Question of gender

William Skinner thucy72 at
Tue May 14 19:36:58 EDT 2002

--- "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at>
> At 12:03 PM -0400 5/14/02, mcasale at
> wrote:
> >Hello Group:
> >Here is my question
> >
> >In comparing Mt 16:18-19 it says
> >"Thou art PETROS (Greek masc.)
> >upon this ROCK (PETRA fem.)
> >In Jo 1:42 it says, "You shall be called KEPHAS
> (Aramaic)
> >which is by interpretation a STONE (Greek
> masc.PETROS)
> >
> >My church has taught that Petros and Petra are a
> play on words that Jesus was
> >using to explain that Petros (or Peter) is a small
> stone but that he was
> >pointing to himself as the Petra meaning a large
> craggy rock on which the
> >church was built. It seems to indicate in the
> lexicon however that Petros
> >and Petra are simply the masculine and feminine
> gender for the same word
> >so they would both have the same, not different
> meanings as to the size of
> >the rock. What is your opinion?
> Let's leave aside the question of what the PETRA
> represents as that's a
> question of interpretation rather than a lexical
> matter, and it's one upon
> which there are broad sectarian differences.
> However, what you say you were
> taught is essentially right and will be constated in
> good lexica of both
> classical and Biblical Greek: PETROS does mean a
> stone of such a size that
> can be picked up and thrown, whereas PETRA is a
> large rock formation;
> obviously they are related but they are NOT simply
> interchangeable generic
> words for "rock" or "stone" as a substance; rather
> they are distinct words,
> clearly related to a common root but with distinct
> senses.
> -- 

     Can you cite any passages that support a semantic
difference between Petros and Petra?

Will S.

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