Use of word "mallon"

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Aug 9 06:22:14 EDT 2001

At 3:00 PM -0400 8/8/01, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>"Conrad Chiu" <cchiu at> said:
>> I am very novice greek learner. I am just wondering if anyone can tell
>> me what are the pointers to when "mallon" should be translated as
>> "more than" as opposed to "rather than". I am specifically think of 2
>> Tim 3:4 where the meaning will be quite significantly different.
>To me, MALLON sets up a superlative relationship.  Whether the
>relationship is comparison or contrast is to be determined by other
>syntactic or semantic clues in the context.
>For example, 2 Tim 3:4--
>The `H' (or) is the syntactic clue which sets up the contrast.
>The NIV has "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."  I would
>probably intensify the contrast even more since I think that is what
>MALLON is doing here.  Something like:  "lovers of pleasure which is
>quite distinct from lovers of God."  Perhaps I'm overtranslating.

I object a bit to the term "superlative" above; I really think the usage
here is simpler and that the difficulty, if there is one, probably comes in
converting Greek phrases containing MALLON or MALLON H into English or
another target language.

MALLON is the comparative adverb of MALA as the superlative adverb is
MALISTA: MALA = "very/very much"; MALLON = "(relatively) more so"; MALISTA
= "most so (absolutely)."

H (with smooth breathing and grave accent--beta code )\H--is a comparative
conjunction that can be confusing in English or another target language
because it can link an alternative of equal weight to what precedes
("or"/"alternatively") and is also a standard conjunction link comparative
expressions governing one alternative with the second alternative
("than")--in which function it is itself an alternative to use of an
ablatival genitive:

	EKEINOS MEIZWN (ESTIN) H hOUTOS "That one is greater/larger/older

I think that FILHDONOI MALLON H FILOQEOI is in a way equivalent to
FILHDONESTEROI H FILOQEWTEROI = "more on the side of loving pleasure than
on the side of loving God."

I guess what this comes down to is perhaps that I think it is the usage of
)\H that is more troublesome here than it is the usage of MALLON.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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