File GATEWAY.MAIL received for you by Virginia.BITNET

Return-path: tbrunner@orion.oac.uci.edu
Received: from cpl2.ns.nts.uci.edu by vmsa.oac.uci.edu; Mon, 19 Oct 92 13:32 PDT
Received: from orion.oac.uci.edu by cpl2.ns.nts.uci.edu with SMTP id AA27614
 (5.65b/IDA-1.4.4 for NT-GREEK@virginia.bitnet); Mon, 19 Oct 92 13:32:06 -0700
Received: from localhost by orion.oac.uci.edu with SMTP id AA28988
 (5.65c/IDA-1.4.4 for <NT-GREEK@virginia.bitnet>); Mon, 19 Oct 1992 13:28:55
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 92 13:28:47 -0700
From: Ted Brunner <tbrunner@orion.oac.uci.edu>
Subject: Diabolos
Cc: tbrunner@orion.oac.uci.edu
Message-Id: <199210192028.AA28988@orion.oac.uci.edu>

An October 16 NT-Greek server message dealt with the meaning of the
Greek word diabolos.  While it may be presumptuous on my part to
respond (the message was addressed to the 'Dear Brothers in Christ,'
an appellation definitely not suitable in my case), I will put in my
two cents' worth anyway:

I do agree with one of the respondents who notes that the chronological
framework in which a given word appears must be a consideration in
determining that word's meaning.  A 'maid' in Shakespeare's time was a
virgin; somehow, I have a sneaking hunch that the 'maid' who has been
cleaning my house on Tuesday mornings isn't one.  However, focusing
upon a fixed moment in time isn't enough:  one must also understand
how the meanings of words change with changing times and contexts.

All of this means that those who really want to understand the Greek
New Testament must be able to read Greek.  Read it well, that is.  Not
merely Koine, but (especially!) classical Greek.  Not Greek-English
dictionaries, but Greek text.  Lots of it.  The root diabol- in its
various permutations (e.g., diabolos, diabole, diabolikos, etc.)
occurs 9,524 times in the TLG data bank (with only 37 of those
instances in the N.T.), and that's only the beginning:  there are tens
of thousands of verbal forms derived from ballein and its compounds.

The bottom line:  exegesis may be one thing, but philology is another.
A true understanding of the meaning of a word requires training and
hard work.  I myself would hesitate to provide a definitive meaning
(or, better, definitive meanings) for the Greek word diabolos unless
and until I had done a lot of painstaking research.

There is a chance that I may catch hell for the preceding from some
members of this list. So be it.  Actually, my comments are meant to be
positive.  They also conform to the principles which govern this list,
i.e., that 'NT-GREEK is an electronic conference designed to foster
communication concerning the scholarly study of the Greek New
Testament.'  The word 'scholarly' is important here.

In fact, I am willing to extend the following offer:  if there is a
member of this list who is interested in pursuing a scholarly study of
the Greek word diabolos, I will be happy to provide him (cf. P.S.
below) with all of the necessary raw data from the Thesaurus Linguae
Graecae data bank with compliments of the TLG.

Ted Brunner

P.S.:  Just out of curiosity:  aren't there also 'Sisters in Christ'
who should be reached via this list?

Theodore F. Brunner, Director
Thesaurus Linguae Graecae
University of California
Irvine, CA 92717 USA

Phone:       (714) 856-6404
FAX:         (714) 856-8434
e-mail:      TLG@UCI.BITNET