Date: Wed Jun 26 1996 - 17:33:57 EDT

This is another one of my multiple topic posts, and as usual I apologize for
any inconvenience.
First, thanks to Carl Conrad for his comments on Catullus, quem amo et odi, I
might add. Catullus' value system is mostly reprehensible to me, but I must
confess that I enjoy his wit (I enjoy Carl's wit too, btw). The idea of BENE
VELLE for diligo is a good point, and I think it does well for AGAPAW in
general. For those who can bear a few more comments about FILEW/AGAPAW without
it leading them ad nauseam, let me point out first that I did not mean to
imply that the context of usage within the Bible was less important or second-
ary to extra-biblical sources. Since the work of Deissmann and others, most
of us have come to accept the view that the NT is not composed in a "Holy
Spirit" language, and consequently it is useful to look at relevant extra-
bib sources in understanding the vocab of the NT. My theory depends on the
extent to which these sources suggest acceptable meanings for NT vocab, and if
I found that the meanings did not work in the context of the NT, I would
reject them. Also, I agree with those who place a high value on historical
and geographical correspondence (which is why I remarked that Homer is of
little relevance to the NT, in addition to the differences between prose
and poetry). As a matter of fact, I am writing a C++ program for searching
the TLG and intend to include dates as a parameter in searches. Since we now
have very powerful computer-based tools and databases, I suspect we are in
for some surprises as to what is really the best methodology for determining
this or that grammatical/lexical fact.
Now to other topics. The PLEON TOUTWN construction in Jo 21:15 is an inter-
esting can of worms. Greek has (at least) two ways of making this kind of
comparison, and unfortunately John chose the ambiguous form (it appears un-
fortunate to me, at least), so while I find the fishy interpretation hard
to swallow for the sarcasm, the grammar doesn't rule it out.
It's great to see listers praising the merits of learning Greek. As a Bible
translator I second the comment that no translation is adequate to see what
is really going on in the original. The challenges of John 21 as it's been
discussed here underscore that, and I might add that there are often times
when the English is necessarily more specific or precise than is merited
by the Greek (e.g. the translation of adverbial/circumstantial participles).
And if I may put in a plug, secular institutions often are equally (and some-
times better) places to study Greek. Whether it is a Bible-based or secular
school, however, it is unfortunate that so many classics or Greek departments
are struggling to stay alive due to poor enrollment. Perhaps enrollment would
be higher if more Christian students realized the difference Greek makes in
Bible study, and understood that their GPA's do not automatically have to go
south the moment they cross the threshold of the Greek classroom.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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