Paul Zellmer pzellmer at
Thu Oct 18 08:27:18 EDT 2001


Even though you use the qualifier "apparently," thus rendering your
assessment deniable, it is clear that you feel that your assessment is
correct. Therefore I wish to take issue with the one example that you give.

A translation of a single Hebrew word into two Greek words really should
only be considered stylistic if it can be demonstrated elsewhere that that
is the style of the writer or the times.  To state that such a translation
was made apparently for stylistic reasons when such further demonstration is
absent is a conclusion which seems very similar to conclusions that are made
when one argues from silence.

I would agree that the specific proposal by Mark do not seem to hold up
here, but ISTM that you also could be under the influence of your personal
predisposition to a lack of distinction between the two terms.  If (and I
repeat, if) there is a distinction between AGAPAW and FILEW, and if that
distinction could be clearly defined, a translation the English, "A poor man
loves mirth, loving wine and oil in abundance," would use *different* Greek
words if one word best describes the feeling toward mirth and the other best
describes the feeling toward wine and oil.  In such a case, the variation of
terms would exist because the translator would have had a better
understanding of the specific usages of each word, and would have recognized
the blurring of such distinction in the original text.  Just because English
or Hebrew has one word that covers both semantic domains does not mean that
a single word should also be used in the Greek.  Your argument in this case
seems to be perpetuating the common misunderstanding that translation is a
one-to-one correspondence of terms on the word level, and that just ain't

I'm not saying that you are necessarily wrong, but ISTM that such
evaluations should include other possible reasons for alternations.

I'm not weighing in on either side, but I am trying to weigh the evidence
presented.  I wanted you to know where I found yours lacking a bit of

Paul Zellmer

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steven Lo Vullo [mailto:doulos at]
> Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 2:40 AM
> To: Biblical Greek
> Subject: [b-greek] Re: AGAPAW, FILEW

> Unfortunately, things aren't always so neat and clear-cut as we would like
> them to be. While Trench's example may *seem* to confirm that when these
> words are used in close proximity they are to be distinguished as having
> distinctive semantical value, it is clear that this is not always
> the case.
> Take for example Prov 21.17, LXX: ANHR ENDEHS AGAPAi EUFROSUNHN
> KAI ELAION EIS PLOUTON ("A poor man loves mirth, loving wine and oil in
> abundance."). Both AGAPAW and FILEW here translate the same Hebrew verb,
> apparently just for stylistic reasons. Do you really want to press a
> distinction here between "reasoned attachment, from a sense of
> due respect"
> and "the natural affections and passions?" It seems to me one
> would have to
> possess a prior committment to such a distinction in order to insist on it
> here.

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