Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Mar 21 03:24:30 EDT 2010

I have not been able to find a clear description in any grammar. Maybe others 
can find it somewhere.

There does not seem to be many nouns derived from the same adjective both by the 
use of -(O)SUNH and -(O)THS.

One other pair I found was:

μεγαλωσύνη MEGALWSUNH

μεγαλειότης MEGALEIOTHS

It seems more common to have either one derivation or the other, but not both. 
E.g we have the famous
δικαιοσύνη DIKAIOSYNH, but I don't think a DIKAIOTHS word exists.

Similarly we have νεότης NEOTHS (youth, young person), but no NEOSUNH 

IF there is a distinction in meaning between the two derivations, I think it is 
likely that the -(O)SUNH ending indicates an abstract idea not attached to or 
focused on any particular person, whereas the -OTHS is more specific or 

A NEOTHS is a particular young person and DESPOTHS is a particular despot, not 
despotism in general. CRHSTOTHS may be the kindness of a particular person, more 
than kindness as an abstract philosophical idea.

In Rom 7:6 we read about the KAINOTHS of the ministry of the Spirit as opposed 
to the PALAIOTHS of the ministry of the letter. Again, it is not newness and 
oldness in a general sense, but the specific new ministry contrasted to the old 

We find μεγαλειότης MEGALEIOTHS in Luk 9:43 (greatness of God) Act 19:27 
(greatness of Artemis), 2Pe 1:16 (greatness of Christ).

We find μεγαλωσύνη MEGALWSUNH in Heb 1:3, 8:1 and Jude 1:25, but it appears to 
be a Jewish euphemism for God. Maybe the idea is that God is the epitome of 
greatness as a general concept.

The -OTHS words are commonly constructed with a genitive that indicates who is 
described by the underlying adjective.
The -OSUNH words are rarely constructed with a genitive and when they are, 
the -OSUNH rarely indicates a description of the noun in the genitive. This 
could go into a discussion of δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ KIKAIOSUNH QEOU which I am quite 
convinced does not normally describe the righteousness of God, but rather a 
righteousness that comes from God or is acceptable to God, the kind of 
righteousness that God wants to see us have. (Mat 6:33, Act 10:35, Rom 1:17, 
3:21,22, 4:13, 10:3, 2Co 5:21, James 1:20, 1Jn 3:10).  However, that is a rather 
complex and controversial issue and it would require a lot of space to go into 

So, I would suggest that ἁγιωσύνη hAGIWSUNH may refer to the general concept of 
holiness (Rom 1:4; 2 Cor 7:1, 1Th 3:13), whereas ἁγιότης αὐτοῦ hAGIOTHS AUTOU 
(Heb 12:10) is the particular and personal holiness of God.

Iver Larsen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Timothy Lawson" <tslawson1 at yahoo.com>
To: <B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 20. marts 2010 20:59
Subject: [B-Greek] hAGIWSYNH and hAGIOTHTOS

To All:



What is the difference between the above words? Is hAGIWSYNH the condition of 
holiness and hAGIOTHTOS the quality of holiness?

Compare 1Thessalonians 3:13 and Hebrews 12:10.

Possiby then:

1Thessalonians indicates that their hearts may be in a holy condition/state.

Hebrews indicates they may share/partake/receive holy nature/quality.

I hope the Greek font stays Greek.


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