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

Jeffrey B. Gibson jgibson000 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 5 23:44:08 EDT 2007

"Bryant J. Williams III" wrote:

> Dear Jeff,
> NIDNTT, Vol 3, pp. 798-808, "Tempt, Test, Approve," W. Schneider, C. Brown.
>     PEIRA, attempt, trial, experiment; PEIRASMOS, test, trial, tempting,
> temptation; PEIRAW, try, attempt, endeavor; PEIRAZW, try, test, put on
> trial, tempt; EKPEIRAZW, put to the test, try, tempt; *APEIRASTOS*, without
> temptation, untempted. (Asterisks is my emphasis).
> CL    The noun PEIRA, attempt (Pindar), and the vb. PEIRAW, to test, try
> (Homer, Il. 8,8), together with the intensive form (rare in cl. Gk.)
> PEIRAZW, to tempt someone, put to the test (Homer, Od. 9, 281), come from
> the root PER (cf. Lat. per).

First, thanks for this.

PLease note though that if Schneider/Brown are saying that "to tempt" in the sense of "to entice to
do evil, to incite to do what one knows is wrong" is found in Homer,  he's simply wrong.

> PEIRAW, usually in mid. or passive, means to measure oneself against someone, to try one's luck,
> to strife for someone's favour,
> to woo someone, to lead into temptation (especially in the sense of
> unchastity), to venture an attack on someone; then, to get to know by
> experience, to experience.

I'd very much like to know where in Greek lit. PEIRAW is used to mean to "lead into unchastity".
And in any case, PEIRAW and PEIRAZW are not the same verbs.

>     Similarly to the vbs., the noun PEIRA means attempt, trial, test,
> attempt at, attack, risk, experience, knowledge. PEIRASMOS means a medical
> test (first used by Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, Preface 5, in the 1st
> cent. A.D.). EKPEIRAZW, to tempt,

Again, I'd like to know what instance of the use of EKPEIRAZW the author has in mind when he claims
that it means "to tempt".

It is not (to my knowledge)) attested in "secular" Greek.  It appears in the Septuagint version of
the Hebrew Scriptures only in the book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of Psalms. In these instances
the verb is used only with reference either to God (Deut. 6:16, twice; Ps. 77[78]:18) or to men
(8:2, 16) and it does not mean "tempt".  In the New Testament and early Christian literature  it
appears at Matt. 4:7; Lk. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:9 -- where God is its object and at Hermas, Vis. 5.3;
Man. 12.5.4 where its object is men.  And again, it never means "tempt"


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

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