σεβάζομαι vs προσκυνέω

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

σεβάζομαι vs προσκυνέω

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » October 31st, 2014, 2:53 pm

Rom. 1:25 οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.

John 4:21 λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· πίστευέ μοι, γύναι, ὅτι ἔρχεται ὥρα ὅτε οὔτε ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ οὔτε ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις προσκυνήσετε τῷ πατρί. 22 ὑμεῖς προσκυνεῖτε ὃ οὐκ οἴδατε· ἡμεῖς προσκυνοῦμεν ὃ οἴδαμεν, ὅτι ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἐστίν. 23 ἀλλὰ ἔρχεται ὥρα καὶ νῦν ἐστιν, ὅτε οἱ ἀληθινοὶ προσκυνηταὶ προσκυνήσουσιν τῷ πατρὶ ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθείᾳ· καὶ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ τοιούτους ζητεῖ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτόν. 24 πνεῦμα ὁ θεός, καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτὸν ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθείᾳ δεῖ προσκυνεῖν.
Yesterday a papyrologist stated without qualification that John could not have used anything from the σεβάζομαι word group to break up the repetition of προσκυνέω word group in Jn 4:21ff. My question is, why not?

I understand that the semantic domains of προσκυνέω word group only intersect at one point with the σεβάζομαι word group. However, if the author of the gospel had the σεβάζομαι word group at his disposal, why would it be impossible to make use of it in this context? I suspect the answer will be σεβάζομαι has to do with veneration, not actual acts of worship. Whereas προσκυνέω has to do with a physical act performed in worship. However, I am not sure this distinction is air tight.

Perhaps we could flip the question around. Could Paul have used the προσκυνέω word group in Rom. 1:25?
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 959
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: σεβάζομαι vs προσκυνέω

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » October 31st, 2014, 4:19 pm

Here we find the two word groups used in the same context.
Dan. 14:3 καὶ ἦν εἴδωλον, Βηλ, ὃ ἐσέβοντο οἱ Βαβυλώνιοι· ἀνηλίσκετο δὲ αὐτῷ καθ᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν σεμιδάλεως ἀρτάβαι δέκα δύο καὶ πρόβατα τέσσαρα καὶ ἐλαίου μετρηταὶ ἕξ. 4 καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐσέβετο αὐτόν, καὶ ἐπορεύετο ὁ βασιλεὺς καθ᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν καὶ προσεκύνει αὐτῷ· Δανιηλ δὲ προσηύχετο πρὸς κύριον. 5 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεὺς τῷ Δανιηλ Διὰ τί οὐ προσκυνεῖς τῷ Βηλ; καὶ εἶπε Δανιηλ πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα Οὐδένα σέβομαι ἐγὼ εἰ μὴ κύριον τὸν θεὸν τὸν κτίσαντα τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ἔχοντα πάσης σαρκὸς κυριείαν.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 959
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: σεβάζομαι vs προσκυνέω

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » November 2nd, 2014, 2:49 pm

W. Foerster TDNT VII 171-172 asserts that σέβομαι is used for physical acts of visable worship, not just veneration and cites several examples incuding:
ὅπου γὰρ ἄνδρες θεοὺς μὲν σέβοιντο,
τὰ δὲ πολεμικὰ ἀσκοῖεν, πειθαρχεῖν δὲ μελετῷεν,
πῶς οὐκ εἰκὸς ἐνταῦθα πάντα μεστὰ ἐλπίδων ἀγαθῶν εἶναι;
— Xenophon Hist., Hellenica 3.4.18

Rom. 1:25 οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

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