and μετά become κατ’ and μετ’ before smooth breathings, and καθ’ and μεθ’ in front of a rough breathing.

**Τοῦτο elides only in the expression τοῦτ’ ἔστιν (meaning that is; see below).

UNICODE NOTE: Haralambous: Use U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK rather than U+1FBF GREEK PSILI as an apostrophe.... The shape of the apostrophe in Greek typography is exactly the one of the smooth breathing U+1FBF GREEK PSILI. The Latin apostrophe U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK is a bit longer, and looks more like a comma than like a smooth breathing. However, it is the rendering engine [or font] which should change the shape of the apostrophe in a Greek context.5

Τοῦτό Ἐστιν vs. Τοῦτ’ Ἔστιν

Unelided, τοῦτό ἔστιν means this is:

...τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.
[...this is my body. (Matthew 26:26 and Mark 14:22)]

Elided, the expression τοῦτ’ ἔστιν functions as that is, i.e., i.e.:

περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν ἀνεβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων , Ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι; τοῦτ’ ἔστιν, Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἱνατί με ἐγκατέλιπες;
[At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NET)]

Brackets ([ ])

Bracketed words within NA27/UBS4 and within the RP2005 variant apparatus reflect uncertainty by the editors of the Greek text about whether they were included in the original text.

Nestle-Aland: Square brackets always reflect a great degree of difficulty in determining the text...and indicate that textual critics today are not completely convinced of the authenticity of the enclosed words... The reading given in the text shows the preference of the editors,6

In Matthew 27:16 (and 27:17), for example, the manuscript evidence is divided between the readings Βαραββᾶν and Ἰησοῦν Βαραββᾶν [Jesus Barabbas]. The editors favor Ἰησοῦν Βαραββᾶν and so include it, but uncertain enough to put Ἰησοῦν in brackets:

Εἶχον δὲ τότε δέσμιον ἐπίσημον λεγόμενον [Ἰησοῦν] Βαραββᾶν.
[At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. (Matthew 27:16 NET)]

Metzger assigns this reading a {C} rating* in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:

Metzger: A majority of the Committee was of the opinion that the original text of Matthew had the double name in both verses and that Ἰησοῦν was deliberately suppressed in most witnesses for reverential considerations. In view of the relatively slender external support for Ἰησοῦν, however, it was deemed fitting to enclose the word within square brackets.7

*{C} and {D} readings are bracketed; {A} and {B} readings are not. The letter {A} signifies that the text is certain, while {B} indicates that the text is almost certain. The letter {C}, however, indicates that the Committee had difficulty in deciding which variant to place in the text. The letter {D}, which occurs only rarely, indicates that the Committee had great difficulty in arriving at a decision.8

Double Brackets ([[ ]])

Double brackets within NA27/UBS4 and within the variant apparatus of RP2005 identify passages that are deemed by the editors of the Greek text to be inauthentic to the autographs, but regarded as still part of the canonical tradition.

Nestle-Aland: Double brackets in the text ([[ ]]) indicate that the enclosed words, generally of some length, are known not to be part of the original text. These texts derive from a very early stage of the tradition, and have often played a significant role in the history of the church.9

Double-Bracketed Passages in the Greek New TestamentNA27/UBS4RP2005
Mark 16:8b Shorter Ending of Mark Enclosed in double brackets. Omitted, but noted in the NA27-variant apparatus.
Mark 16:9-20 Longer Ending of Mark Enclosed in double brackets. Included without brackets.
Luke 22:43-44 [Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground] (NET)* Enclosed in double brackets. Included without brackets.
Luke 23:34a [But Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.] (NET)* Enclosed in double brackets. Included without brackets.
John 7:53-8:11 Pericope Adulterae Enclosed in double brackets. Included without brackets, but also with an alternate reading below the main text.†
Acts 24:6b-8a And we wanted to judge him according to our law. But Lysias the commanding officer came and took him out of our hands with a great deal of violence, ordering those who accused him to come before you. (NET text-critical [tc] note) Omitted, but noted in the critical apparatus. Omitted, but included as an alternate reading below the main text.‡

*The NET Bible includes these verses in brackets, reflecting their double-bracketed status in NA27/UBS4.

†Kata Biblon has merged the alternate reading of John 7:53-8:11 with the main reading of RP2005.

‡Kata Biblon has inserted the alternate reading of Acts 24:6b-8a into the main text of RP2005 text enclosed in double brackets.

References

1. William G. Pierpont and Maurice A. Robinson, comps., preface to The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Texform 2005 (Southborough, MA: Chilton Book Publishing Company, 2005), available online at both: http://www.rpbyztxt.com/ and http://kotisivu.dnainternet.net/jusala/RP2005/RP2005.htm ByzantineText.com: https://byzantinetext.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/editions-rp-01-preface.pdf, xvii.

2. Regents of the University of Michigan, Greek 1 - The Pauline Epistles (P46), Reading the Papyri, University of Michigan Papyrus Collection, http://www.lib.umich.edu/pap/k12/reading/Paul/diacritics.html http://www.lib.umich.edu/reading/Paul/diacritics.html (accessed 16 April 2007 30 Sep 2018), Diacritics in P46.

3. Nick Nicholas, Punctuation, Greek Unicode Issues, http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/unicode/punctuation.html#shared http://opoudjis.net/unicode/punctuation.html#shared (accessed 02 May 2007 30 Sep 2018), 1. Punctuation shared with Latin.

4. Unicode Consortium, Greek and Coptic Range: 0370-03FF (PDF), excerpt from The Unicode Standard, Version 5.0 (2006), available online at the Unicode Website: http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0370.pdf (accessed 02 May 2007), 34.

5. Yannis Haralambous, Guidelines and Suggested Amendments to the Greek Unicode Tables (PDF), May 2002, Page personnelle : Yannis Haralambous, http://omega.enstb.org/yannis/pdf/amendments2.pdf http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.184.3065&rep=rep1&type=pdf#page=6 (accessed 02 May 2007 30 Sep 2018), Rule 7 : Apostrophe vs. Smooth Breathing, p. 6.

6. Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., introduction to Nestle-Aland Greek-English New Testament, 9th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgelsellschaft, 2001), pp. 6*-7*.

7. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgellschaft / United Bible Socities, 1994), Matthew 27.16 and 27.17.

8. Bruce M. Metzger, introduction to A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgellschaft / United Bible Socities, 1994), p. 14*.

9. Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., introduction to Nestle-Aland Greek-English New Testament, 9th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgelsellschaft, 2001), p. 7*.

Copyright 2007-2021 Thomas Moore, Email: acct3 at katabiblon.com, Support Forum Set Local Timezone
Thursday, 06-May-2021 08:47:00 EDT

TEXTS

LEXICON

CONTENTS

ABOUT

The Kata Biblon Grammar of the Greek New Testament is a grammar reference of the Greek New Testament and Septuagint.

www.katabiblon.com

OPTIONS



KEYMAP

abgdezhqiklm
αβγδεζηθικλμ
nxoprstufcyw
νξοπρστυφχψω
)(/\=|+'v@#*
᾿ ͺ¨ϝϛʹ%
Wildcard: %