Re: A question from a novice!

From: Eric S. Weiss (
Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 10:10:08 EST

Though I don't have the book with me, I believe Carson's point (and I only
quoted from part of his discussion of AGAPAW/FILEW) was that the
distinctions often made between these two words and their corresponding
nouns, AGAPH and FILOS(?), cannot really be supported when one examines
their usage and, as Joly apparently showed, the reason for AGAPH's
increased prominence. The author of the Johannine literature seems to like
to interchange synonyms or words with closely-overlapping semantic domains,
perhaps only for stylistic reasons. That doesn't negate the fact that his
usage of AGAPAW/AGAPH is, as I recall, much more frequent than his usage of
FILOS/FILEW, but, e.g., in John 21:15-17, we have two words for "love," two
words for "sheep," two words for "feed/pasture," and two words for "know."
Earlier in the chapter we have two words for "fish."

On 03/20/00, ""Eric S. Weiss" <>" wrote:
> D. A. Carson, EXEGETICAL FALLACIES, pp. 52-53 (1984 edition)

" ... First, they [i.e., those who argue for a distinction in meaning
between agapao and fileo in John 21:15-17] argue that translators of the
Septuagint and New Testament writers have invested agapao (to love) and
agape (love) with special meaning to provide an adequate expression by
which to talk about the love of God; and only this accounts for the word's
rapid rise to prominence in our literature [i.e., the New Testament]. But
this argument has been overturned by the diachronic study of Robert Joly,

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