From: Williams, Wes (
Date: Fri Sep 11 1998 - 17:28:23 EDT

> At 10:06 AM -0500 9/11/98, Edgar Foster wrote:
> >Wes Williams wrote:
> >
> >>I'm not sure why we think it necessary to distinguish MAKARIOS
> >between man and God but for theological reasons, as Randy helpfully
> >posted from the
> >LOGOS software. We say God is loving. I see no linguistic reason why
> >we should not say God is also happy. It seems straightforward. Why is
> >there
> >more to this?<
> >
> >Unwisely (I think), Zodhiates rejects translating MAKARIOS as "happy"
> >for etymological reasons. Happy in his eyes, indicates a chance
> >occurrence. Clearly this is an example of the etymological fallacy.
> >
> >
> >"The Greek word rendered blessed is used in pagan literature to denote
> >the highest stage of happiness and well-being, such as the gods enjoy.
> >Here it stands for the Hebrew ASHRE^, "how happy!" as in Ps. 1:1;
> >32:1; 112:1" (7:280-281).
> >
> (2) One problem with "happy" for MAKARIOS is that it ultimately reverts
> etymologically to a notion of chance. Aristotle spends considerable effort
> in Book 1 of the Ethics in drawing a distinction between
> EUDAIMWN--"blessed" in the sense of being fulfilled with the goodness that
> deity can bestow--and EUTUCHS--"fortunate" in the sense of enjoying
> various
> sorts of fulfilment for no particular reason other than that one is
> "lucky." Vergil draws a similar sort of distinction toward the end of
> Georgics 2 when he describes as FELIX the man who has achieved Epicurean
> "ataraxy" (and here's what Edgar Krentz was pointing at in his post
> earlier
> this morning) and as FORTUNATUS, or sharing a lesser degree of
> "happiness,"
> the man who communes with the gods of nature and countryside. One always
> has the feeling, however, that Vergil had his stylus in his cheek when he
> ordered the two terms thus.
Thank you Carl, as always, for your insightful epexegetical comments.

A larger question this raises in my own mind is to what extent should we
weight the LXX influence vs. the earlier Greeks in arriving at word meanings
in the GNT? Some word meanings that sharply conflict between the OT and the
Greeks are easily decided in favor of the OT. However, some conflicting
words seem less clear as to the reference. Granting that the MAKARIOS
ultimately reverts to chance in the etymological study, how much weight
should we grant the LXX when MAKARIOS (at times) is used to translate the
Hebrew ASHER and MAKARIZW for ASHAR ("to pronounce happy"). Example: NRS
Genesis 30:13 And Leah said, "Happy (Heb: ASHeRIY Gk: MAKARIA) am I! For the
women will call me happy (Heb: ISHRUNIY Gk: MAKARISOUSIN)"; so she named him
Asher (Heb: ASHeR).

I imagine there is not always a clear answer on this in any given case, and
the issue is larger than MAKARIOS or YUXH. However, when Paul (or another
with an LXX background) uses a word in the GNT, it would seem to me that we
would weight the LXX influence of word use more than that of the earlier
Greek etymology if a conflict between the two paradigms exist. To what
extent does the knowledge base validate or dismiss my observation?

Wes Williams

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