Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Stephen Hughes
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Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 15th, 2014, 1:08 am

How many words are there in Greek for love? Is it 4 like what is often claimed?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 15th, 2014, 2:26 am

Here's a list from the online Louw-Nida: http://www.laparola.net/greco/louwnida. ... 33&sez2=58
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 15th, 2014, 3:12 am

ἔρως , ωτος, ὁ, acc. ἔρων love (irrational / passionate love) is not in that list, and nor is
στέργω feel (natural human) affection for

Can anyone else see any omissions?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 15th, 2014, 5:02 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Can anyone else see any omissions?
Ah, the problem with a limited-corpus lexicon. On the other hand, the problem with going the full LSJ McKenzie is that not every word in that lexicon was a live option in the first century or any other particular point in time.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 15th, 2014, 5:29 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Can anyone else see any omissions?
Ah, the problem with a limited-corpus lexicon. On the other hand, the problem with going the full LSJ McKenzie is that not every word in that lexicon was a live option in the first century or any other particular point in time.
ἔρως is LXX
στέργω is the verbal form of ἄστοργος

My main point is that there are not 4 words for love in the the Greek Bible.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 15th, 2014, 6:56 am

There is another thing that I have heard, which is that ἀγαπάω / ἀγάπη first occurs in the LXX.

Is that a myth or true?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by cwconrad » February 15th, 2014, 7:39 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:There is another thing that I have heard, which is that ἀγαπάω / ἀγάπη first occurs in the LXX.

Is that a myth or true?
I should think that a quick glance at LSJ would disabuse anyone of that notion: it's in Homer's Odyssey (23.14), appears not infrequently in Attic tragedy and orators, and is used by Plato.

I do think that a lot of nonsense has circulated about the Greek words for "love." While certain of these words are more commonly used in some particular contexts, there's a good deal of overlap in actual usage. While I may perhaps be guilty of distortion myself, I wonder whether some of the most precise accountings for the meanings of nigh-synonymous words or words of overlapping senses are offered by non-native speakers/writers. I sometimes wonder what an extra-terrestrial visitor might think 20th-21st century Americans really mean by "love." How many questionable sermons are preached on the difference between φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν in John 21?
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Mason Barge
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Mason Barge » August 16th, 2014, 2:22 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:There is another thing that I have heard, which is that ἀγαπάω / ἀγάπη first occurs in the LXX.

Is that a myth or true?
BDAG reports that ἀγάπη is rare, at least in literature. "Its paucity in gener. Gk. lit. may be due to a presumed colloq. flavor of the noun (...). No such stigma attached to the use of the verb ἀγαπάω (q.v.)." This is p. 6 of Third Edition.
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by TimNelson » November 1st, 2014, 1:26 am

I suspect that the claim of 4 words (or at least the popularity of the claim) is from C. S. Lewis' book "The Four Loves". I seem to recall that the four words were ἀγαπη, φιλος, ερως, and στοργη (apologies for any misspellings; I've never read the book, and the paragraph I read about this was read before I learned Greek, and was transliterated). HTH,
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Wes Wood
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Re: Are there 4 word in Greek for love / to love?

Post by Wes Wood » November 1st, 2014, 7:22 pm

cwconrad wrote:How many questionable sermons are preached on the difference between φιλεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν in John 21?
I can't help but think of the atrocities of Amnon in II Samuel 13 verses 4 and 15 when someone talks/writes about these words.

13:4 και ειπεν αυτω τι σοι οτι συ ουτως ασθενης υιε του βασιλεως το πρωι πρωι ουκ απαγγελεις μοι και ειπεν αυτω αμνων θημαρ την αδελφην αβεσσαλωμ του αδελφου μου εγω αγαπω.
13:15 και εμισησεν αυτην αμνων μισος μεγα σφοδρα οτι μεγα το μισος ο εμισησεν αυτην υπερ την αγαπην ην ηγαπησεν αυτην και ειπεν αυτη αμνων αναστηθι και πορευου

I still wouldn't agree, but at least I'd be more interested in what the person had to say if he or she tried to say that Peter was offended because φιλεῖς reminded Peter of Judas' kiss of betrayal.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

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