Re: Didache 1:3 POIA GAR CARIS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Aug 25 1999 - 07:22:00 EDT

<x-rich>At 2:49 AM -0400 8/25/99, Jonathan Robie wrote:

>Didache 1:3 POIA GAR CARIS is translated by Kirsopp Lake as "what
credit is

>that to you". My stubborn brain can't figure out how to construe POIA

>CARIS to obtain that meaning. Zerwick finds this likely, too. Are

>other places where CARIS means "credit"?


>However, Luke 6:32-34 has POIA hUMIN CARIS, three times, in a parallel

>passage, and NASB translates this as "what credit is that to you".

>5:46 has TINA MISQON ECETE, which is a very similar meaning.


>By the way, I can't remember who recommended the Didache as light

>but it really is quite easy to read, especially as many of the phrases

>phrases that are familiar from the New Testament.

CARIS, like Latin GRATIA, is hard to get a handle on (I think I dealt
with this some time ago, a year or longer) because it is essentially a
reciprocal notion. Perhaps the nearest thing to it in English in its
most basic sense is "gratification"; it is an expression of good will
that earns a responsive expression of good will. The older Attic phrase
for "express thanks" is CARIN GNWNAI--'to acknowledge a favor.' In that
sense you might take POIA CARIS hUMIN? as equivalent to "what
acknowledgement have you?"--i.e. what have you done to earn God's favor
and what favor do you think you have with God as a consequence of what
you've done?

Here's Louw & Nida on CARIS:


<color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>5.89 CARIS, ITOS f: a favorable
attitude toward someone or something - 'favor, good will.' ECONTES
CARIN PROS hOLON TON LAON 'having the good will of all the people' or
'all the people were pleased with them' Ac 2:47; hEURES GAR CARIN PARA
TWi QEWi 'for you have found favor with God' or 'for God is pleased
with you' Lk 1:30.

33.350 CARIS, ITOS f: : an expression of thankfulness - 'thanks.' TWi
DE QEWi CARIS TWi DIDONTI hHMIN TO NIKOS 'thanks be to God who gives
us the victory' 1 Cor 15:57.64


I'd note particularly that usage in Acts 2:47 where ECONTES CARIN PROS
hOLON TON LAON is probably a bit more ambiguous than the version
offered; I'd make it "being in favor with all the people"--it implies
mutuality of good will, readiness on the part of both sides to be kind
to each other and to acknowledge the good will of the other.

So "credit" is not at all unreasonable: it is "acknowledgement of a
service rendered." To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, I keep doing nice
things for you, "but I don't ever get any credit."

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



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