meirakion, pais, ephebos
Garland H. Shinn
ghshinn at home.com
Thu Dec 2 17:43:10 EST 1999
Regarding PAIS, I note that the word is used of the centurion's servant
in Matt 8:5-13 while Luke uses the word DOULOS in what is apparently the
same incident in 7:1-10. I would welcome your take on how is PAIS being
used in the Matthean account. Is there some cultural phenomenon occuring
Professor of Biblical Languages and Theology
Southern California Bible College & Seminary
El Cajon, CA
Christopher Hutson wrote:
> Carle wrote:
> >perhaps you can help me with one that's been bothering me for some
> >time:the difference between MEIRAKION and PAIS--and is there anything else
> >between these and an EFHBOS?
> The language of youth is actually closer to the focus of my dissertation.
> Yes. Here is my translation of Aristophanes' whole catalogue of terms for
> age. This is the text as preserved in Eustathius' commentary on the
> <<<<<<TEXT OF ARISTOPHANES<<<<<<<<<
> BREFOS: that which is newly born.
> PAIDION: that which is fed by a nurse.
> PAIDARION: that which is walking around and beginning to grasp vocabulary.
> PAIDISKOS: the one in the next stage.
> PAIS: one who is able to go through the common educational curriculum.
> And the next age some call pallax (PALLAC), others an ox-child (BOUPAIS);
> others a quasi-child (ANTIPAIS), and yet others an ephebe-to-be
> After this is the ephebe (EFHBOS). In Cyrene they call the ephebes the
> Three-hundred, and in Crete ³non-runners² (ADROMOI), since they do not yet
> participate in the athletic field. Yet the form of this word seems to
> signify the opposite, namely,
> one who has retired from the races and is no longer a participant. But they
> also call those who do not eat fish ³unfished,² and those who are unrefined
> ³unmused,² and those who are prepubescent ³unhaired.²
> After this is a meirakion (MEIRAKION) then a meirax (MEIRAC) and a neaniskos
> (NEANISKOS) and a neanias (NEANIAS), the same thing. The Spartans call
> these ³horses² (hIPPEIS) and their leaders they call ³wild horses²
> Then next is that stage at which it is customary to marry a wife, at which
> time one might also be called bride-groom (NUMFIOS). Subsequently, he
> probably also will be called father (PATHR). Then young man (ANHR NEOS);
> then middle man (ANHR MESOS); then advanced (PROBEBHKWS), and greying
> (hUPOPOLIOS), which some call near-old man (WMOGERWN); then old man (GERWN)
> and elder (PRESBUTHS), the same thing; then extremely old (ESXATOGHRWS).
> >>>>>>>>>>END OF TEXT>>>>>>>>>
> Aristophanes here identifies no fewer than sixteen different stages of life
> for males and offers an additional twelve alternate terms. As helpful as
> this catalogue is for an orientation to the vocabulary, and even though it
> was copied and repeated through the centuries, we cannot take it as a final
> authority on word usage. First, many of the terms are cognates, and the
> distinctions between them are sometimes obscure. Some are clearly not
> discrete stages but indications of the normal order at which such terms
> might be applicable. Second, even those stages which seem more discrete
> may have variable terminology applied to them. Third, Aristophanes himself
> recognizes regional variations in terminology, and we should expect such
> variations in usage as well.
> On the other hand, the list does indicate that the ancients were aware of
> some fine gradations in human development. Terms such as PAIS, NEOTHS, and
> GERWN were often used broadly, but they were patient of precise usage, which
> of course could vary from text to text. Conversely, a precisely defined
> stage of life might be identified in various ways from text to text.
> I have lots examples of the usages of these terms in various periods and in
> various places, and I'm confident that you could supply many more, Carl.
> It's too much to present here, but if you have a specific question about the
> usage of EFHBOS or MEIRAKION or PAIS or any other term, I'll try to help.
> For that matter, if you have any observations on my choices of English
> equivalents for any of the terms in Aristophanes' list, I'd be happy to have
> your comments. Some of them I don't translate at all, since they are the
> focus of subsequent discussion. How many different ways can one say "youth"
> in English without reading too many modern cultural assumptions into ancient
> Greek vocabulary? Adolescent, Boy/Girl, High Schooler, Lad, Prepster, Teen,
> Teenager, Young Man/Woman, Youngster, Youth. It's tough to find enough
> synonyms that don't inject misleading nuances into the Greek words.
> Christopher R. Hutson
> Hood Theological Seminary
> Salisbury, NC 28144
> crhutson at salisbury.net
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