Re: Jn 21:15-17 in English

Date: Tue Apr 21 1998 - 10:36:15 EDT

Paul S. Dixon wrote:

> The only other way Peter could be viewed as answering the questions,
> assuming a difference in meaning between AGAPAS and FILEIS, would be if
> AGAPAS were a subset of FILEIS, i.e., if FILW were greater than AGAPW and
> necessarily implied it. But, this would never stand.
> So, either they are synonymous, or the questions are not being answered.

Hi Paul ~

And Peter was vexed by being asked what he [Peter] understood to be
the same question three times. Perhaps by understanding Peter's
vexation as a product of his not understanding what Christ was doing
can get us off the semantic dilemma of AGAPAS vs FILEIS.

 I tend to view the confusion of meanings here as very deliberate, as
a forging together of AGAPAS and FILEIS into an unbreakable unit in
Peter so that Peter would have the power to 'carry' his mission until
his glorifying death.

Perhaps this is the point at which Peter changes from discipleship to
apostleship, with the welding of these two kinds of Love. I don't

The popular garden variety, local preacher, Greek Lex understanding of
the Divine vs human differentiation of these two Loves would then
start making a lot of sense. The A GAPH, meaning No Gap, action of
loving then becomes understood as proceeding from the only 'place'
where there are no gaps, which is the plenum of the dimensionless
ongoingness of the durative present, [the ARCH] in my understanding of
Greek time in John. And the [technical in this text] greatest human
manifestation of AGAPH, which is FILOS, becomes one and the same with
it, in the person of Peter.

I really do have a hard time buying the notion that these two words
are being used simply as literary devices to avoid repetition yet
carrying the same meaning. Yet one's understanding will proceed from
one's theological perspective, and as I read what I have just written,
I see theology, not grammar. The grammar and word usage in this
passage vexes us all, not just Peter!!

So my apologies for traipsing both sides of the fence here...


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