From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 08 1999 - 07:34:00 EDT

At 6:51 AM -0700 9/7/99, Dennis Hukel wrote:
>An associate suggested I run this past the b-greek group for constructive
>criticism. I have done a word study for the adjective AIDIOS (with a
>dieresis over the iota), concentrating my study in the LXX, Philo of
>Alexandria, Josephus, Apostolic Fathers, and the NT (only occurring in
>Rom. 1:20 and Jude 6). Almost every lexicon gives the equivalents
>"everlasting" or "eternal", but I propose its meaning more closely
>approached the idea of "ever-perceptible." This fits well in every
>context as evidenced in the attachment. And it explains the presence of
>the dieresis and the delta. However, there is a serious question
>concerning word-formation in that the roots AIW + WID would have
>contracted to AID at a time (Hesiod, about 700 BC) when either waw should
>have prevented contraction.
>E.W. Bullinger proposed this identification of the rood ID in Appendix 151
>of THE COMPANION BIBLE, but changed the established root AIW to A
>privative (suggesting "unseen" or "imperceptible"). I was hoping someone
>with experience in Greek lexicography could review the attachment and
>comment on my proposal.
>Attachment converted: Tacitus:AIDIOS.DOC (WDBN/MSWD) (0002D801)

I've carefully reviewed these texts and I must say that I really think the
meaning "ever-perceptible" makes dubious sense in a number of the contexts
in which you want to apply it; for instance you take it a couple times with
an implicit CRONOU and say EX AIDIOU CRONOU must mean "ever-perceptible
time"--I really don't know what "ever-perceptible time" means, but I think
I understand well enough what "time everlasting" may be. A passage from
Philo's Quod deus immutabilis sit includes ALL' APIDWN EIS THN AIDION
AGAQOTHTA, where APIDWN is going to mean "sharply focusing upon" and one
might find the pun of the same root ID discernible in both APIDWN and
AIDION, except that Philo's contextual tradition is Platonic, and the
notion that goodness, even God's goodness, is directly visible or
perceptible as opposed to discernible to the mental faculty, strikes me as
un-Platonic and therefore dubiously Philonic (Plato distinguishes his two
realms as TO hORATON or AISQHTON and TO NOHTON, and I really doubt that
AIDION as "ever-perceptible" here could be equated with NOHTON).

In terms of the compounding of AIW with WID, I'm not sure that's
insurmountable in itself, but I think that compounds of the sense in AEI
(epic AIEI = AIWEI) do form more naturally with the verbal element added to
AEI, as AEI-MNHSTOS. But you want a passive sense to WID that normally in
compounding accrues to forms in -STOS/H/ON or -TOS/H/ON. One common
compound of that sort is AISTOS (with diaeresis on Iota) meaning, in fact,
"invisible" and formed from alpha privative and WID. It seems to me that
Bullinger's proposal to understand the compound as of alpha privative and
WID is much more convincing in view of that important adjective AISTOS,
which is a regular epithet of the dead who in fact "dwell" in the realm of
Hades, i.e. A-WIDHS (the traditional etymology of Hade's name does derive
from alpha privative and WID).

In sum, I think that the sense "everlasting" as linked to *AIW-IDIOS/H/ON
remains more probable in the context of many of the passages in your
attachment, and that, IF one wants to see a form of WID in the compound,
Bullinger's proposal of A-WID-IOS/ON has a stronger likelihood. And it
really does seem to me that the sense of "ever-perceptible" is quite
strained in several of the contexts, where you seem to want it to mean
"ever-inferrable from what one sees" I don't see a persuasive case here,
I'm sorry to say.

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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