[b-greek] Re: I need a good English translate for greek word "MAKARIOS".

From: Harold R. Holmyard III (hholmyard@ont.com)
Date: Sat Sep 02 2000 - 13:37:21 EDT

Dear Joseph,

You wrote:

> This word [MAKARIOS] requires as careful an examination as we give to
semantics and doctrine, and the traditional interpretation should not be
accepted merely because it is convenient. Happy, as Jim West suggested is
unsuitable for the reason that happiness is a response to some stimuli,
whether internal or external, and is thereby dependent on the situation
one finds himself in, or the attitude one has chosen to carry. Joy, on
the other hand, is a lifestyle which interprets all occurences as
positive, and which in fact determines much of what takes place in the
life of the joyous person. I cast my voter for MAKARIOS being translated
"joyous", and instead of supplying the present indicative "they are" to
its occurences in Matthew chapter 5, I append "should be".

Joseph, I can appreciate your thinking, for I used to think this way
myself. But we should not derive our translation of a Greek word according
to what seems fitting theologically. The best way to translate words is on
the basis of the actual meaning that the word had for the people who spoke
it. Lexicons have determined that MAKARIOS meant "happy" or "blessed." This
is not just the conclusion of a lexicon based on Christian literature like
BAGD, but also a lexicon based more widely in Greek literature, LSJ. So
rather than letting theology dictate word meaning, we ought to let word
meaning dictate theology. I realize that there are some gray areas, of
                                Harold Holmyard

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