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

Jeffrey B. Gibson jgibson000 at comcast.net
Fri Jul 6 16:41:30 EDT 2007

"Bryant J. Williams III" wrote:

> Dear Jeffrey,
> The LXX uses PEIRAZW and PEIRAW exclusively for NASAH in the Piel form of
> the verb.
> OT:
> Gen 22:1; Exod 15:25; 16:4; 17:2, 7; 20:20; Num 14;22; Deut 4;34; 8:2;
> 13:4[3]; 33:8; Jdg 2:22; 3:1, 4; 6:39; I Sam 17:39; I Ki 19:1; 2 Chr 9:1;
> 32:31; Pss26 [25]:2; 78 [77]:41, 56; 95[94]:9; 106[105]:14; Eccl 2:1;
> 7:23[24]; Isa 7:12; Dan 1:12, 14.

And where in any of these does what is being translated have the sense of "entice to do evil"?

> Without Hebrew Equivalent:
> Jud 8:12, 25f.; Ps 35[34]:16; Prov 26:18; Dan 12:10.

And where in any of these is the sense of PEIRAZW "entice to do evil"?

> Apocrypha:
> Tob 12:14; Wis 1:2; 2:17, 24; 3:5; 11:9; 12:26; 19:5 Sir 18:23; 34[31]:19;
> 37:27; 39:4; I Macc 1:15; 12:10; 2 Macc 2:23; 10:12; 11:19; 3 Macc 1:25;
> 2:32; 4 Macc 9:7; 12:3; 15:16.

And again, where in any of these does PEIRAZW mean "to entice someone to do evil"?

BTW,  you forgot to note the two times PEIRAZW appears in the Greek Pseudepigrapha (4 Macc. 9:7;
15:16) and the six times in the extant fragments of the non-Septuagintal Greek versions of the
Hebrew Scriptures (Aquila, Deut. 28:56; Symmachus, Gen. 44:15; Deut. 33:8; Mal. 3:10; Theodotion,
Dan. 1:12, 14).  Each of these instances have Hebrew equivalents. In Aquila, Deut. 28:56,
Symmachus, Deut. 33:8 and Theodotion, Dan. 1:12, 14 it is nasah, in Symmachus Gen. 44:15 is oasam,
and in Symmachus, Mal. 3:10 it is bachan.

One should also note that in pre third century non NT Christian writings it occurs twice in Hermas,
once in the Ignatian Epistles, once in Egerton Papyrus 2, twice in the Gospel of Thomas, once in
the Acts of the Christian Martyrs, seven times in The Acts of John, twice in Justin's Dialogue with
Trypho,  seventeen times in the works of Clement of Alexandria, and twelve times in the Clementine

In extant pre-third century century CE "Secular" literature it appears some sixty one times. It is
first attested in Homer.  It appears again, slightly later, in Herodotus, in the Fabulae of Aesop,
in Aristophanes, in a scrap of writing from the 4th century B.C.E comic playwright Menander, and in
an Epicurean fragment,  but then not again until its use in the third century B.C.E. by Apollonius
Rhodius, the technological writer Philon of Byzantium [Philo Mechanichus], and by the author
(Pseudo-Callisthenes) of the Historia Alexandri Magni.  It is used subsequently by the Macedonian
historian Polybius and the Alexandrian grammarian Aristophanes Byzantinus in the second century
B.C.E., then by the mythographer Ps. Apollodorus, the Roman based Epicurean writer Philodemus, the
historians Diodorus Siculus and Dionysius Halicarnassensis, the historian and geographer Strabo of
Pontus, the Roman satirist Lucilius, and the Alexandrian Jewish theologian and philosopher Philo in
the first century B.C.E, by Plutarch, Josephus, the Ephesian medical writer and physician Soranus,
and the authors/compilers of The Anacreontea, and the Vita Aesopi  in the first century C.E., and
by the Samosataean essayist and critic Lucian, the Roman physician Sextus Empiricus, the
Alexandrian grammarian Aelius Herodianus, the medical writer Galen, the Bythinian historian and
Stoic philosopher Arrian, and the astrologer Vettius Valens in the second century C.E. The verb
also appears five times in two works by Alexander Aphrodisiensis, a second to third century C.E.
peripatetic philosopher, twice in the Papyri, and once in the Scholia on Aristophanes.

Not a single one of these instances attests to PEIRAZW as meaning "entice to do evil.

> EKPEIRAZW stands exclusively in Piel for NASAH in Deut 6:16 (quoted in Mt
> 4:7and Lk 4:12; alluded to in I Cor 10:9), 8:2, 16; Ps 78[77]:18.
> PEIRASMOS stands for the noun MASSAH in Exod 17:7; Deut 4:34; 6:16; 7:19;
> 9:22; 29:2[3]; Ps 95[94]:8.
> PEIRASMOS stand for `INYAN (occupation, task) in Eccl 3:10; 4:8; 5:2, 13;
> 8:16.
> PEIRASMOS without equivalent in Apocrypha:
> Sir 2:1; 27:5, 7; 33[36]:1; I Macc 2:52.

To be complete, it is also used once in the Pseudepigrapha (Test. Jos. 2:7), once in the extant
fragments of non-Septuagintal Greek versions of the Hebrew Scriptures (Symmachus, Gen. 44:15), once
in the Didache  (Did. 8:2), once in Hermas (Man. 9:7), twice in the Acts of John (21.13 in the main
text and 16.6 in the Recension), eight times in the writings of Clement of Alexandria
(Protrepticus 9.84.3; Stromata 1.9.44; 1.17.86; 4.6.41; 4.7.47 (a quotation from 1 Peter); 4.20.129
(a quotation of 1 Peter); 7.12.76; Excerpta ex Theodoto 4.84.1), and nine times in the Clementines
(.2 Cor. 39.7; Epistle of Clement to James 2.3; 14.3; Hom. 2 39.1; Hom. 16 13.2; 13.5; 21.4; Hom.
18 20.2; 20.4. The noun also appears once in the Epitome Prior (145.10) and once in the Epitome
Altera (146.6). Both of these instances are reduplications of Epistle of Clement to James 2.3).

It is also used by Dioscorides and Aelius Herodianus and appears in Syntipas and in the Cyranides.,

> Secular Sense:
> to try to do something, Deut 4:34; 28:56; Jdg 6:39; I Sam 17:39;
> to make a test of, try something out, Eccl 2:1; 7:23; Dan 1:12;
> to test, put to the proof, I Ki 10:1; 2 Chr 9:1; Apocrypha: Wis 2:17.

Why do you call these "secular" senseses?

> Deut 7:19; 29:2[3].
> Again, it seems that as Gerhardsson as pointed out that "the vb. NASAH seems
> to imply primarily 'a testing of the partner in the covenant to see whether
> he is keeping his side of the agreement....'" Examples are Abraham with
> Isaac in Genesis 22; Manna from heaven in Exodus 20:20. The tempting of the
> people of the covenant against God is found in Ps 78[77]:40f; Num 14:22; Ps
> 106[105]:14; Isa 7:12; Mal 3:15. At Massah and Meribah Deut 6:16; 9:22;
> 33:8; Ps 95[94]:8; Exod 17:2, 7.
> It seems that, again, a disctinction is being made as to the who is doing
> the testing/temptation, whether it be God (testing for covenantal
> faithfulness, Abraham, Israel) or man (temptation or testing in negative
> sense, Massah and Meribah, where Israel is testing God in unbelief, in
> effect saying that God is not keeping is covenant).

Sorry, I disagree.  You are confunsing effect with aim.  The people of Israel test god to see
**if** he is really their protector as he pledged he would be.  In essence this is no diffrent
from  God's testing of Abraham in Gen 22 or of his subjecting wilderness Israel to testing. The
first is to discover whether Abraham truly trusts that God will keep his promises to him.  The
second is  to determine whether Israel would keep their pledge to "observe"  all that God commanded
them.   Line the merriba and Massah testings, each arises from doubt or uncertainty and each is
meant to satisfy the questions raised by that doubt.

> I sense that the Temptation of Christ in Matthew and Luke, though part of
> the NT, are still under the Law (cf Gal 4:4).

I have no idea what this means, let alone why, what ever it means, it has a bearing on the way that
PEIRAZW is used in the "temptation" stories.


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

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