Comparatives/Superlatives in the NT

Phillip J. Long plong at
Fri Oct 9 09:42:28 EDT 1998

On Thu,  8 Oct 98 23:19:38, you wrote:

> Perhaps Perschenbacher and Wallace had Paul's ELACISTOTEROS in mind from
> Ephesians 3:8: "less than the least" or "the leastest". Reminds me of
> "the Hostess with the mostest" in /Call me Madam/. 8-D

Wallace discusses it at length, suggesting that Paul coined the phrase
for the is a "comparative of the superlative."  

But he does not call it "elative."   Wallace calls an elative an
"intensification" of either a comparative or a superlative, and
suggests the word "very" be used in translation.  The *form* of the
adjective is not any different, ony the meaning.  

He gives two examples for comparatives as elative, Acts 13:31 (HMERAS
PLEIOUS, ("very many days") and 17:22 (DEISIDAIMONESTEROUS UMAS, "very
religious").  There are three clear examples for the superlative as
elative, Mk 4:1, a very great crowd; Luke 1:3, most excellent
Theophilus, and 1 Cor 4:3, a very small thing.

Roberstson 670 says that elative superlatives are common inthe NT
(meaning, that when a superlative appears it is likely to be an
elative.)    He says this is also true of the papyri.

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