Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby D Ryan Lowe » September 10th, 2013, 3:03 pm

I was listening to lectures on Revelation by D. A. Carson, and he was commenting on the textual variant in Rev. 1:5, λύσαντι "free" vs. λούσαντι "wash." Carson suggested that the textual difference was because they were pronounced the same, and that the textual variant came about from transcribing oral dictation.
http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources ... ion-part-2 (~11:45-14:40)

However, according to Randall Buth's Reconstructed Koine pronunciation, υ and ου were not pronounced the same. Is Carson wrong here, or was there a time when υ and ου could have been confused orally? Are there other examples of υ and ου being confused? Should we consider this an accidental insertion (or deletion) of an omicron instead of an oral dictation error?
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby Ken M. Penner » September 10th, 2013, 3:47 pm

If my work on scribe B of Codex Sinaiticus is any indication, υ is far more likely to be confused with ι or οι than with ου.
ου was rarely confused with anything else; it is equally (un)likely to be confused with ο or ω as υ.
The only examples I've found: ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΑΙΟΥΣ for ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΕΥΣ, Isa 41.25 ΚΑΙΡΑΜΑΙΟΥΣ for ΚΕΡΑΜΕΥΣ.
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 10th, 2013, 6:15 pm

Go with Buth over Carson on this matter of pronunciation. The best scenario for confusing the two sounds would be if someone coughed loudly and drowned out the first syllable. Or if the scribes were Anglophone Erasmians.
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby Louis L Sorenson » September 11th, 2013, 12:05 am

D Ryan Lowe wrote:

I was listening to lectures on Revelation by D. A. Carson, and he was commenting on the textual variant in Rev. 1:5, λύσαντι "free" vs. λούσαντι "wash." Carson suggested that the textual difference was because they were pronounced the same, and that the textual variant came about from transcribing oral dictation.


If the scribe wrote υ for ου (misspelling the word and omitting the omicron), it would be haplography (dropping a written character from the text), and not a pronunciation issue. That could be another explanation of the textual variants.
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby RandallButh » September 11th, 2013, 2:20 am

Or if the scribes were Anglophone Erasmians.


Yes, the comment by Carson on Rev 1.5 (not to be confused with Carlson on this thread) is anecdotal evidence that he is an Anglophone Erasmian. It is not definitive evidence, of course. One needs to see an accumulation of such comments. Or one can just ask him or someone who knows him.

And yes, it helps to be acquainted with Koine pronunciation so that one's instincts line up with the ancient audiences. And it may encourage students to avoid Anglophone Erasmianism.
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby D Ryan Lowe » September 11th, 2013, 4:16 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:If the scribe wrote υ for ου (misspelling the word and omitting the omicron), it would be haplography (dropping a written character from the text), and not a pronunciation issue. That could be another explanation of the textual variants.


I thought haplography was more specific than that, referring to the omission of text because of the repetition of a sequence of characters.

The current scholarly consensus is that λύσαντι is the original, and thus the mistake would have been writing ου for υ. I'm not sure if there is a specific term for this type of error.

In any case, Carson did these talks way back in 1995. If he was wrong then, let's hope that he corrects this mistake if/when his Revelation commentary comes out.
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby Stephen Hughes » September 11th, 2013, 4:31 pm

Evidence for the alternatives is early. It seems to be two different text types (manuscript traditions), not just a once off pronunciation issue (giving rise to TR);
Rev 1:5 wrote:λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ
Releasing us from our sins.
Rev 1:5 wrote:λούσαντι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ
Washing us from our sins.
The difference in preposition suggests reworking not just mishearing. Similar constructions to these two might include the following:

The first construction compares to:
Romans 6:8 wrote:ἐλευθερωθέντες δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας


Luke 11:4 wrote:Καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν


The second gives the opportunity to compare these:
Acts 16:33 wrote:αὐτοὺς ... ἔλουσεν ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν

The αὐτοὺς ... ἔλουσεν ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν (wounds can be washed out but not washed off) might suggest that that Revelations 1:5 could be taken with a wash out sense.
but differs from (for example)
Hebrews 10:22 wrote:ἐρραντισμένοι (alt. ῥεραντισμένοι) τὰς καρδίας ἀπὸ συνειδήσεως πονηρᾶς, καὶ λελουμένοι (alt. λελουσμένοι) τὸ σῶμα ὕδατι καθαρῷ


Does anyone have an idea why in the λούσαντι variant we have "washing us from our sins" rather than "washing our sins from us"?
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Re: Pronunciation of υ and ου (Rev. 1:5)

Postby D Ryan Lowe » September 12th, 2013, 11:18 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Evidence for the alternatives is early. It seems to be two different text types (manuscript traditions), not just a once off pronunciation issue (giving rise to TR);
Rev 1:5 wrote:λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ
Releasing us from our sins.
Rev 1:5 wrote:λούσαντι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ
Washing us from our sins.
The difference in preposition suggests reworking not just mishearing.


That's a good possibility, although if I'm reading my NA27 textual apparatus correctly, all four combinations appear.

λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ appears in 2351, and λούσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ appears in 1854, 2053, 2062, lat, bo.

Stephen Hughes wrote:Does anyone have an idea why in the λούσαντι variant we have "washing us from our sins" rather than "washing our sins from us"?


I think that's just the way the λυοω works: the thing being washed is in the accusative (cf. Acts 9:37; Heb 10:2). If you used απολουω instead, then the thing being washed off would be in the accusative (Acts 22:16).

The only example that doesn't quite fit would be Acts 16:33 which uses "ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν." Perhaps the idea is not washing their wounds, but washing away their wounds?
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