Re: thanatos

From: dellbert (
Date: Mon Mar 08 1999 - 10:15:48 EST

> From: Carl W. Conrad <>
> To: Biblical Greek <>
> Cc: Biblical Greek <>
> Subject: Re: thanatos
> Date: Monday, March 08, 1999 9:43 AM
> At 8:27 AM -0600 3/8/99, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
> >dellbert wrote:
> >
> >> Has the word 'thanatos' ever carried with it the idea of 'separation'.
> >> 'separation' part of the etymology of the word?
> >>
> >
> >Why do you ask? Is this a question with reference to the meaning of a
> >particular
> >Biblical text in which QANATOS appears? Even if "separation" was "part
> >(?) the
> >word's etymology", it probably not have any bearing on the way the word
> >was used
> >there, since etymology is often a poor tool to determine the meaning
> >which a
> >word was employed subsequently.
> Let me just add another comment to Jeffrey's question about the question:
> it appears to be a question about an unnamed text wherein some idea of
> separation may be implicit or explicit because of some other stated or
> implicit contextual assumptions. For instance, in Plato's Phaedo, there
> developed a dualistic conception of a YUCH that is separable from the
> that enters into it at birth, parts from it at death, and is later
> reincarnated into another SWMA. QANATOS is defined therefore in the
> as separation of the YUCH from the SWMA, but this does not mean that
> QANATOS by itself regularly bears such a sense. I think the regular forms
> of the root QEN/QON/QNH/QAN (also shows up in the words for
> as FON/FONE) refer quite simply to the process of death and dying in
> human experience without any attached overtones that don't derive from
> another source).
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics/Washington University
> One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
> Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
> OR
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Sorry, I should have been more specific.

I was wondering about 'thanatos' in relation to Biblical usage. Did the
Septuagint translators concieve of 'thanatos' as a word that denoted
separation of 'body' and 'soul' at death as was used by Plato?

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology states that
'chorizo' was used by Plato in reference to this 'separation'. However, it
doesn't appear that the LXX translators used 'chorizo' in reference to
death at all.

I have also read in nearly every theological and secular dictionary that
the OT Hebrews did not concieve of a 'body and soul' separation at death.
Maybe that is why they never used 'chorizo' in reference to death as Plato
did. But, if 'thanatos' carried the 'inherent' idea of 'separation', then
it would appear that the OT Hebrews could have concieved of a 'body and
soul' separation, although that would fly in the face of most religious and
secular encyclopedias. I notice Vine's Expository Dictionary defines
'thanatos' as this separation. Is 'separation' a 'connotation' or is it a

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