From: Hultberg, Alan (
Date: Fri Sep 11 1998 - 19:46:35 EDT


>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

You are right on target, Wes.

1) It is a standard dictum in NT lexicology that classical usage of a word is
virtually irrelevant unless that usage manifestly influences the word's use in
the first century. (And so with any language. If you are trying to find out
what a word meant in a given utterance, among other things, you analyse usage
contemporary with the utterance; you do synchronic, or "contemporary,"
analysis, not diachronic, "historical" or "evolutionary," analysis. Most
users of a word aren't in the least aware of its history and don't intend to
have that history drawn upon in order to be understood.)

2) It is beyond doubt that the writers of the NT are often influenced by LXX
idiom. These are people who belong to (and are for the most part writing to)
a group for whom the LXX is THE authoritative text, and recourse to the LXX
often thus proves more enlightening to the NT scholar than does recourse to
extra-biblical texts, especially in the case of theologically-charged (from
the NT perspective) words.

3) This is not to say that extra-biblical texts are irrelevant to the NT
scholar; the NT authors are writing *koine* after all (indeed, the LXX itself
is in *koine* and generally agrees with popular usage). But it is to say that
the overwhelming Septuagintal influence in the NT is already demonstrable,
thus inherently plausible in new cases, whereas the plausibility of a NT
author using a word in an extra-biblical sense that is at variance with the
LXX needs to be established on a case by case basis.


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