οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Benjamin Kantor
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οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Post by Benjamin Kantor » May 9th, 2019, 4:28 am

I was wondering if there is any sharp/clear/or blurry distinction between these terms. I am sure they vary by style and author, but is there any way one could come up with a general division between them (if one had to pick a primary meaning):

perhaps οἰκία and οἰκεῖος refers to the nuclear family and members of household whereas συγγένεια and συγγενής is a catchall for all relatives?

Or could οἰκεῖος refer to an uncle living in another city?

Any help is appreciated!
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 9th, 2019, 7:56 am

There is quite a bit of semantic overlap between these, but they are generally distinct.

Οἰκεῖος tends to refer to members of one's household. This would include servants and slaves, anyone literally living in the household.

Συγγενἠς tends to refer to family relationships in a more extended sense.

Οἰκία, household, house, home, συγγένεια, family relationship, kinship.

Most likely an uncle living in Antioch would be συγγενής, not οἰκεῖος.

Check the lexicons for more detail.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Benjamin Kantor
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Joined: June 24th, 2017, 3:18 am

Re: οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Post by Benjamin Kantor » May 9th, 2019, 8:19 am

Thank you! That is good to hear and a relief.

I was writing something proceeding on the understanding that the distinction you outlined basically holds for these two terms, but then I decided to consult the lexica to double-check this and actually got more confused, since they list so many synonym-glosses for οἰκεῖος that it doesn't provide enough clear demarcation of how it is distinct from similar terms.

But glad to know someone like you with a lot of familiarity/experience with wider Greek literature had the same general sense.

My conclusion, then, is that the following could all be considered οἰκεῖος:

υἱός
θυγάτηρ (οἰκεῖα)
δοῦλος (living in the house)
παιδαγωγός (living in the house)

But that any blood relation living elsewhere would be considered only συγγενής.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 9th, 2019, 9:06 am

Yes, but remember that the distinction is a general one, and as I said above, there tends to be a lot of semantic overlap between the terms. Don't be surprised if somewhere you find the one term being used where you expect the other, as happens fairly often with vocabulary items with a similar sense.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Benjamin Kantor
Posts: 59
Joined: June 24th, 2017, 3:18 am

Re: οἰκεῖος vs. συγγενής? οἰκία vs. συγγένεια

Post by Benjamin Kantor » May 9th, 2019, 10:08 am

Yes, indeed a good point.

I think the only threshold I need to meet for what I am writing is that the distinction we outlined above could be one that an ancient Greek speaker would have conceivably made, even if he didn't always use it that way or if his friends used it a bit differently, etc. In other words, just wanted to make sure I was using the words in a way (in a context where they are contrasted with each other) that would have been intelligible for ancient Greeks, even though they might have used them interchangeably in other contexts as well.
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