[B-Greek] Usage of PAIS in Luke 7:7,Matt 8:5-13

Mark Fairpo 7968 at breathemail.net
Sun Jun 1 18:41:06 EDT 2003

Dear B-Greekers,

My three questions are on the heels of my last thread 'Connotations of PAIS in Luke 7:7,Matt 8:5-13'. (Thanks to those who responded.) I am a novice paddling in B-Greek.

In the primary use of PAIS as a child, Louw & Nida state: the term PAIS may occur with either masculine or feminine articles and corresponding adjectival attributes. These gender distinctions indicate whether the person referred to is male or female. With the masculine article or attributives one may translate PAIS as 'boy,' and similarly with female attributives one may translate PAIS as 'girl.'

{Q1} Applying this syntax rule to its metaphorical use as servant, or even DOULOS, does Matt 8:5-13 or its parallel Luke 7:1-10 indicate male or female? (Please explain this.) My Strong's refs seem insufficient to answer this.

Summarising my findings so far: Some scholars consider PAIS a diminutive form itself. PAIS diminutive sense may not always be strong or even perceptible. For a slave, its diminutive sense is mostly social rank rather than age: 'possibly serving as a personal servant and thus with the implication of kindly regard' (Louw & Nida 87.77). The degree of affection is ... out of pity for their status as for a humble 2-year-old. PAIDION and PAIDARION are double-diminutives and used metaphorically for the sense of tender affection. In grammar, diminutive means denoting (i) smallness or (ii) the state or quality of being familiarly known, loveable, pitiable or contemptible.

For me, this also makes sense of diverging ideas about PAIS.

Assuming that 'the context [of PAIS] is important in determining what is meant' implies Greek syntax rather than storyline (then yes for the above), may I also ask {Q2} is its diminutive sense 'strong or even perceptible' in its four verses Luke 7:7 or Matt 8:6,8,13? If so (see Q3) where and what are its hallmarks?

I recall once reading that the Greek grammar category, which diminutives formed part, are commonly endings but can also be sensed before its occurrence. {Q3} Does this extend to the diminutive sense? (The only ending I've seen elsewhere is PAISI tran. boys.)

Searching for a Trainspotter's Guide to the Diminutive, I downloaded 17MB of William W. Goodwin's Greek Grammar from www.textkit.com/greek_grammar.php (worth a peek). However it's 448 scanned pages are not searchable, though Goodwin's sections do include "Personal Endings".

Thanks for your time,

Mark Fairpo

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