Re: A look is not a look

Randy Leedy (
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 09:06:13 -0400

Rick Strelan wrote:

>>>What's in a look? Does EMBLEPEIN signify merely the act of looking
at someone or can/does such a look have "meaning"? For example, when
the servant woman of the highpriest "looks at" Peter (Mk 14:67), are
we simply meant to understand a "look" or is it "a look"??
A very quick look in LSJ has two references to Xenophon and Socrates
which suggest EMBLEPEIN can be a suggestive look! I am increasingly
suspecting that there is more to the denial story than at first meets
the eye!

I'd like to offer a knee-jerk reaction to this post, without taking
the time for study and verification. It seems to me that the semantic
feature distinguishing EMBLEPW from BLEPW is a more than usual
intensity. The "looker's" intent is not a component of meaning of the
word itself but rather a factor identified by the context. The
context under consideration implies nothing sexual at all other than
the gender of the characters; the issue clearly at stake is Peter's
identity. Given the undoubtedly poor lighting of the scene, an
intense look would be entirely in order. It seems to me that the
dictum that the meaning that adds the least to the context is
generally correct (I hope I'm stating this with reasonable accuracy)
applies nicely here.

If I had Louw and Nida ready to hand I'd check out my theory; perhaps
someone else on the list will be interested enough to go to that

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC