[B-Greek] DIAKRINW in James 1:5-8

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 27 16:00:37 EDT 2007


On Sep 25, 2007, at 11:33 PM, Benjamin Pehrson wrote:

> Jonathan said...
>> My original question was basically whether there are very many  
>> examples
>> of this kind of issue for BDAG, BADG, LSJ, and perhaps Louw and Nida
>> (who also note the meaning you mention.) I ask because I actually  
>> don't
>> run into this often.
>
> Because lexicons have been created on the basis of how words are  
> used in
> contexts,

Is this a problem? What alternative do we have?


> I think examples of lexicons needing improvement are more frequent
> than you suppose. I'm thinking especially of the number of  
> different sense
> meanings for a word, either (1) 'creating' new senses on the basis  
> of too
> few texts, or (2) not distinguishing senses enough on the basis of  
> voice.
>
> An example of the first problem occurs with DIAKRINW. Forms of  
> DIAKRINW
> occur 19x in the NT and are often translated with words like 'doubt',
> 'waver', 'hesitate'. These fall under sense meaning (2b) in BAGD as  
> having a
> meaning that "appears first in NT." Several journal articles have been
> written in recent years that argue that the classical sense is  
> appropriate
> in the NT contexts and that there is no new NT meaning. The primary  
> senses
> of the word according to BAGD (sorry I don't have the more recent  
> BDAG)
> include for the active voice
> (1a) separate, arrange
> (1b) make a distinction, differentiate
> (1c) pass judgment, judge correctly, recognize, deliberate
> (1d) render a decision
>
> and for middle/passive voice
> (2a) take issue, dispute.
>
> It's the final middle/passive sense under (2b) that is proposed as  
> a new NT
> meaning: be at odds with oneself, doubt, waver
>
> Here are the recent journal articles...
>
> Norbert Baumert, SJ. 2002. "Das Paulinische, Wortspiel Mit krin-."  
> Filologia
> Neotestamentaria 15: 19-64.
>
> David DeGraaf. 2005. "Some doubts about doubt: the New Testament  
> use of
> Διακρινω." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 
> (4): 733-755.
>
> Peter SPITALER. 2006. "Doubt or Dispute (Jude 9 and 22-23).  
> Rereading a
> Special New Testament Meaning through the Lense of Internal Evidence."
> Biblica 87(2): 201-222.
>
> Peter Spitaler. 2007. "Διακρίνεσθαι in Mt. 21:21, Mk.  
> 11:23, Acts 10:20,
> Rom. 4:20, 14:23, Jas. 1:6, and Jude 22-the 'semantic shift' that went
> unnoticed by patristic authors." Novum Testamentum 49:1-39.
>
> Spitaler (2007: 202) writes, "It is problematic to deduce a special NT
> meaning "doubt" (using reflexive expressions like "dispute with  
> oneself" or
> "being divided against oneself") from the middle voice DIAKRINOMAI.  
> Such
> reflexive meanings are not present in the classical/Hellenistic Greek
> because the middle DIAKRINOMAI consistently denotes a contesting  
> partner
> other than - and outside of - oneself."
>
> Benjamin Pehrson

I looked at Peter SPITALER. 2006. "Doubt or Dispute (Jude 9 and  
22-23), the only article I could locate at a public site. Jude 22-23  
is not a good test case for reflexive use DIAKRINW in the NT. Jude  
22-23 is a text critical crux and there does not appear to be  
anything like a consensus that DIAKRINW should be understood  
differently in Jude 22-23 than it is in Jude 9.[1]

DIAKRINW in James 1:6 is clothed in a context which appears to  
provide constraints on how the term should be understood.

James 1:5 Εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται  
σοφίας, αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος  
θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς καὶ μὴ  
ὀνειδίζοντος καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ.  6  
αἰτείτω δὲ ἐν πίστει μηδὲν  
διακρινόμενος· ὁ γὰρ  
διακρινόμενος ἔοικεν κλύδωνι  
θαλάσσης ἀνεμιζομένῳ καὶ  
ῥιπιζομένῳ.  7 μὴ γὰρ οἰέσθω ὁ  
ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος ὅτι λήμψεταί τι  
παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου,  8 ἀνὴρ δίψυχος,  
ἀκατάστατος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς  
αὐτοῦ.

5 EI DE TIS hUMWN LEIPETAI SOFIAS, AITEITW PARA TOU DIDONTOS QEOU  
PASIN hAPLWS KAI MH ONEIDIZONTOS KAI DOQHSETAI AUTWi.  6 AITEITW DE  
EN PISTEI MHDEN DIAKRINOMENOS: hO GAR DIAKRINOMENOS EOIKEN KLUDWNI  
QALASSHS ANEMIZOMENWi KAI hRIPIZOMENWi.  7 MH GAR OIESQW hO ANQRWPOS  
EKEINOS hOTI LHMYETAI TI PARA TOU KURIOU,  8 ANHR DIYUCOS,  
AKATASTATOS EN PASAIS TAIS hODOIS AUTOU.

If we were to choose "dispute" as a label for the approximate sense  
of DIAKRINW in verse six how would that play out with the other  
things James has to say about hO DIAKRINOMENOS? It is by no means an  
obvious characteristic of a dissenter that they be EOIKEN KLUDWNI  
QALASSHS ANEMIZOMENWi KAI hRIPIZOMENWi or ANHR DIYUCOS, AKATASTATOS  
EN PASAIS TAIS hODOIS AUTOU. James provides a vivid picture of  
instability and fickleness. It seems to me that the semantic  
coherence of this passage is dependent on hO DIAKRINOMENOS sharing  
some of these characteristics, unless we want to suggest that James'  
intent was to provide his readers with some startling new information  
about hO DIAKRINOMENOS.


Elizabeth Kline

[1]  R.Baucham, H.Alford, J.B.Mayor do not agree on the text but they  
all lean towards SPITALER's understanding of DIAKRINW in Jude 22-23.  
J.N.D. Kelly, J.Green and J.Huther understand DIAKRINW here as doubt,  
waver. See also SPITALER's footnotes for more recent literature on  
this passage.





More information about the B-Greek mailing list