Re: The suffix -IA (a bit long)

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Mon May 18 1998 - 12:10:33 EDT

>From: MikeBzley <>
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>In a message dated 16/05/98 09:12:43 GMT, Paul wrote concerning
>> I can make a case in the English for filthiness, for example, to be
>> that which is filthy. I can also make a case for it to be the
>> of making something filthy
>Dear Paul,
>It seems to me that it is neither of these. The flow of meaning for
me is
> from hRUPOS the noun 'dirt', hapax legomena in 1 Peter 3:21, to
>adjective 'dirty', hapax legomena in James 2:2, to hRUPARIA (noun, 'the
>condition of dirtiness', hapax legomena in James 1:21).
>Robertson says, " Late word (Plutarch) from [ruparos], dirty (Jas
2:2), here
>only in N.T. Surely a dirty garment" (presumably because of the normal
>of APOTIQHMI - take off, or shed).
>I would translate it as my state of imputed dirtiness after my outer
>has come into contact with dirt and been made dirty by it. I remove
>clothes not because they might make something else dirty, but because
>dirtiness offends me.
>Mike Beazley,
>Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK

Dear Mike,

I was afraid when I only specifically called out one of the three cases
of -IA in James 1:21 (hRUPARIA, PERISSEIA, and KAKIA) that the
responders might miss the intent of the question. Unfortunately, I was
afraid that a thorough discussion of the situation would be too lengthy
for an initial posting. Also, because I was in the middle of a
discussion at the time, I failed to come up with the words to bring the
focus on the issue in my mind.

-IA is described in Robertson (p. 156) as a suffix expressing quality.
On p. 152, he states, "Abstract nouns in -EIA (W. H. -IA) are chiefly
 from verbs in -EUW...." And then on p. 147, he says, "The simple
denominatives, ending in -AW, -EW, -EUW, -AZW, -IZW, are not always
distinguished from the intensive verbals or the causative
denominatives...." And, on p. 148, he gives several examples of the
formations of the -EUW verb from both masculine and feminine nominal

My original question stated this development too briefly this
development, and Carl correctly stated the number of cases that -IA
results from other developmental situations. (By the way, thanks,
Carl. There are a couple of those situations that I think the
development occurred slightly different than you described, but you put
together a good piece of work. I hadn't done much thinking of the case
of a consonantal y to go along with the digamma.) But I am less
concerned with the development as I am with the significance, if any of
the -IA suffix.

The three words here all appear to me to be abstract nouns. So, if I
am interpreting this right, Robertson's characteristic of the suffix
results in the words expressing quality. But, just when I think I
understand this, then my logic in this situation in James falls flat.
If, picking up on the hRUPARIA again, this word means the quality of
dirtiness, it is different than your illustration in your response. If
my clothes get dirty, *they* have the quality of being dirty. They are
not, in themselves, the quality of being dirty. Yet James instructs
here to put away, or taking off [see below], the *quality of dirty*. He
also talks about putting away, or taking off, the *quality of
superabundance* of the *quality of evil [or whatever the lack is
here]*. So, to explain my question through rephrasing, and again
selecting only the first word for sake of example, are we putting off
something that has become dirty and so encapsulates the quality of
dirtiness (which is the side you came down on, despite your claim to a
third option), or are we putting off something which is dirtiness
itself, causing us to be dirty as long as we are in contact with it?
What is meant when -IA is characterized as expressing quality?

Mike, I hope that I come across as desiring further discussion, not as
being argumentative. You clearly expressed your interpretation, and I
understand if you feel that you have expressed your opinion already.
But I hope that you or someone else on the list might be able to help
me understand how broad or how narrow is the significance of this very
common suffix.

You brought out one other point that I had already had on my list to
check the Perseus site on. The verb in this verse (James 1:21),
APOTIQHMI, seems to be used consistently in the New Testament with the
literal or figurative image of undressing. The reason I want to check
it out is because none of the major English translations seem to pick
up on this idea by using the phrase, "take off," which is the
collocative idiom for this concept. If one of you on the list would
like to save me a two-week wait for the information (because that's how
long it will be before I can access the internet without calling long
distance), I'm simply trying to confirm if this word is used in
non-Biblical texts and if the usage is much broader than the removal of

Thanks for your help,


Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
Cabagan, Philippines

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