John 21 ἀγαπάω / φιλέω

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John 21 ἀγαπάω / φιλέω

Postby Jason Hare » December 11th, 2011, 3:35 pm

Carl,

Do you think there is any significance as to a distinction between ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ when it is pointed out that only when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (with φιλῶ) did he become offended. He wasn't offended either time when he asked him if he loved him (with ἀγαπῶ). Do you think there's no significance to this at all? Just curious.
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Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα

Postby cwconrad » December 11th, 2011, 3:51 pm

Jason Hare wrote:Carl,

Do you think there is any significance as to a distinction between ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ when it is pointed out that only when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (with φιλῶ) did he become offended. He wasn't offended either time when he asked him if he loved him (with ἀγαπῶ). Do you think there's no significance to this at all? Just curious.


It is quite clear that he is offended, but I don't think the change of the verb is the reason so much as that the question is put to him for the third time, just as the question whether he wasn't one of Jesus' disciples had been asked him three times in the courtyard of the High Priest. The threefold denial of Chapter 18 has its parallel and reversal in the threefold reaffirmation in Chapter 21 -- as well as in the threefold designation of Peter as the shepherd of Jesus' flock.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα

Postby Jason Hare » December 11th, 2011, 5:02 pm

cwconrad wrote:Carl,
It is quite clear that he is offended, but I don't think the change of the verb is the reason so much as that the question is put to him for the third time, just as the question whether he wasn't one of Jesus' disciples had been asked him three times in the courtyard of the High Priest. The threefold denial of Chapter 18 has its parallel and reversal in the threefold reaffirmation in Chapter 21 -- as well as in the threefold designation of Peter as the shepherd of Jesus' flock.


Gotcha. So, you're saying he was offended because he was reminded of the denial? I thought that he wasn't offended at the question “ἀγαπᾷς με;” but was offended at the “φιλεῖς με;” because it implied that they had no intimate connection. I guess everyone has their opinions about that chapter, eh? (Kinda what you were pointing out from the beginning anyway.)
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Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα

Postby jeffreyrequadt » December 11th, 2011, 6:21 pm

I don't have access to Steve Runge's works (or to Steve Runge :) ); does he deal at all with the significance of choice in this passage--not just with regard to αγαπη/φιλη but with the other pairs that Carl referred to?
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Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα

Postby MAubrey » December 11th, 2011, 8:30 pm

Jason Hare wrote:Gotcha. So, you're saying he was offended because he was reminded of the denial? I thought that he wasn't offended at the question “ἀγαπᾷς με;” but was offended at the “φιλεῖς με;” because it implied that they had no intimate connection. I guess everyone has their opinions about that chapter, eh? (Kinda what you were pointing out from the beginning anyway.)


If there's any difference in meaning to be drawn out, its the opposite of the traditional one: ἀγαπῶ being "intimate" and φιλῶ being "brotherly." I'd say its more likely that ἀγαπῶ is simply a generic term for love and that φιλῶ was the "special" kind, where such a family-like bond was more ideal, which makes far more sense culturally. Read in that light along with Carl's explanation of why Peter was offended, the passage makes more sense than when ἀγαπῶ is spiritualized.
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Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα

Postby David Lim » December 11th, 2011, 9:48 pm

Jason Hare wrote:
cwconrad wrote:Carl,
It is quite clear that he is offended, but I don't think the change of the verb is the reason so much as that the question is put to him for the third time, just as the question whether he wasn't one of Jesus' disciples had been asked him three times in the courtyard of the High Priest. The threefold denial of Chapter 18 has its parallel and reversal in the threefold reaffirmation in Chapter 21 -- as well as in the threefold designation of Peter as the shepherd of Jesus' flock.


Gotcha. So, you're saying he was offended because he was reminded of the denial? I thought that he wasn't offended at the question “ἀγαπᾷς με;” but was offended at the “φιλεῖς με;” because it implied that they had no intimate connection. I guess everyone has their opinions about that chapter, eh? (Kinda what you were pointing out from the beginning anyway.)


