[b-greek] Re: Ethnos

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Jun 25 2001 - 12:06:10 EDT

At 9:30 AM -0400 6/25/01, Christopher Jones wrote:
>In some evangelical circles ethnos has taken on the meaning 'people group'
>with a very specific nuance. In particular, they understand people group
>to be any grouping of people who share a common culture that makes them
>unique. Factors that can create a 'people group' are: socio-economic,
>language, etc. My question is, Does such a specific meaning really apply?
>Isn't ethnos a more general term and the grouping of people into
>categories a more modern idea (which is useful in planning but not
>linguistically accurate)?

I assume that we're only talking about usage of the word EQNOS in the
GNT--at least that's all we have reason to discuss in this forum. Certainly
the word is used in more than one sense in the GNT; I think Louw & Nida
offer a pretty neat distinction:

11.37 ta eqnh (occurring only in the plural): (an extended meaning of
EQNOS 'nation,' 11.55) those who do not belong to the Jewish or Christian
faith - 'heathen, pagans.' MHKETI hUMAS PERIPATEIN KAQWS KAI TA EQNH 'do
not any longer live like the heathen' Eph 4:17.
        Though in a number of instances TA EQNH may be rendered as 'those
who do not believe in God,' it is often more appropriate to render TA EQNH
in terms of belief in other gods or in false gods. For example, Eph 4:17
may be rendered as 'do not any longer live like those who believe in idols'
or ' in gods who are not really God.'

11.55 EQNOS, -OUS, n.; LAOS, -OU, m.: the largest unit into which the
people of the world are divided on the basis of their constituting a
socio-political community - 'nation, people.'
EQNOS KAQELWN EQNH hEPTA EN GHi CANAA 'he destroyed seven nations in the
land of Canaan' Ac 13:19.
in the presence of all peoples' Lk 2:31.
        In a number of languages a term meaning basically 'tribe' has been
extended in meaning to identify 'nations.' In other instances different
nations are spoken of simply as 'different peoples.' In certain cases
distinct nations are classified primarily in terms of their diverse
languages, for example, 'those people who speak different languages.' Such
an expression should not, however, be used if it only refers to
multilingual persons.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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