[B-Greek] Jos. Ant. 20:20 under MONOGENHS in BDAG

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sat Jul 10 07:24:46 EDT 2010


On Jul 10, 2010, at 6:02 AM, Leonard Jayawardena wrote:

> 
> 
> The 1957 and 1979 editions of "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature' (BDAG) has the following as part of its entry on MONOGENHS:
> 
> 
> "Of an only son (Plut. Lycurgus 31,8; Jos. Ant. 20,20) Lk. 7:12; 9:38..."
> 
> 
> Actually, as I mentioned in my (recent) post on MONOGENHs in the Fourth Gospel, Josephus uses MONOGENHS in Ant. 20:20 in the sense of "best-beloved," not "only." Josephus calls Izates, a son of Monobazus (king of Adiabene) by Helena his MONOGENH, though Monobazus had an elder son by the same wife and other children by other wives. Clearly, Josephus calls Izates MONOGENHS in the sense of "best-beloved," or "favourite." The rest of the narrative also makes this very clear.
> 
> I wonder whether this error is corrected in later edition(s) of BDAG.

BDAG has: 
1. pert. to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship, one and only, only (so mostly, incl. Judg 11:34; Tob 3:15; 8:17) of children: of Isaac, Abraham’s only son (Jos., Ant. 1, 222) Hb 11:17. Of an only son (PsSol 18:4; TestSol 20:2; ParJer 7:26; Plut., Lycurgus 59 [31, 8]; Jos., Ant. 20, 20) Lk 7:12; 9:38. Of a daughter (Diod. S. 4, 73, 2) of Jairus 8:42. (On the motif of a child’s death before that of a parent s. EpigrAnat 13, ’89, 128f, no. 2; 18, ’91, 94 no. 4 [244/45 AD]; GVI nos. 1663–69.)

In English usage the adjective "unique" and the adjectival phrase "one and only" are commonly used to indicate the only real object of one's affection, regardless of how many individuals -- children, lovers, etc. -- might actually fall into a category. My system dictionary gives for "one and only": "only unique; single (used for emphasis or as a designation of a celebrity) : the title of his one and only book | the one and only Muhammad Ali." One of Sinatra's great hits was "My One and Only Love."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)






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