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Posted: March 24th, 2014, 8:15 pm
by Mike Burke
What is the semantic range of meaning of ἀληθής (I mean the nominative feminine singular adjective used in John 8:17)?

Does it only mean "real," or "true," or can it also mean "valid," or "admissible" (which would seem to make more sense to me.)

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 24th, 2014, 9:30 pm
by Louis L Sorenson
What lexicons have you looked at?

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 24th, 2014, 9:38 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
From BDAG:

1. pert. to being truthful and honest, truthful, righteous, honest of pers. (Aeschyl., Thu.; IG XIV, 1071, 8; BGU 1024 VI., 17; 2 Esdr 17:2; Wsd 1:6; Jos., Ant. 8, 234) of Jesus Mt 22:16; Mk 12:14; J 7:18. Of God (Wsd 15:1; Philo, Spec. Leg. 1, 36; Jos., Bell. 7, 323; SibOr Fgm. 1, 10; 5, 499) J 3:33; 7:28 v.l.; 8:26; Ro 3:4; Dg 8:8. Gener. (opp. πλάνοι) 2 Cor 6:8. Of overseers and assistants D 15:1.
② pert. to being in accordance with fact, true of things, esp. that which is spoken: ῥῆμα (Gen 41:32; ParJer 2:9; 3:3) Hm 3:3f; 11:3. παροιμία (Soph., Ajax 664) 2 Pt 2:22. λόγος (Pind., O. 1, 28; Galen, in Hippocratis De Natura Hom., 29 p. 17, 26f Mewaldt; Dt 13:15; Jdth 11:10; Wsd 2:17; Philo; Just., A I, 3, 1) Dg 12:7. (τὰ) ἀληθῆ λέγειν (Soph., Ph. 345; Ps.-Demosth. 7, 43; POxy 37, 12 [I a.d.]; PStras 41, 18 [c. 250 a.d.]; 3 Macc 7:12; Jos., Vi. 286; Just., A II, 3, 5) J 19:35; GJs15:4; 23:2. τοῦτο ἀληθὲς (v.l. ἀληθῶς) εἴρηκας you have said this truly (lit., ‘as someth. true’; cp. Pla.; Ps.-Demosth. 59, 34 ταῦτʼ ἀληθῆ λέγω; Lucian, Fugit. 1) J 4:18; cp. 10:41 (πάντα ὅσα … ἀλ. like Jos., Ant. 8, 242). οὐδὲν ἀληθές Ac 14:19 v.l. (Oenomaus the Cynic in Eus., PE 5, 26, 4 says that in the oracles there is μηδὲν ἀληθὲς ἢ ἔνθεον). τἀληθῆ διδάσκειν Papias (2:3). γραφαί 1 Cl 45:2. Dependable μαρτυρία (PHal 1, 227 ἀληθῆ μαρτυρεῖν; Jos., Ant. 4, 219 μαρτυρία) J 5:31f; 8:13f, 17; 21:24; 3J 12; Tit 1:13.—κρίσις J 8:16 v.l.; γνῶσις Dg 12:6. As quest. τοῦτο ἀληθές; GJs 19:1, not pap. ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ Phil 4:8. ἀληθές ἐστιν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ψεῦδος (the contrast as Pla., Ep. 7 p. 344b; Philo, Rer. Div. Her. 132) 1J 2:27, cp. vs. 8; Hv 3, 4, 3.
3. pert. to being real, real, genuine, not imaginary (Thu. et al.; PTebt 285, 3; 293, 17; Pr 1:3; Wsd 12:27; Mel., P. 37 τῷ φύσει ἀληθεῖ) ἀγάπη Pol 1:1; MPol 1:2. χάρις 1 Pt 5:12. ζωή (Philo, Poster. Cai. 45) Dg 12:4. βρῶσις, πόσις of the body and blood of Jesus J 6:55. ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα ἀληθὲς εὑρεθῇ Hm 3:1. ἀ. ἐστιν τὸ γινόμενον διὰ τ. ἀγγέλου what was done by the angel is a reality Ac 12:9. ἔργα Qua (s. ἀεί 1 end). On μαθητὴς ἀ. IRo 4:2 s. ἀληθῶς b.—B. 1169. DELG s.v. λανθάνω. M-M. TW. Spicq. Sv.

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 24th, 2014, 11:11 pm
by Mike Burke
I checked Thayer's.

I know the Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon is available at the Bible hub, but is the NT Greek Lexicon available online?

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 24th, 2014, 11:15 pm
by Mike Burke
The footnotes to the New American Translation say that the word can also mean "valid, or admissible," and that fits the context (but doesn't seem to be listed in either Lexicon.)

And it doesn't really say, anywhere in the Old Testament, that the testimony of two men "is true."

