[B-Greek] MISEW in Lk 14:26

Aaron Marshall greekmeister1 at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 28 09:22:17 EDT 2009

Hi Mike,


I absolutely agree with you that usage determines meaning in language.  I did not clarify that in my previous post.  What I consider the lexical meaning of a word is how it is most commonly used in a given language.  We have to look at how MISEW was used in that language in that time to determine what its semantic range actually was.  As far as I can tell, there isn't really enough data to warrant positing that MISEW could actually denote "to love less" at the time Luke (or whoever) wrote the gospel.  That is the value of figures of speech like hyperbole.  The harshness of the saying guarantees that a. it will catch the attention of Jesus' hearers and b. make them really think about what he's saying.  What did he mean by the statement that his disciples must hate their families and lives?  To say that "love less" falls within the normal range of meanings for MISEW takes the teeth out of Jesus' saying.  Of course, if we think that Jesus was speaking Aramaic in this instance, the real question to ask could be what Aramaic word did he use and what is the range of meaning for THAT word?  A question that's probably out of place in this list.  I still don't think it's linguistically proper to say that MISEW means "love less."  I haven't seen the data to warrant that conclusion.


Aaron Marshall

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 19:51:20 -0700
From: mga318 at yahoo.com
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] MISEW in Lk 14:26
To: greekmeister1 at hotmail.com; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org


If a give word's meaning isn't based on its usage, how exactly do you determine the meaning of a given word?

It is exactly through things like hyperbole that words gain new meanings. For example, we currently use the word "overwhelmed" to mean something like, "to be presented with an excessive amount." Originally, a word that has fallen completely out of usage had that exact meaning: whelmed. Then Speakers, wanting to be hyperbolic, began add "over" to the front and now "whelmed" has virtually disappeared from the contemporary English speaker's mental lexicon.

Mike Aubrey

I differentiate what a word means from how a speaker or writer uses it in a particular context.  I actually believe that in some contexts the intended meaning of MISEW is something along the lines of "love less", but that is not what the word actually means lexically, which was originally my point.  I don't believe that because someone uses hyperbole with MISEW (Jesus, the writer/editor of Genesis) we should postulate new meanings for the word.  Let's allow the word to mean what it means and recognize rhetoric and figures of speech where we see them.  I'm probably way off of the reservation by modern linguistic standards for saying this.

Aaron Marshall
> From: kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 08:53:23 -0700
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] MISEW in Lk 14:26
> On Oct 27, 2009, at 8:47 AM, Aaron Marshall wrote:
> > Hence, MISEW does not mean "to love less"
> J. W. WEVERS, Noteson the Greek Text of Genesis (SBLSCS 35; Atlanta 
> 1993) p. 471
> "So MISEITAI is intended as 'less loved'."
> Elizabeth Kline
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