Re: dynamic words

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Thu Mar 07 1996 - 22:52:53 EST

> I was wondering if I could solicit submittals of everyone's favorite
>Greek words which meet the criteria of having a notoriously context
>sensitive definition. As an example I will present my own weak example.
> The RSV translates the Greek word HNTHY(KS)HIS (I used 'KS' in place of
>xsi, not knowing which latin to use...) in 1st Timothy 2:1 as
>"intercessions" but it translates the same word in 1st Timothy 4:4 as
>"thanksgiving." Clearly "intercessions" is not equal to "thanksgiving."
> Now I know that you folks out there can think of better examples than
>the one I have just presented, so if you offer them I will be much
>appreciative. (yes, there is a point to this excersize - I'm not doing
>this to waste everyone's time).
>Brent Arias
>University of New Mexico

Let me suggest one or two more. 1. NOMOS In classical Greek it means
custom, law, and pasture. In the NT it usually means Torah, or more
generically, law [see for example Rom 3:27. the NOMOS PISTEWS]. NOMOS in
the sense of pasture does not occur in the NT, but the related feminine
NOMH does [2 Tim 2:17]. The term derives from the stem *NEM-, fouind in the
verb NEMW, which means "to distribute." You can work out how it comes to
such varied meanings from the fundamental sense of the root.

Another such word where context determines meaning is LOGOS: Argument,
account (in financial matters), report, explanation, etc. It never means
"word" in the sense of a discrete term, e.g. a dictionary entry. The term
in ancient philosophy comes to be a power in history [LOGOS DIA PANTWM
FOITWN in Stoicism, for example]. Related to this is the verb LEGW, which
means both to speak and to choose in clasical Greek. Cf. EKLEGEIN, to
select, EKLOGH, etc.

When you get the lost list, post if for all of us to peruse.

Peace, Ed Krentz

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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