Re: AGAMOS in 1 Cor. 7

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sat Oct 11 1997 - 11:36:57 EDT

At 08:29 AM 10/10/97 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 10:03 PM -0500 10/9/97, David L. Moore wrote:
>> Despite the alpha privative (or a privative) as a fairly well known
>>construction, words must be defined by their usage. I am not aware of any
>>instance of AGAMOS in a classical author in which it means anything but
>>"never married." If anyone knows of one, I'd be glad to hear of it.
>I'd want to check this by running a TLG search of classical usage, but I
>should note that LSJ (the new one) says: "unmarried, single, whether
>bachelor or widower, ANANDROS being used of the woman." Some examples are
>cited, some of which, while not ruling out the possibility that the word
>might there mean "never married," appear to mean exactly the same as
>English "unmarried."

        Certainly L&S's definition needs to be given a great deal of weight.
I do find it odd, though, that I haven't been able to come across a single
instance in classical authors where AGAMOS unequivocally means "widowed" or
"divorced." That's not to say for certain that none exists. Carl's
suggestion of a TLG search of classical usage could give a definitive
answer. I may have to look into getting that done.

        Part of what makes me think it may have a meaning in classical
authors of "never married" are the very clear instances of such usage, as in
_Oedipus Rex_ (1502), when Oedipus, orphaned, bereft, and blind laments to
his daughters that they must perish barren and unmarried (XERSOUS FQARHNAI
KAGAMOUS / hUMAS XREWN) because no man will want to join himself to the
scandle of their family. Or in Aeschylus _The Supplicant Maidens_ (143),
where AGAMOS is employed in an expression that is translated "a virgin to a
virgin's aid."

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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