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If you had to pronounce the Greek characters that form the 666 in Revelation 13:18, how would it sound phonetically?

I aporecitae it's a non-word and so may be hard to say, but if you HAD to pronounce it as one word, what might that sound like?

Many thanks

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The answer to this depends on which text you use. If we read the oldest MSS and the texts based on them such as: NA4, NA28, UBS5, W&H, Byzantine text, NIV GNT, THGNT, Souter, etc, we get:

ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ

This is pronounced: hexakosioi hexekonta hex (= six hundred sixty six).

A few hundred years after the first century, scribes started using letters as numbers, a practice called "Gematria". This enabled the scribes to abbreviate the writing of numbers. This is reflected in texts that follow those created in the middle ages such as the Textus Receptus, Stephanus text, the Majority Text, the text of the Orthodox Church, Pickering's F35 text, etc. All these later texts have:

χξϛʹ

This three letters contain no vowels as it is just (transliterated) "chxs" and is unpronounceable.

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  • Would "chee zus" be a possiblr pronunciation then? I know it isn't exactly a word but if it had to be vocalised, how could it be said phonetically? – Tzephanyahu Feb 16 '20 at 10:03
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    As mentioned above, there are no vowels and your suggestion supplies vowels that do not exist in the text of Rev 13:18. Further, the "x" is pronounced like that in the word "mix", not as a "z". The most neutral way of supplying vowels is to add "e" such as: "chexes". It makes no sense and is not quite Biblical but there we are! – Dottard Feb 16 '20 at 10:08
  • Thank you Dottard – Tzephanyahu Feb 16 '20 at 13:26
  • The use of the letters of the Greek alphabet to indicate numbers goes back at least to 450 BC, not "a few hundred years after the first century". – fdb Feb 18 '20 at 15:57
  • @fdb - that may be true but it was not used in Bible MSS until well after the apostolic era. – Dottard Feb 18 '20 at 20:23

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