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Our community's attitude towards Greek has changed since we started out, and it is time to reflect that in our scope. Below is a suggestion for a new policy on Greek on our site.

Any comments and feedback are welcome. Unless you are a moderator, please do not edit the policy below directly. Instead, suggest a rewording in an answer.

The policy is currently in effect, but it will be adjusted if the need arises. Please report any concerns or other observations.

Background

Our site started as Latin-only, but Latin is intimately tied to Greek, particularly classical Greek. It is not obvious where the line should be drawn if Greek is to be included.

In late 2016 we had a discussion about Greek on our site. The answer "We allow all Greek questions up to the end of classical antiquity, but exclude New Testament Greek." was the most popular one and therefore accepted. Over the years new votes have been cast, and currently the most popular choice by far is "We allow all Greek questions up to the end of classical antiquity, including New Testament Greek."

In addition, we had a discussion about New Testament Greek in mid 2018, and including it in our scope got overwhelming support.

Decisions like this are based on how the community votes in meta discussions like the two linked ones. Discussions between moderators and input from community managers and other SE employees also play a role. It is important that the scope is simple enough to describe and enforce. Also, if a significant portion — which need not be a majority — of users is bothered by having Greek questions around, that is taken seriously if such opinions are aired. (I hope we have an atmosphere where anyone is free to state their opinion!) Driving any Latinists away by expanding to Greek is the last thing we want to do.

The policy

Questions concerning Greek roughly up to the end of classical antiquity (fall of Western Roman Empire in AD 476), including New Testament Greek, are on topic. However, questions should be mostly about the language itself. For questions focusing on interpretation or exegesis of biblical texts, please refer to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange instead. Other questions focusing on content rather than language might find a better home at various other sites, including Philosophy, Mythology, and Literature.

This policy is subject to change if the community, moderators, or Stack Exchange encounter any issues.

The new policy is also reflected on our help pages and tour. For current and historical versions, see this meta post. The description of the tag has also been updated1.

A small elaboration on the policy being subject to change: Our site's main topic is and will be Latin. If there is a flood of questions on another topic and Latin is in danger of drowning, the policy may be altered. If a significant number of users are uneasy with the flux of matter irrelevant to them, the moderators are prepared to take action. Some other topics (Etruscan, older Greek, other ancient Italic languages) support Latin and share the same enthusiasts. We are happy to include them, but not unconditionally. Please keep the moderators and the community informed about your feelings towards Greek on the site.

Rationale

For more reasoning behind this policy, see the linked meta discussions. Here is an abridged version.

Latin and Greek are related on a number of levels: they are related as Indo-European languages, the communities that study them overlap significantly, and the Latin and Greek speaking communities in antiquity were in close contacts. As Latin and Greek are so intertwined, it would be artificial to exclude Greek.

However, this argument does not extend to all kinds of Greek. Latin and Greek started growing apart around the end of classical antiquity. Modern Greek is far from the ancient one, and questions concerning it would not be of significant interest to the many classicists frequenting our site. (This is not a classics site, though; Latin of all eras is included.) The language of the New Testament is significantly different from classical Greek. While much of Christian Greek is therefore less interesting to pure classicists, the Greek New Testament has a great influence on the Latin translations. Many of the oddities in Latin bibles are calques of the Greek versions — which in the case of the Septuagint are calques of Hebrew — and understanding that Greek is therefore of relevance.

I emphasize that the policy is not carved in stone, so please let us know about your opinion.


1 The old excerpt and wiki for were: "For questions concerning the interaction and influence of Greek on Latin. Also questions about only Greek are allowed, as long as it is from classical antiquity or older but not from the New Testament." and "For questions concerning the interaction and influence of Greek on Latin. This includes Greek loan words, translations, or aspects of Greek literature that was read, borrowed, and imitated by the Romans. // See this meta discussion for the status of Greek: Policy on Greek questions"

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    I like this new policy. A solid understanding of Classical Greek helps a lot when translating NT Greek, so I believe that many classicists here will be able to help with New Testament questions. – ktm5124 Jul 16 '18 at 0:58

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