Notice that the author writes: "λεγει αυτω το τριτον σιμων ιωνα φιλεις με ελυπηθη ο πετρος οτι ειπεν αυτω το τριτον φιλεις με και ειπεν αυτω κυριε συ παντα οιδας συ γινωσκεις οτι φιλω σε λεγει αυτω ο ιησους βοσκε τα προβατα μου". When read naturally, it implies to me that Jesus was essentially asking the same question three times, and it is precisely because he asked Peter not once or twice only but three times, as if he wanted Peter to reaffirm his love for him thrice, inasmuch as Peter had denied him thrice, that Peter was grieved. Furthermore, in the same sentence are two synonyms "οιδας" and "γινωσκεις" with no intended sharp distinction, which agrees with Carl's opinion about the author's style. Moreover, if we presume that any difference implies a distinction, then we have to explain the following parallels first:
{ Luke 11:43 , 20:46 }
{ John 14:23 , 16:27 }
{ Heb 12:6 , Rev 3:19 }
And there are some contrasts between "αγαπω"/"φιλω" and "μισω":
{ Matt 5:43 , John 3:19-20 }
{ { Matt 10:37 , Luke 14:26 } , John 12:25 , John 15:19 }
So I think that "αγαπω" and "φιλω" overlap in essentially the whole semantic domain corresponding to the English word "love", though each of course has specialised uses such as "φιλω" for "kiss".
δαυιδ λιμ
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The love words (Re: Gal 4:3 ἦμεν and ἤμεθα)

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » December 12th, 2011, 5:05 am

All who want to say something about that John passage should check the facts first. It's not too difficult to check a concordance or read BAGD entry of φιλεω which tells that the Father loves the Son, which means that φιλεω isn't any less divine than αγαπαω. Also in LXX a son of David loved his sister with αγαπη and because of that slept with her, and afterwards loathed her.

Another David already offered examples and pointed out the obvious: ελυπηθη ο πετρος οτι ειπεν αυτω το τριτον φιλεις με. It's weird how some expositions can just ignore this.

But still I think that in general there may be some nuance or distinction, something like what MAubrey said. Now this is only a far fetched theory, but I have been thinking about the possibility that αγαπαω means love that makes someone to do something, "action love" and φιλεω means love in a relationship, "relational love". But as many other words, they are so close to each other that John (or Jesus) might use them to strengthen the general idea of each other, not making an explicit distinction. That's a common feature in all languages and all discourses: the speaker can make only one point which more than one expressions, even though in other context the same expressions could be used to make distinctions.
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Re: John 21 ἀγαπάω / φιλέω

Postby David H Robinson » March 23rd, 2013, 9:05 am

A very late follow-on question, but prompted by my looking once again at that breakfast on the seashore. I wonder myself whether the question of what upset Peter finds a possible solution in the τὸ τρίτον of ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον• φιλεῖς με; where it seems to me that the sense is that at the third challenge, Jesus used a different verb, rather than that Peter was challenged 'three times' or 'for a third time'. I guess I might be helped by comparing other uses of definite article + ordinal, but I confess I'm not sure how to make such a search.
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Re: John 21 ἀγαπάω / φιλέω

Postby Justin Cofer » May 13th, 2013, 2:52 pm

David H Robinson wrote:A very late follow-on question, but prompted by my looking once again at that breakfast on the seashore. I wonder myself whether the question of what upset Peter finds a possible solution in the τὸ τρίτον of ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον• φιλεῖς με; where it seems to me that the sense is that at the third challenge, Jesus used a different verb, rather than that Peter was challenged 'three times' or 'for a third time'. I guess I might be helped by comparing other uses of definite article + ordinal, but I confess I'm not sure how to make such a search.



I agree with Eeli Kaikkonen that the references in BDAG need to be consulted and I agree with Carl that the reason Peter was grieved was not because of change of the verb but that the question is put to him three times.


And that the distinction cannot be maintained at any rate in this conversation is obvious from ver. 17; for if the words differed in meaning, it could not be said that “Peter was grieved because Jesus a third time said, φιλεῖς με”; because Jesus had not used these words three times.

Marcus Dods, The Gospel of St. John (New York: George H. Doran Company), 870.
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Re: John 21 ἀγαπάω / φιλέω

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » May 15th, 2013, 12:29 am

Wondering what the consensus of this forum is on Joly's treatment (Robert Joly, Le vocabulaire chrétien de l'amour est-il original? φιλειν et αγαπαν dans le grec antique).
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