From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 10:48:02 EDT

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<div>Although this was sent to me privately, I think it may have been
meant for the list and I have a response that I'd like further
feedback from others--regarding the meaning of hALAS.</div>
<div>At 1:52 PM +0000 5/24/00, Emory Pitts (i.e. Mark Wilson)
&gt;I apologize for not including the whole text. That certainly
makes sense to<br>
<div>&gt;If I may follow-up with two brief questions:<br>
<div>&gt;1. Your translation 'sense of humor' is most interesting.
The traditional</div>
<div>&gt;translation of course is 'seasoned with salt.' Could you
elaborate on your</div>
<div>&gt;choice of words? (&quot;When you speak to each other, do so
with good will and</div>
<div>&gt;with a sense of humor.&quot;)<br>
<div>This is a good question; to tell the truth, I understood that
sense from the standard extended sense of SAL/SALES in Latin. Upon
checking the Greek dictionaries I have readily available in
AcCordance, I'm frankly somewhat surprised to find absolutely nothing
else offered for the Greek word hALAS but &quot;salt.&quot; Yet it is
clear that in the four NT passages in which the word is found, the
word must be metaphorical. Three of the passages are the Jesus
saying, hUMEIS ESTE TO hALAS THS GHS KTL (Mk 9:50; Mt 5:13; Lk
14:34). The fourth is our passage. Now in Mt and Lk the follow-up
rhetorical question of Jesus is phrased, EAN DE TO hALAS MWRANQHi, EN
TINI hALISQHSETAI. I think the verb MWRANQHi (from MWRAINW) is
significant here: it means &quot;make foolish&quot; or
&quot;stultify&quot;; I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the
sense &quot;go flat&quot; (of taste) is here an indication that hALAS
is understood by Mt and Lk to mean something like &quot;acuity&quot;
in a broader sense than pungency of taste, and in fact rather to some
sort of 'distinction'--or 'personableness' or 'personality' or the
<div>Louw &amp; Nida offer the following, and while it may be true
for most translators in most languages that &quot;<font
color="#007700">there is no difficulty involved in finding an
adequate expression for it</font>,&quot; yet I find the sense less
than obvious, even with 'becomes tasteless&quot; for MWRANQHi:</div>
<div><font color="#007700"><b>&quot;5.25 hAS, hALOS</b><i> m</i>;<b>
hALAS, ATOS</b><i> n</i> (there is no distinction of meaning between
these two terms; hALAS is merely a later spelling) -
'salt.'&nbsp; 'you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt
becomes tasteless, how will it be made salty again?' Mt
</x-tab>&quot;Since salt is a universal condiment, there is no
difficulty involved in finding an adequate expression for it, but
there is a difficulty in Mt 5:13, since pure salt cannot lose its
taste. In the ancient world, however, what was often sold as salt was
highly adulterated and the sodium chloride could leach out in humid
weather, in which case the residue (normally a form of lime) would be
useless. It may, therefore, be important in some languages to provide
a marginal note explaining the basis for the biblical statement
concerning salt losing its flavor; otherwise, the parable may appear
to be either meaningless or misleading.&quot;</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700"><br></font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">LSJ at the Perseus web site offers the
following (I cite only the section I consider relevant--and note the
citation of Col 4:6 here!):</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700"><b>&quot;IV.</b> hales, hoi, metaph., like
Lat.<i> sales, wit,</i> possible but unlikely in<u> Plat. Sym.
177b</u>, Ep.Col.4.6; certain in Plu.2.854c; hales called
&quot;charites&quot; IBID=au=Plu. 685a. (Cf.sq.)&quot;</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700"><br></font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">And finally, also from the Perseus web
site, the definition from the Lewis&nbsp; &amp; Short unabridged
Latin Dictionary s.v. SAL:</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700"><br></font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">&quot;II. Trop.</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">A. Intellectual acuteness, good sense,
shrewdness, cunning, wit, facetiousness, sarcasm, a witticism, witty
saying (class. in sing. and plur.; &quot;syn.: lepos, facetiae,
festivitas): (sal) adeo necessarium elementum est, ut transierit
intellectus ad voluptates animi quoque. Nam ita sales appellantur,
omnisque vitae lepos et summa hilaritas laborumque requies non alio
