Re: Phil 2:5-11

From: kdlitwak (
Date: Sun Mar 09 1997 - 14:23:35 EST

I can't resist using ROlf's statement about the meaning of a word
in clasical Greek to make a comment. In my baptism byfire into clasical
Greek this semester, I have found that anything I know about the
definitions of words in Koine has little or nothing to do with their
meanings in calssical Greek, and that most of the grammar I know doesn't
match either. For example, in 1 Corinthians, a BHMA is a place of
judgement. In classical Greek, according to LSJ, it never has any such
meaning but refers more likely to the podium or proconsul. There is in
fact no suitable definition in LSJ for BHMA in 1 and 2 Corinthians.
This has meade me even more wary of mixing classical and Koine
vocabulary or grammar than before. I wouldn't say they are mutualy
exclusive, but I have seen time and time again in LUcian, Thucydides and
Josephus that the probable NT semantic domain of a word and the
classical domain of the exact same word my or may not intersect. IN
mathematical terms those two things form two sets that, it seems to me,
do not always share any set members in common. So does the clasical
meaning of (HGEOMAI have anything to do with Phil 2? Maybe, maybe not.
It should NOT be assumed that it does. For my money, classical Greek
and Koine are about as close to each other as ENglish and French. Three
years of NT Greek left me completely unprepared for Lucian ot

Ken Litwak
Graduate Theological Union
Berserkely, CA

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