[B-Greek] Etymological fallacy?

Dr. Don Wilkins drdwilkins at verizon.net
Wed Nov 19 14:26:28 EST 2008

I like Carl's comment that there seems to be no way to convince  
people regarding the ety. fallacy. I'm afraid the problem is that  
etymological "gold nuggets" are one of the leading reasons why people  
get interested in Greek, and they desperately want to believe in  
them. But I do have a theory as an answer to your question. From what  
I have seen, when a verb refers to some kind of simple motion (e.g.  
EISERXOMAI) in a context that requires the same, you can probably use  
etymology to define it; i.e. etymological definition in these cases  
may not be fallacious. Even so, you still have to resort to a good  
lexicon; I don't think you can ever depend on etymology as a means of  
definition. It is probably a matter of probability. That is, there is  
a good probability that such a verb in such a context is true to its  
etymological components. I think that's about as "legitimate" as it  
gets. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone has the evidence  
to blow even this theory out of the water.

Don Wilkins
Scholar in Residence,
The Lockman Foundation

On Nov 18, 2008, at 6:43 PM, Stephen Baldwin wrote:

> Good evening Dr.Conrad, Ladies and Gentlemen:
> Dr.C's post below had me reaching for my Carson [Exegetical  
> Fallacies].
> I'd like to understand this problem more, and understand [perhaps  
> by way of a good example?] when the etymlogy of a word does indeed  
> provide a good basis for understanding the meaning of a word, and  
> how it is divined that the etymology legitimately provides this.
> Is the point of the fallacy in EKKLHSIA that nowhere in any earlier  
> [than Koine] greek does the word imply a "calling out"? (I have in  
> mind something like Ruth where the elders met at the gates of the  
> city [Ruth 4:11] in conference); or is it that the "calling out"  
> gets loaded with unwarranted theological ideas (the calling out per  
> old-testament call out of "the world" to separateness/holiness)? Is  
> it both? or is it neither?
> Any clues gratefully received!
> Rgds
> Steve
> Steve Baldwin
> stbaldwi at hotmail.com

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