Gal. 4:18 KALWi

Diana N. Shaw DINOSAUR2LIST at
Fri Oct 5 16:22:02 EDT 2001

Thanks to  Dennis Hukel  for putting me onto KALOS/AGATHOS differences!
Checked Thayer first and found active in this question, not so much
the meaning difference, but the following differences in

1. KALOS seems to be applied in NT occasionally to people, but only
ex officio:  the good shepherd, the good servant, etc;  whereas
AGATHOS is (occasionally) used of persons as such.  (BAG's
treatment confirms, though less explicit.)  But see #2.

2.  AGATHOS itself seems rarely applied to people, a fact which
seems to derive from #3.

3.  A LXX usage is noted at the end of Thayer's entry.  Note says,
quoting a scholar named Zezschwitz, "It is to be regarded as a
peculiarity in the usage of the Sept. that TOV "good" is
predominantly rendered by KALOS....The ANHR AGATHOS is peculiar
only to the Prov...solitary instance in 1 Kings ii.32.  Thus even
in the usage of the O.T. we are reminded of Christ's words, Mk. x.

Now I have two well supported answers:

I. #1 above shows the NT & early Christian word usage, not my
grammatical concerns, would forbid KALWi's application to Paul or
another human agent.

II. #2 and #3, on the other hand, in a way confirm my wild guess
that (English) translators would assume that our background of
Judaeo-Christian puritanism would prevent Paul's calling himself
"good"; but they confirm it "with a (highly informative)
vengeance," showing this attitude dates all the way back at least
to LXX translators!

So, thank you, Dennis Hukel, for putting me onto the word usage
here!  I had checked dictionaries, but only for EN's grammatical
usages, totally ignoring the adjective itself.  Very stupid!

Diana N. Shaw
dinosaur2 at

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