From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Feb 24 2000 - 12:07:54 EST

<x-rich>At 6:25 PM +0200 2/24/00, Kevin Smith wrote:



One of the glosses BAGD lists for hUPOTASSOMAI (middle form of
hUPOTASSW) is 'obey'. It also offers 'be subject to' and 'obey' as
glosses for hUPAKOUW. My question: What is the difference in nuance
between these two words (with particular reference to passages where
slaves are told to 'be subject to' their masters, wives to their
husbands, etc.)


What is the difference between telling a child to 'obey' (hUPAKOUW) his
parents (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20) and telling wifes to submit to
(hUPOTASSOMAI) their husbands (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, Tit 2:5). What
difference would there be between telling a slave to obey (hUPAKOUW)
and telling him to submit to (hUPOTASSOAI) his master?


I don't want to cite the L&N articles, but they suggest that hUPAKOUW
means submission based upon attentiveness to what one is being told,
while hUPOTASSOMAI is more a matter of doing what one is told because
one knows that one is subject to the other's unquestioned authority
(they don't put it that way, I do). And indeed there does seem to be a
differentiation between the two if you look at enough of the passages
using each verb--and yet, I think they overlap. I've also often
wondered to what extent the Latin verb OB-OEDIRE, which is really
OB-AUDIRE, and which I think involves more direct subordination to
direct authority than hUPAKOUW regularly does, may not influence later
Greek usage of hUPAKOUW. I don't know for a fact that it does, but I
also think there's more overlap in meaning between the two verbs that
L&N seems to indicate.


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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