[B-Greek] Jam 1:13 APEIRASTOS 'unable to' or 'unable to be ~'

Jeffrey B. Gibson jgibson000 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 5 10:13:38 EDT 2007

Iver Larsen wrote:

> The other problem is the various senses of PEIRAZW. Apart from the sense
> "attempt to do (unsuccesfully)" it can mean "test, examine" in a positive sense
> or "tempt to do bad things" in a negative sense.

Could you please provide me with some examples in Hellenistic literature apart from
those in the "temptation" story of Matt 4:1-11//Lk 4.1-13 where PEIRAZW is used with
the sense of "incite" "entice" "seduce", let alone to try to get someone to do

> Which sense is intended can
> only be determined in context. The two important determiners are (1) the motive
> and (2) the result.
> Testing has a positive motive by the tester, because the hope is that whatever
> or whoever is being tested will be stregthened after having undergone the
> testing/trials.

Really?  Is there any hint of this is the stories of God testing Abraham or Israel?
Aren't you confusing PEIRAZW with DOKIMAZW?

> This positive motive expects a positive result. It or they will
> have been tested and then receive a stamp of approval. That is why James 1:2
> says that it is a joy to be tested. It produces endurance, which is a positive
> character trait. That is also why God can test people or at least allow testing
> to happen.
> On the other hand, temptation has a negative motive, because the hope is that
> the one being tempted will fall for the temptation and do somethng bad. In that
> sense the Devil is the "Tempter".

Can you please provide me with the evidence upon which the claim being made here --
that in the "temptation in the wilderness" story, the Devil approaches Jesus with an
ill intent and a particular hope  -- is based?

Frankly I don't see anything in the story that indicates this.  The idea that the
Devil is hostile to Jesus here and that he is actively  trying to  entice Jesus and
to **get** Jesus to do something bad,  let alone to "fall", seems to me to be an
idea that is brought to and read into the text, and is done so because of certain a
priori assumptions about who the Devil is and what he is up to, and by retrojecting
into Wilderness temptation story the themes and atmosphere of conflict that pervades
such stories of Jesus in "temptation" as we find in Mk.  8:11-13 and Mk. 10:13-17,
where it is clear, given both the form and wording of those stories,  that those who
"tempt" Jesus do so with hostile intent.  But it is notable that nothing of what the
evangelists use in those stories - including the form employed in the recounting of
them --  to signal or state that Jesus' "tempters" approach  him with bad intent can
be found anywhere in any version of the Wilderness "temptation" story.

So how do you justify your claim?

Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
Chicago, Illinois
e-mail jgibson000 at comcast.net

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