magis vocabulo constat&quot;, Plin. 31, 7, 41, § 88.</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">&quot;a. Sing.: &quot;qui habet salem,
quod in te est&quot;, Ter. Eun. 3, 1, 10; cf.: &quot;nulla venustas,
Nulla in tam magno est corpore mica salis&quot;, Cat. 86.4:
&quot;Caesar inusitatum nostris oratoribus leporem quendam et salem
est consecutus&quot;, Cic. de Or. 2, 23, 98; cf. id. N. D. 2, 29, 74:
&quot;sale vero et facetiis Caesar vicit omnis&quot;, id. Off. 1, 37,
133: &quot;(litterae) tum humanitatis sparsae sale&quot;, id. Att. 1,
13, 1: &quot;qui (versus) dum denique habent salem ac leporem&quot;,
Cat. 16.7: &quot;P. Scipio omnes sale facetiisque superabat&quot;,
Cic. Brut. 34, 128; cf.: &quot;argutiae facetissimi salis&quot;,
Plin. 35, 10, 37, § 117: &quot;salis satis est, sannionum parum,
Cic Fam. 9, 16, 10: in quo mihi videtur specimen fuisse humanitatis,
salis, suavitatis, leporis&quot;, id. Tusc. 5, 19, 55:
&quot;(Lucilius) sale multo Urbem defricuit&quot;, Hor. S. 1, 10, 3;
cf. &quot;of the same: acerbitas et abundantia salis&quot;, Quint.
10, 1, 94: hic delectatur iambis, Ille Bioneļs sermonibus et sale
nigro, i. e. biting wit, sarcasm, Hor. Ep. 2, 2, 60; Cat. 13.5:
&quot;qui plurimum in scribendo et salis haberet et fellis nec
candoris minus&quot;, Plin. Ep. 3, 21, 1. --</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">&quot;(b). Neutr. (ante-class.):
&quot;quicquid loquitur, sal merum est&quot;, Afran. ap. Prisc. p.
659 P.; so, (puella) Charitōn mia, tota merum sal, Lucr. 4,
<div><font color="#007700">&quot;b. Plur.: &quot;Romani veteres atque
urbani sales&quot;, Cic. Fam. 9, 15, 2: &quot;vestri proavi Plautinos
Laudavere sales&quot;, Hor. A. P. 271; Sen. Vit. Beat. 27, 2:
&quot;periculosi sales&quot;, id. Tranq. 1, 4: &quot;libaboque tuos,
scite Menandre, sales&quot;, Prop. 3 (4), 21, 28: &quot;huic generi
orationis aspergentur etiam sales, qui in dicendo minimum quantum
valent: quorum duo genera sunt, unum facetiarum, alterum
dicacitatis&quot;, Cic. Or. 26, 87; cf. Quint. 6, 3, 15; 10, 1, 117:
&quot;(Ciceronem) in salibus aliquando frigidum&quot;, id. 12, 10,
12: &quot;a salibus suffusis felle refugi&quot;, Ov. Tr. 2, 565:
&quot;protervi sales&quot;, Stat. S. 1, 6, 6: &quot;salibus vehemens
intra pomoeria natis&quot;, Juv. 9, 11.--&amp;ast;</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700">&quot;B. (Borrowed from the use of salt as
a relish.) Good taste, elegance: &quot;tectum antiquitus constitutum
plus salis quam sumptūs habebat&quot;, Nep. Att. 13, 2.--<br>
&quot;C. Sharpness, pungency, stimulus, incentive: &quot;quae (sc.
calor, sanguis) aviditatem naturali sale augent&quot;, Plin. 10, 72,
93, § 198.&quot;</font></div>
<div><font face="Times" size="+2" color="#000000"><br>
</font><font color="#007700">I'd not be surprised if this usage of
hALAS in Koine Greek derives from the Latin usage, but obviously I
can't prove it.</font></div>
<div><font color="#007700"><br></font></div>
<div>Finally, hALAS cannot possibly mean literally &quot;salt&quot;
in the passage in Colossians--it must be metaphorical. But what is
speech &quot;seasoned with salt&quot;? Not, I think,
&quot;saucy&quot; or &quot;sassy&quot;, and not &quot;off-color&quot;
or &quot;piquant&quot; in any lewdly suggestive sense, but rather
&quot;good nature&quot; or &quot;good humor&quot; as LSJ seem to say
and as more common Latin usage of SAL/SALES indicates.</div>
<div>&gt;2. On a purely syntactical level, would you consider it
extremely awkward<br>
&gt;for EIDENAI to modify SOFIAi? Either translation I find
acceptable, but I am<br>
&gt;trying to train myself to initially list all possible options
&gt;forcing it). I am going through a sentence diagram workbook on
Colossians by</div>
<div>&gt;Grassmick. He does not present alternatives.</div>
<div>Frankly I do consider it extremely awkward and I don't see
alternatives either: it is simply too far removed from SOFIA, in my
opinion, and moreover, there's no semantic indicator that would point
back to that word in the preceding precept (which is about speech to
outsiders, while verse 6 seems to me to be talking about speech even
to members of the congregation). If it were not possible to find
EIDENAI meaningful as expressing purpose/result or as a substitute
for an imperative, than I might be willing to consider a link back to
SOFIA, but to me it just seems very unlikely.</div>

<div>-- <br>
Carl W. Conrad<br>
Department of Classics, Washington University<br>
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243<br> OR<br>

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