RE: Use of Comparative in 3John 4

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Tue Jun 10 1997 - 15:13:19 EDT

At 5:21AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>Shakespeare has, among other double comparatives, "This was the most
>unkindest cut of all." While held in contempt by prescriptive grammarians,
>I think it is a not uncommon colloquialism in several languages; Greek is
>not an exception--and I think there are others in the NT, pehaps also in
>the LXX.

Well, I'd call that a "double superlative" rather than a "double
comparitive", but since from what I read the superlative had virtually
disappeared from Koine and the comparitive forms were making do for
both, I guess the distinction isn't material in this forum! ;-)

My main question here is: What should I presume the author of 3 John
was trying to convey by his use of the reduplicated comparitive sense?
Why would he use MEIZOTEROS instead of MEIZWN in this context, and what
conclusions about his semantic intent can we draw from that usage? For
example, given the virtual disappearance of the superlative form from
Koine, could/should we assume that the author was trying to convey the
superlative by the reduplication of the comparitive sense?

IOW, in what senses is MEIZOTEROS *NOT* a synonym for MEIZWN?

> -Chuck Stevens [SMTP:]

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