Re: Was: "a question from a novice"

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Tue Mar 21 2000 - 19:30:20 EST

Mike Sangrey replied;

>And Carlton concludes the paragraph with
>> In fact no matter how hard I strain at it I cannot find any
>> differences between these words any where in the NT.
>Whenever an expert (at least relatively speaking) makes a statement
>like the above I'm forced into a very pensive, pondering posture.
>In my pursuit of understanding Greek, I do not want to reject those
>more knowledgeable than I, but nor do I wish to submit to the tyranny
>of the expert. That said to sincerely reflect my respect for many
>on this list, I have a question.
>If there are no differences between these two words as used in the NT,
>then why use two?

I have read Carl Conrad's response to this post and appreciate his very
incisive responsives.

I would respond in a different way. Whenever I talk to myself, I never
think of myself as an expert. In fact I constantly tell myself how many
times I have been proven wrong. So I'd advise any student of the NT (and
that includes me) not to hesitate to make the effort to refute what I say.
Many have succeeded. One of those places Edward Hobbs has put his finger
on. I hope to revise the Syntax book of Brooks and Winbery because we did
not question Dana & Mantey (Dana did not make the mistake) or Frank Stagg
(SBL 61 I think) about the causal EIS. That will be changed in the revision.

Now concerning AGAPAW and FILEW in John 21. I concluded that nothing said
so far convinces me of an essential difference. When the author said that
he asked him the third time, I think he reveals that he sees no difference
either. If there was an essential difference, I think he would have written
that Jesus asked about FILEW for the first time, not the third time. That
seems to me to be evidence. All I have seen to the contrary are things that
make for good preaching, but not much else. A bit of evidence that would
sway me is if someone could translate the conversation between Jesus and
Peter in Aramaic with two verbs that tracked what some claim for these two
Greek verbs. I do believe that Jesus spoke to his disciples (even after the
resurrection) in Aramaic. Could he have made that same distinction. Until
that is done I suspect that if there is a difference of emphasis intended,
it is from the writer and not the speaker.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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