Re: Didache 1:3 POIA GAR CARIS

From: A K M Adam (
Date: Wed Aug 25 1999 - 07:21:48 EDT


Curiously enough, CARIS is one of the words that Frederick Danker chose to
illustrate one of the dimensions of the new edition of the Lexicon. He
pointed out that the Christian habit of translating CARIS as "grace" clouds
the plain use of the word in Greek, which covers the terrain of "favor,
influence, gift." Part of the problem lies in the nuance of whether a CARIS
is being offered or received.

The usage to which you point looks clear enough to me in Greek, but I agree
that it's hard to represent it simply in English. In the Didache (as in the
gospels), the question is "if you love those who love you, POIA GAR CARIS?";
we can see it as "what kind of a favor (are you doing)" or "what kind of
gift (is that)?," but those miss the transactional flavor of CARIS that
"what credit" suggests.

I like the Didache a lot (of course, as a Matthew/James guy, I *would*);
it's been getting a lot more scholarly attention lately, which should be all
to the good.


Princeton Theological Seminary

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