From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 29 1997 - 06:39:10 EDT

At 9:01 PM -0500 4/28/97, Mike MacKinnon wrote:
>G'day all!!!
>Well, once again it's Mr. "I've only had a little bit 'o Greek" calling
>upon the experts again...
>This concerns the usage of APOLUW in Mt. 10:28: this is the phrase I'm
>"phobeisthe de mallon ton dunamenon kai psuch‘n kai sšma apolesai en
>As I translate it: "But fear all the more the one who has the power to
>destroy spirit and body in Gehenna."
>I'm thinking about "apolesai" theologically here. In the aorist
>infinitive, it signifies undefined - but complete - action, does it not?
>Or am I wrong in my understanding of how the aorist functions here as an
>I was just pondering the argument of some annihilationists re: the doctrine
>of hell, specifically Clark Pinnock, who interprets this verse to suggest
>complete and utter destruction in the final fire of the judgment.
>My question is this: theological positions aside, does the verb APOLUW
>signify complete and utter destruction??? Furthermore, would this verb in
>the aorist infinitive (as it is here) signify the same?

The verb is not APO-LUW, a compound of APO + LUW, but AP-OLLUMI, a compound
of APO + OLLUMI (OL/). The semantic range of this verb is extensive--from
"lose" to "waste, make useless." It's used, for instance, of the wine and
wineskins in the proverbial synoptic pericope about old and new wine, where
one would not want to say that the wine and wineskins are "annihilated" so
much as "spoiled, ruined, rendered useless." "Annihilate" may be reading
more into the verb than it necessarily implies, but I wouldn't hold out
much hope for those whose SWMA and PSUCH become subject to the action
implied in this verb.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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