From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jul 25 1997 - 07:40:37 EDT
At 6:42 AM -0400 7/25/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>In English, "trespasses" and "transgressions" sound very theological and
>religious to me, and especially for PARAPTWMA, my NT lexica seem to suggest
>that kind of undertone. But LSJ gives a more secular, everyday meaning to
>para-ptma, atos, to, false step, slip, blunder, Plb.9.10.6, Phld.
>Herc.1251.14 (pl.), Longin.36.2.
> 2. defeat, D.S.19.100.
> 3. transgression, trespass, LXX Ez.14.13,al., Ev.Matt.6.14, Ep.Gal.6.1,
> 4. error in amount of payments, PTeb.5.91 (ii B.C.).
>opheil-ma, atos, to, that which is owed, debt, Thuc. 2.40, etc.; apotinein
>o. Plat. Laws 717b; apodoteon Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1165a3: also in Inscrr.,
>IG12.57.14, SIG306.38 (Tegea, iv B. C.), au=SIG 1108.11 (Callatis, iii/ii B.
>C.), etc.; and Pap., PHib.1.42.10 (iii B. C.), etc.; cf. ophlma.
>Would it be fair to say that PARAPTWMA applies to any failing, whether or
>not it is sinful (in the sense of transgressing one of God's commands)?
This is a matter concerning which I have always, since I first read it,
thought the most illuminating discussion of all was Nietzsche's _Genealogy
of Morals_, wherein he shows to what extent the language of morality
derives secondarily (in more than one language) from the language of
commerce, specifically "owing," "paying," "remission," etc. Certainly this
is true of OFEILHMA, the initial sense is surely "debt" or "obligation" in
a commercial sense. As for PARAPTWMA and hAMARTIA, I rather think that
these are not commercial but yet pretty clearly derivative from the verbs
hAMARTANW, "miss the mark" or "fall short of" (and commonly used with an
ablatival genitive of the object(ive) missed or fallen short of) and
PARAPIPTW, "go astray," "mis-step." The English word "transgression" is
from the Latin TRANSGRESSIO which derives rather from the Latin verb
TRANSGREDIOR, "step over a boundary."
I don't want to get involved in an etymological guessing-game here so much
(I guess I already have, haven't I?) as to assent fundamentally to the
proposition that these terms originate outside the sphere of religion
and/or morality and are applied only secondarily in those spheres.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243
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