RE: "Enemy" as gloss for EXQROS (and Sin, Nun, Aleph)

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Mon Jan 03 2000 - 15:55:58 EST

On 3 January 2000 at 12:01PM, Clayton Stirling Bartholomew raises the

<<How did you come to the conclusion that "the word "enemy" in English has
come to carry a significant implication of *reciprocal* hostility?">>

I have come to that conclusion through my own observation of its use. If
someone uses the noun phrase "... my enemy ..." to describe another party in
modern English, I take that to indicate that the person speaking holds at
least some hostility, or at the very least apprehension, toward the person
being so described. Likewise, if someone describes a third party to me as
"your enemy", that carries at least some implication that the speaker
expects me to have some enmity toward the person being talked about.

Stated another way, if A says to B "C is my enemy", that implies that A
harbors animosity toward C even more than it does that C holds animosity
toward A.

<<Since all the rest of your discussion rests on this I wonder if perhaps
the word "enemy" in English really has this element of *reciprocal*

For reasons of the example stated above, I do believe that forms part of its
semantics. Obviously that doesn't work in all contexts, but it is present.

What is not clear is whether EXQROS or for that matter SN' has this
reciprocal-hostility connotation *to the degree that it does in English*, if
indeed it has it at all.

<<On the other question about the best English gloss for EXQROS, I have
been seeing this word a lot in my study of Cosmic Combat motifs in the
OT. There may be some imprecision in the semantic overlap between
EXQROS and enemy>>

... as for many words in both languages ...

<< ... but I would be hard put to find a replacement that would not have
more problems. The word adversary does not solve anything, nor does the word
foe. Translation equivelents are rarely optimal ... >>

which is precisely why I'm perfectly willing to use a phrase, rather than a
single word, that might more closely reflect the semantic overlap as well as
the semantic distinctions between "enemy" and EXQROS.

<<but it seems to me that enemy and EXQROS are a reasonably good match.>>

I see that. But by dismissing any semantic distinction between EXQROS and
"enemy" in any context (or even in the particular one in Romans 12) we may
be throwing out more than bathwater!

<<I have a lingering question about the element of *reciprocal* hostility
in "enemy," for example "enemy of the people" where is the reciprocal
hostility here?>>

I don't see much, and in that case I agree. In that particular context I
think you're right; "enemy" would probably serve adequately to translate
EXQROS, for the degree of reciprocity doesn't have implications for the
greater context.

The distinction I'm trying to draw here may well be limited to first and
second person contexts in English -- "my enemy", "your enemy", as
appropriate translations for hO EXQROS MOU, hO EXQROS SOU and hO EXQROS

I'm not trying to say that "enemy" is a bad translation of EXQROS. What I
*am* trying to say is if I describe someone as "my enemy" in modern English,
I am saying and/or implying more about *me* and *my attitude* than I would
be saying if had described that same person as hO EXQROS MOU in Koine Greek.

While the two words do overlap, they do not match exactly, and I believe
this "coloration" difference may be significant. Few words map exactly
between any two languages. This pair, "enemy" and EXQROS, is no exception,
and I believe the degree of reciprocity implied in certain contexts to be
one of the differences in semantic shading between them.

        -Chuck Stevens

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