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

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Jul 5 14:31:42 EDT 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000 at comcast.net>

>> 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
> **anything**?

I don't have the resources to search non biblical Greek, so I was relying on 
BAGD which says for PEIRAZW: "2d. in a bad sense also of enticement to sin."

L&N says: "88.308  PEIRAZW: to endeavor or attempt to cause someone to sin - ‘to 
tempt, to trap, to lead into temptation".

If your have a quarrel with the standard dictionaries, I think it is upon you to 
prove that they are wrong.
I am not aware that this sense is found in the OT, and I didn't speak to the OT.

>> 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?

No, I am not, although your are right that there is some semantic overlap 
between the positive sense of PEIRAZW and 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?

Yes, you are correct in assuming that I expect the Devil to be hostile to Jesus 
with bad intent. You are entitled to have different assumptions about the Devil.

Iver Larsen 

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