aspazomai meanings

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
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david zaitzeff
Posts: 2
Joined: August 25th, 2011, 12:31 pm

aspazomai meanings

Post by david zaitzeff » August 25th, 2011, 12:45 pm

25 years ago, I went to a church in which it was normal to hug in greeting (all or nearly all) and it was even often done that one kissed in greeting friends. And since then I have visited other churches in which people hug and kiss much less in greeting . . . and that has indirectly led to a discussion of what the Bible meant by its instruction re greetings in romans 16:16 and parallels.

I recently had a friend tell me he thought I was reading hugging into the Bible, and I responded by saying that I thought that aspazomai included it by implication in its meaning. That led to my having to research this more carefully and to the following internet chat with two Greeks I quickly found on Bearshare.

requesting help with a Greek word
DUC750:
type the word...
zaitzefff:
it is koine Greek; aspadzomai is the transliteration
DUC750:
that means....i accept
zaitzefff:
usually translated as salut or greet, but may contain the idea of hug or embrace
zaitzefff:
do the Greeks currently have a different word meaning to greet, or do you use aspadzomai?
zaitzefff:
by the way, thanks in advance for help with the word.
DUC750:
a ok ...aspazome...is the hug..or the kiss.....
zaitzefff:
aspazome means to hug or to kiss in greeting, or simply to greet, without hugging or kissing?
zaitzefff:
obviously, in a letter, it is figurative.
DUC750:
as the matter of fact is the kiss...filao is the same with aspazome..
zaitzefff:
So, if you have instructions to aspadzome someone, that would mean, kiss them in greeting or, to hug and kiss them in greeting, rather than, to simply say "hi"?
zaitzefff:
The examples I am thinking of are two:
zaitzefff:
aspadzome one another with a holy kiss
zaitzefff:
and he aspodzmed them and then left for Macedonia
DUC750:
if 2 persons are good friends,or lovers or they are family...you can use the word aspazome.othrwise use the word grreting..without hug or kiss.
zaitzefff:
is there another word for greeting which is without hug or kiss?
DUC750:
yes wave!
zaitzefff:
and, aspazome normally includes the hug as well as the kiss?
DUC750:
thumbs up sign

zaitzefff:
by the way, thanks much for the help. Am I able to be of help in some way?
DUC750:
youare welkome..thank you..it is ok
zaitzefff:
k
zaitzefff:
kal emera . . . if I remember it right!
zaitzefff:
how do we say hope that is good day!
DUC750:
ok kalimera..
DUC750:
in greks/
DUC750:
greeks?
zaitzefff:
in Greek
DUC750:
ok...elpizo na ine mia kali mera
zaitzefff:
right; I was trying to remember the last 2 words; I studied a semester of Biblical Greek 30 years ago
zaitzefff:
and I remember how to say the basic greeting kali mera
DUC750:
look..kalimera is one word..and means good morning
zaitzefff:
oh, ok!
DUC750:
kali mera is 2 words ..means good day!
zaitzefff:
tis all for today . . . I wish you well and thanks much! Happiness to you and the gal in your photo!

***
zaitzefff:
and requesting help with a Greek word
xristoforos1992:
?
zaitzefff:
with the word aspadzomai, meaning to greet
xristoforos1992:
if you use it for a fraze it means that you agree with it and u use it too
xristoforos1992:
but if also means when you kiss someone with respect
xristoforos1992:
like the hand
xristoforos1992:
or the forhead
xristoforos1992:
we usually use it for the second reason
zaitzefff:
k; think I understand
xristoforos1992:
nice

***

This is what we know so far . . . was there another word for "greet" which meant a less affectionate greeting, back in NT times? duc750 seems to suggest a form of ave, which he wrote as wave but I think would have been have.

