Re: Jn 21:15-17 in English

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Tue Apr 21 1998 - 14:52:33 EDT

On Tue, 21 Apr 1998 07:36:15 -0700 writes:
>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
>> 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
>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!!

I am not sure how one's theological perspective here has any bearing on
whether AGAPAS and FILEIS are to be taken synonymously. I agree that
often our theology does affect our exegesis - we can't escape comparing
Scripture with Scripture, or at least our interpretation of other
Scripture - but, what theological bias affects the outcome here?


Paul Dixon

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