Re: CAIRETE -- Goodbye?

From: Kevin D. Williford (
Date: Sat Jun 03 2000 - 10:58:45 EDT

On 06/02/00, " (Ben Crick)" wrote:
> On Fri 2 Jun 2000 , wrote:
> > He
> > on the other hand translates 3.1 as "Now, my brothers, good-bye, and
> > the Lord be with you..." and 4.4 as "Goodbye, and the Lord be with you
> > always. Again I say, goodbye."
> Dear Kevin,
> The English word "Goodbye" is short for "God be with you". So it does
> not translate CAIRETE; it translates hO KURIOS MEQ' hUMWN or suchlike.
> "The Lord be with you" is normally treated as a Salutation, not a Valediction;
> but can be either. 'Goodbye', is of course always a Valediction.
> Pax vobiscum (et cum spiritu tuo)
> Ben

Dear Ben,

Thank you for replying for my question. However, reading your response, it
seemed that you never went beyond the etymology of the English word
"goodbye." So, please allow me to restate my question another way.

I understand that "goodbye" [in English] is derived from the longer phrase,
"God be with you." Likewise the term "farewell" [in English] is derived
from the phrase "Fare thee well." Both are idionmatic expressions used a
valedictions in English. I am confident that other languages use similar
phrases as expressions of valediction.

Is it not possible then, that the phrase CAIRETE EN KURIWi found in both
Phil. 3.1 and 4.4 is such an idomatic expression of valediction which would
be best expressed in English by a similar idiom? This is exactly the way
that Goodspeed has taken the verses, translating the phrase as "goodbye,
and the Lord be with you." I have since discovered that the New English
Bible has attempted a similar understanding with, what I feel, are better
results. Their translation is "Farewell, I wish you joy in the Lord."
This translation seems to express the valediction idea while at the same
time retaining the concept of "joy in the Lord."

The BAGD lexicon states that CAIRW is used for a greeting and possibly to
express the "sense of farewell, goodbye" However it only offers the two
texts in Philippians as examples, and as we have already acknowledged, the
majority of translators do not take the phrase this way. This, perhaps
rightly so, forces me to be somewhat cautious. The Liddell Scott and Jones
lexicon at the Persus site was more favourable, indicating that CAIRW is
used "at leave-taking" for "fair-thee-well" and that it is "freq. put in
the mouth of the dying."

This seems to fit the context of Philippians quite well. Paul is writing
while awaiting trial where his life may be required as the sentence. Is
there not the sense in the text that he expects to soon "take leave" from
this world and therefore the letters are "from the mouth of the dying?"

What do you think Ben? I suppose I have for the time convinced myself of
the possibility that the phrase in Phil. can be used as such a valediction.
 What remains is to discover if the text itself contains any clues which
would allow or preclude such an interpretation. It would also be useful if
anyone could cite some examples in koine outside the N.T. where CAIRW is
thus used.

Still studying with an open mind,

Kevin D. Williford,
M.Div. Student
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Kansas City, MO

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