Re: Synonyms (???) in John

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Feb 14 1997 - 11:49:55 EST

D. Anthony Storm <> wrote:

> I rarely come out of lurking since I am no scholar, but here goes:

Ouch. Do I have to be a scholar to post here? If so, I'm in big
> So much discussion has been made as to whether AGAPAW and PHILEW possess
> distinct meanings or are synonymous in John. One argument for
> differentiation has been their close proximity.
> However, what about the close proximity of "sheep" (PROBATA, APNIA) and
> "tending sheep" (POIMAINE, BOSKE)? If we choose to see a fine difference
> between types of love, are we not compelled to distinguish between types of
> sheep and ways of tending them?
> Aren't stylistic considerations a better explanation? Any thoughts?

Good point, and good examples - taken right from the same passage.

I think that Greek writers do vary words for the sake of style, and they
do vary words to bring out subtle shades of meaning, which is why it is
so tricky to discuss these passages.

Here is another passage which supports your point:

Ephe 4:5 (GNT) heis kurios, mia pistis, hen baptisma,
6 heis qeos kai pathr pantwn, ho epi pantwn kai dia pantwn kai en pasin.

I doubt very much that there are subtle distinctions being made in
the variation between hEIS, MIA, and hEN. Of course, if I'm wrong,
there are plenty of people here to correct me! And that's why we
non-scholar types can safely post here; we are part of a community
that can correct us and help us become just a little more knowledgeable
day by day.


Jonathan Robie
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