Anyone know more about this?
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david zaitzeff
Posts: 2
Joined: August 25th, 2011, 12:31 pm

Re: aspazomai meanings

Post by david zaitzeff » August 27th, 2011, 2:39 pm

current learning/view

1) There is a word in koine and modern Greek for hug. It is ankaliazo. (In Greek, it is spelt agkaliazo, but if I remember correctly, the g becomes an n sound when placed before a k.) The word is used twice in the New Testament, when speaking of Jesus holding the little children, while receiving or blessing them. It can also mean to hold in the arms.

2) The word used in romans 16:16 and elsewhere and translated as greet or salut is aspazomai. Generally people hugged and kissed in greeting, but not always, and the word at times probably refers to verbal greetings only, as in Luke 1, where the angel greets Mary and perhaps when Mary and Elizabeth greet and the unborn John the Baptist hears the greeting of Mary to Elizabeth. Though, if they were cousins and knew each other, they would likely have hugged and kissed in greeting.

3) The meaning of words changes over time, and the word aspazomai became associated with the instruction of greeting to Christians to greet with a kiss, in Christian cultures. Today, in modern Greek, a different word is used in romans 16 for greet and it is chairetizo. As in many other southern and mid-european languages, the koine Greek word originally meaning "to greet" has come to mean to hug & kiss, or to hug & kiss in greeting, or even to kiss an object in reverence for it or what it represents. Some modern Greek speakers today recognize this word and some are puzzled over it until shown it clearly in context. In addition to meaning to kiss in greeting, it can also mean to embrace an idea or saying, to agree with it and say it also. We see this usage in Hebrews 11 . . . and modern Greek speakers still know it.

4) does the use of aspazomai in Romans 16:16 imply that one should hug in greeting or that Christians were instructed by Paul to hug in greeting? I don't think we can say that at this point, although the general way of greeting was to hug and to kiss, at least when between friends, family and lovers. Acts 25:13 tells us that Agrippa and Bernice went to Caesarea to greet Festus. Did they hug and kiss him, or just say Hail Festus! ? Luke 1 says that the angel greeted Mary . . . I think angels can hug people, but I don't know if he did in this case!

5) the way that the ancient Greek Christians understood the instruction of romans 16:16 was to hug and kiss in greeting, and this is why aspazomai has come to mean this. At least, this is the most sensible reason I would think of as to why aspazomai has come to mean to hug and kiss.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: aspazomai meanings

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 29th, 2011, 7:48 am

BDAG does not list "kiss" or "hug" as a meaning for ἀσπάζομαι, but it does say "among friends the greeting is accompanied by a kiss". The description also implies that when you greet a king or other dignity, you don't kiss him.

The words ἀσπάζομαι and φίλημα frequently occur together in the New Testament. In Paul, the phrase ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ or ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι is used as a fixed expression:
  • Matthew 26:49 καὶ εὐθέως προσελθὼν τῷ Ἰησοῦ εἶπεν· χαῖρε, ῥαββεί· καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν.
  • Romans 16:16 ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ. ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς αἱ ἐκκλησίαι πᾶσαι τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
  • I Corinthians 16:20 ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες. ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ.
  • II Corinthians 13:12 ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι. ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἅγιοι πάντες.
  • I Thessalonians 5:26 ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς πάντας ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ.
  • I Peter 5:14 ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης.
LSJ suggests that kiss or embrace can be part of the implied meaning of ἀσπάζομαι:
LSJ wrote:2. from the modes of salutation in use, kiss, embrace, Ar.V.607; “ἀ. τοῖς στόμασι” Plu.Rom.1; of dogs, fawn, X. Mem.2.3.9, Pl.R.376a; cling fondly to, “ἴσον σ᾽ ὡς τεκοῦσ᾽ ἀσπάζομαι” E.Ion1363, cf. X.Cyr.1.3.2; “ἐγὼ ὑμᾶς ἀ. καὶ φιλῶ” Pl.Ap.29d: metaph., “φιλεῖν καὶ ἀ. τὸ ἄδικον” Id.Lg.689a.
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