Re: hOUTWS as an intensifier

Mary L B Pendergraft (
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 21:42:23 -0500

At 08:12 AM 11/24/97 -0800, Paul Zellmer wrote:
>Filoi (kai filai),
>I guess I have spent too much time in Hebrew, and I find myself
>floundering in some very simple areas in the Greek. I realize that, of
>the more than 200 uses of hOUTWS, normally it means, "in this way."
>Yet some very important verses (e.g. Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 4:11) use this word,
>and it is often interpreted, "so much". In looking at these verses in
>the Greek, I see no good reason to change the significance of hOUTWS.
>Nor can I seem to find good support for the word acting as an
>intensifier in the limited reference works that I have at hand. Can
>any of you shed light on the use of the word to result in intensifying
>the significance of what is modified?

I believe that the Greek in these passages doesn't represent a use
different from "in this way", although the best way to reproduce the sense
of these, or other, passages in English may be to take a slightly different
tack. In the former passage, hOUTWS is the adverb that prepares us for
the WSTE construction: "God loved us in such a way that....."; in the
second, it looks backward to the previous verse, which had given an example
of God's love ("he sent his son as an offering bor our sins"): "if God
loved us like that, we also ought to love one another..." It may be that
the most comfortable way to render these phrases in English is "so much" or
"to such an extent" but it's not precisely what the Greek says. I don't
know what will be most natural or idiomatic in the language you're working


Mary Pendergraft
Associate Professor of Classical Languages
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109 910-759-5331