(Is some kind of Greek idiom being used here?)

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 24th, 2014, 11:57 pm
by Mike Burke
P.S. I meant, is the Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich NT Greek Lexicon available online?

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 25th, 2014, 2:02 am
by Hefin J. Jones
The current edition of Bauer in english is not freely available online - BDAG (Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich) 2000/2001 Uni Chicago Press, though digital editions of it are available.

Neither, as far as I am aware, are its two precursors, BAGD (1979) and BAG (1957). They are all well within copyright, and I'd guess UCP are pretty keen to maintain their rights.

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 25th, 2014, 3:27 am
by Louis L Sorenson
Mike asked:
What is the semantic range of meaning of ἀληθής (I mean the nominative feminine singular adjective used in John 8:17)? Does it only mean "real," or "true," or can it also mean "valid," or "admissible" (which would seem to make more sense to me.)
What do you think the range of the meaning of the ἀληθής is after looking through the BDAG entry posted by Barry H? Read through the entry, then look at the LSJ entries.

The only really valuable NT lexicons that are available online are Thayer and Abbott-Smith. The BDAG/BAGD lexicon is under copyright, and you will not have access to that lexicon unless you purchase it - a used copy of the 2nd edition will cost you about $20 US dollars - the 2nd edition dates from the 1970's, but it is still of great value. You need to do your homework -- the LSJ (Liddell-Scott-Jones) and Middle Liddell are available on the Perseus.tufts site - these are lexicons that include all the NT lemma, but which are focused on a wider range of literature (Homer-500 A.D.). But note: NT Greek is not a special language - The NT writings are Greek writings just the same as writings by Plutarch, Euripides, Plato, Epictetus, Aristotle, ktl.

Look at (It gives online access to the LSJ lexicons). You will have to type in the word you are looking for. Another instance of this lexicon, is the University of Chicago's Logeion site:

Are you reading through John, or are you simply asking us on the B-Greek forum for a quick answer? Quick answers is not what this forum is about. Mike, your questions always seem to revolve around theology or theological interpretations of texts (for which you are looking for a more explicit explanation) or personal application of Scripture to your personal situation --- but not reading exercises in Greek primers or reading through a passage. And there is nothing wrong with your questions -- but our forum is for people who can read NT Greek or who are trying to read Greek. You cannot use Greek as a go-to only when you need an answer about a NT text you are questioning. On THIS forum, we ask members who make posts to be actively involved in learning the language. That does not mean checking grammars or other works for passages which explain Greek texts that they are interested in - and then asking the members of this forum to elucidate on those passages or commentaries. Learning the language means in the most simple situation, that a person is proceeding through a 1st year grammar (primer). There are many of these grammars online - either available as a pdf or in html, as Shirley's and Michael Palmer's sites.

It takes a long time to learn a second language. Learning Greek is no different than learning Latin, Hebrew, German, French, or Spanish. Learning NT Greek can open a whole new world to the student of the NT, but the student of the NT who is not able to read NT Greek, but who has to rely only on translations, can through English translations get most of the answers they are looking for. I feel (as a B-Greek moderator) that many of your questions are being asked from a person who reads the NT in English, and only consults the Greek, when you are looking for the answer you desire. I've read through all of your posts, and understand a little of where you are coming from and your personal struggles (many of which I also have experienced). What I encourage you to do is to take the long view - and learn to read NT Greek. There are many other forums that welcome your questions - This forum is for students, readers, and teachers of Greek.

Do you have any questions about the BDAG (or other lexicon) citations on ἀληθής?

Re: ἀληθής in John 8:17 & Balanced language learning

Posted: March 25th, 2014, 5:34 am
by Stephen Hughes
John 8:17 wrote:17 Καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ δὲ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ γέγραπται ὅτι δύο ἀνθρώπων ἡ μαρτυρία ἀληθής ἐστιν.
Please quote the verses in Greek when you are discussing a word in a context.

This type of question is not suitable for your level. It is enough for you to memorise;
  • μαρτυρία, testimony
    ἀληθής, true
    ἐστιν, is
At this stage memorise the most simple definitions possible.

As an ESL teacher I have had students who have dived in the deep end without learning to swim, and they spend so much effort trying to stay afloat that they have no time to learn the language.

When your overall language level reaches intermediate or upper-intermediate, it will be suitable for you to look at nuances of meaning such as you are doing here.

Re: ἀληθής

Posted: March 25th, 2014, 1:51 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Louis L Sorenson wrote:The only really valuable NT lexicons that are available online are Thayer and Abbott-Smith.
I agree. I just posted Abbott-Smith here: ... smith.html

No search / navigation at this point, you have to scroll. You just might get lucky adding the word you want to look up like this:

Code: Select allἀληθής
Doesn't work for all words, but it does for most.