Re: LOGOS or REMA (was new BAGD, etc.)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Nov 09 1999 - 11:59:16 EST

<x-rich>At 9:14 AM -0600 11/9/99, Steve Long wrote:


>> Also...I have been given the task of finding the difference between

>>and LOGOS. With my finite mind and resources, the nearest I can
figure is

>>LOGOS has more to do with HOW it is stated, and REMA with WHAT is

>>Am I completely off here?

>> Thank you, and God bless;


>> Jay


>I have thought of the difference like this, LOGOS is the idea behind

>word including the spoken word and REMA is the word alone. For
instance if

>I say 'maroon' it brings up a color to the mind, the LOGOS is the
color in

>the mind as well as the word which brings it to mind. But I could also

>burgandy, mauve, dark red, carmine, etc. Each of those are REMA which

>to mind the same LOGOS. That's my own observation, I don't have any

>backup for it.

I think there's something valid to this observation. So far as I can
tell (and I certainly haven't done any definitive examination), the
situation is rather complicated by factors associated with (1) nuances
associated with the Greek verbal roots LEG/LOG and hRH and (2) LXX
usage of hRHMA to translate Hebrew DABAR which has its own extensive
semantic range from "thing spoken" all the way to "event," "deed."

It should be noted first of all that there's considerable overlap in
usage in the GNT; here's what Louw & Nida have to say:

13.115 LOGOS, OU m; hRHMA, TOS n: a happening to which one may refer -
'matter, thing, event.'

33.9 hRHMA, TOS n: a minimal unit of discourse, often a single word -
'word, saying. 'OUK APEKRIQH AUTWi PROS OUDE HEN hRHMA' 'he refused to
answer him a single word' Mt 27:14. In place of a rendering such as
'refused to answer a single word,' it may be more idiomatic to say
'said nothing' or 'refused to speak.'

33.98 hRHMA, TOS n; LOGOS, OU m (derivative of LEGW 'to say,' 33.69):
that which has been stated or said, with primary focus upon the content
of the communication - 'word, saying, message, statement, question.'

(a) Hebraic usage: Note LSJ: Here 33.98 shows a synonymous usage of the
two words in line with ways in which the two also overlap in classical
Greek, while the usage indicated in 33.9 is closer to the classical
Greek sense of "utterance" for hRHMA; but 13.115 shows a usage
dependent on Hebrew DABAR; compare LSJ s.v. hRHMA:

<color><param>0000,8000,11B0</param>"3. subject of speech, matter,
Hebraism in LXX and NT, =LXX De.2.7, Ev.Luc.1.37,Ev.Luc. 1.65, Ev.Luc.
2.15; cf. rhtos IV. Ev.Luc. 2."

</color>(b) Classical Greek background: My impression from classical
Greek usage is that the root LEG/LOG is more commonly associated with
the intelligible content of what is either spoken or written--by which
I mean the intelligible content as a whole statement or assertion or
concept, whereas the root hRH has more to do with oral expression or
'utterance.' It is true that the future, perfect, and so-called aorist
passive of LEGW are formed from hRH (respectively EREW, EIHRKA,
EIRHMAI, ERREQHN), yet hRHTWR is a public speaker and grammatically
hRHMA is "verb" as opposed to ONOMA, "noun." A hRHMA is what is said or
predicated (Aristotle's KATHGOREITAI) about an ONOMA (in the sense of
"subject"), and I think we might say that the LOGOS, in Aristotelian
terms, must consist minimally of an ONOMA and a hRHMA.

The upshot: the words LOGOS and hRHMA are often enough synonymous, and
both can be used to represent the sense of Hebrew DABAR as "thing,
event"; but LOGOS may represent the more formal notion of a statement,
assertion, proposition or concept (as in the Johannine prologue) while
hRHMA may mean more simply "thing said," or "utterance," or "saying."
There's a good deal of overlap, but also some distinctive senses.


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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