How Do You Say Philistine?

Do you say it with a long "i" like "eye" for the "tine."  Or do you say "Philis-TEEN."

I have always said Philisteen, but then, I could be wrong, like I was about "err."

ButI have certainly learned the right way to say "Amen!" which is the secret password to joining the Ordinariate.  (I'll give it away:  it is  Ah'-men,  not Aye-men', 'k?")

And it is "seth" for "saith" not "sayeth," that I know, too.

I am still enjoying listening to  actor Max McLean reading aloud the King James Bible, though I see he also has done the ESV and the NIV, too.

Though I don't always listen to the audio, when I do, I find it helps me pay better attention to the text than if I read it outloud myself or read it silently.  It's also a way of playing with my new BlackBerry or PlayBook.  Not an "i" person, sorry.

Here's more information about the actor Max McLean at The Listener's Bible:

Max McLean is President of Fellowship for the Performing Arts, narrator for the Listener’s Bible audio line, and speaker on the daily radio program Listen to the Bible which airs on over 670 radio affiliates worldwide.

But he is best known for his theatrical presentations of The Screwtape LettersMark's Gospel, and Genesis. Each of these has received critical acclaim in a wide array of publications including the Chicago TribuneThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

His theatrical productions have appeared in several off-Broadway theaters in New York; at the Edinburgh Fringe Theater Festival in Scotland; Pegasus Theater in Chicago; the Dallas Theater Center; the Stratford Festival Theater, as well as dozens of colleges and performing arts venues across the country, including Duke, Brown and Smith. See Reviews and Comments.

As the narrator of the Listener’s Bible (available in KJV, NIV and ESV translations) McLean is committed to recapturing the early oral tradition of telling the Bible story with clarity and power. He brings a unique blend of dramatic expression and theological understanding that make listening to the Bible a joyous, rewarding experience. His recordings of the Bible have been nominated for Best Inspirational Audio by the Audio Publisher's Association on two separate occasions.

Max McLean was born in Panama City, Panama, and came to America via New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty at the age of four. The first thing he had to do was master the English language. Due to his father's military career, 'home' included many places across the continental United States, the Far East, and Europe.

Max is married to Sharon and they have two daughters, Rachel and Julia. Max & Sharon are active members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City.

I found out more about him and he is not English after all.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

15 thoughts on “How Do You Say Philistine?”

  1. I'd say philisteen unless I was pretending to be more grand than I am. At the General Theological Seminary in my day one said "seth" and "ur", not to do so was to sound like a philistyne, as I recall. I also dithered sometimes between eyether and eether but now say eether all the time. A real test is whether one says "et" or "ayte" (for ate) although that may be a bit much even for anglophiles. I am firmly in the aaah-man camp (ayeman was awfully Baptist so Episcopalians did our best to sound superior; I wonder how Cramner, Pole, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I pronounced it? A lot of times the less eophisticated pronunciation is older and less affected).

    1. I read an article a year or so ago which advanced the argument – on the basis of several compelling pieces of linguistic evidence – that the Black Country accent (Dudley, Wolverhampton, etc) is probably closest to the "cultured" English accent of the Tudor period. I find this amusing, as there is a modern stereotype (which is unfair, like all stereotypes) of people with this accent being rather simple-minded.

      I'll see if I can find the article again. In the meantime, this is a song attributed to Henry VIII, sung in a historically informed style.

      1. Let's…. Let's stick with the BBC, Oxford, RP, Queen's English.

        Not to say that Black Country isn't a lovely accent, no! ….It's just hard to believe that it's English. If I didn't know any better, I could've sworn these people were speaking Welsh.

        1. Nothing wrong with the Oxford accent (I have something of one myself, the product of a misspent youth). But Our Henry, Good Queen Bess and Elizabeth probably spoke like that.

          Puts it all into perspective, ne?

  2. The English language has a very big problem with it's writing system, but you can use other languages as a guide: if the word is pronounced one way in French, Italian, Spanish and Latin, it should probably be the same in English, because in the end it's just an adaptation of Hebrew words.

  3. I use Philist-teen. Because that's how it's spelled as? I'm not a native English speaker, but I'm not sure I can use that as a justification, because the English language has words such as "Knowlege" and Through, Though, Enough, Knight, Sight, Thought, Bought, Bough, Sought The, etc.

    Philis-teen sounds very Latinate. "Philistinus"

    Philis-tyne- sounds like a fancy, old-timey English school master pronunciation. It may sound appropriate in the Ordinariate. But It would sound out-of-place in conversations among us low-brow individuals.

    "I would like to order a Big Mac, and some soda. Please give us some sporks, as we are not Philistynes!"

    I say "Ay-men" out of force of habit. I'd welcome "Ah-men" back, along with "With THY Spirit" immediately. But apparently, praying to God in the Mass using solemn language is widely considered "Pretentious" so we're (non-ordinariate people) stuck with language that ended up with the chalice being called "Cup" and and the Altar being just a "Table" and so forth.

    You're not an "i" person TOO!? YES! I LOVE YOU, MS. GYAPONG!

      1. I live in Southern California, where valley girls were invented. So… Yeah.

        Actually, maybe valley girls would pronounce it "Philistyne"

        Also, I wanna clear up that where I live, it's only certain people's opinion that the language used in Mass should be "Inclusive" and "Politically Correct" so there's a culture of revulsion at solemn and sacred Language, from Latin to the sort of English found in the Ordinariate Mass. Which probably explains why traditional services are held at places an hour's ride away from Los Angeles proper.

        I can't help but think there's conspiracy afoot.

  4. Well, as a former Prebyterian ( of a kind), I would say that if the MacLeans must be Presbyterian, the PCA is the right place.

  5. I don't have my own pronunciation since I can never remember what is correct or even what I said last time.

    My Harper's Bible Pronunciation Guide gives it this way: fi-lis'-teen.

  6. I'm not sure why but, for me, the Philisteens are the Biblical tribe, whereas he Philistynes are the modern tribe.


  7. IM-pee-us




    Yes, "saith" is a disyllabic word. "Beloved" in a liturgical context is trisyllabic, at least in the US. The Anglican clergy of Canada tend to mispronounce "beloved" and "Isaiah."

  8. filistiin (doubled kasrah) is how it is pronounced in Arabic. Hard to imagine a Semitic language confusing the "ee" sound with the "ai" sound.

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