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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

ἐπιτιμάω - Part V

Since we have worked through all the synonyms of πιτιμάω which have to do with telling people what to do and what not to do, it is time to turn to the question of how to speak sharply to people, i.e., the thing that the core meaning of the English word rebuke emphasizes. For telling people things they don’t want to hear, Louw & Nida list the words, ἐπιπλήσσω, ὀνειδίζω, ἐμβριμάομαι, νουθετέω,and ἐλέγχω (See Rebuke 33.417-422). ἐλέγχω is an interesting enough word that I will dedicate a post to it alone; in the rest of this post I will address the other four words.

I should make it clear at the outset that I disagree with the interpretation that all these verbs have the emotionally negative component that is implicit in the gloss ‘rebuke’. I believe that some of them are neutral. The neutral ones are, I believe, misread because they occur in contexts where the communication has a negative effect on the hearers. As has been my practice throughout this series, I will look at the words one by one.

Let me dispense with ἐπιπλήσσω first. It is a hapax legomenon in the NT. In classical Greek it meant something like ‘to criticize (harshly)’. (LSJ say ‘chastise’ esp. with words.) But there are plenty of words in the NT that mean ‘criticize’ (ανακρινω, διακρινομαι, ανταποκρινομαι, and μωμαομαι). The context of the one verse in which it appears (I Tim. 5:1) gives a clue to the NT meaning. (As is my custom, the translations are the GNB and the suggestions are revised from the basic GNB translation.)

1Tim. 5:1

1 πρεσβυτερω μη επιπληξης αλλα παρακαλει ως πατερα νεωτερους ως αδελφους

1 Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers,

Better: 1 Do not speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers,

Here ἐπιπλήσσω seems to focus on the severity of the speech act, not its content. This makes all the more sense if the metaphor of striking (πληγ-) is still active in NT times. I think this is likely the case. πλήσσω occurs with a literal reading in Rev. 8:21.

Even though ἐπιπλήσσω occurs only once in the NT, its appearance is important, because if ἐπιπλήσσω focuses on speaking harshly, then it is significant that the writers of the NT DO NOT use ἐπιπλήσσω much. I’ll have more to say about that in a later post.

Now let us turn to the next word which clearly represents speaking harshly to someone, ὀνειδίζω. LSJ use the word reproach a lot in their definition of the various words related to ὀνειδίζω. They also cite the early modern English idiom cast in one’s teeth. What’s missing in their definition is that ὀνειδίζω is something you do face to face with the person you ὀνειδίζεις. It occurs nine times.

Clearly face-to-face (4)

Matt. 27:44

44 το δ αυτο και οι λησται οι συσταυρωθεντες συν αυτω ωνειδιζον αυτον

44 Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.

Mark 15:32

32 ο χριστος ο βασιλευς ισραηλ καταβατω νυν απο του σταυρου ινα ιδωμεν και πιστευσωμεν και οι συνεσταυρωμενοι συν αυτω ωνειδιζον αυτον

32 Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!" And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.

Mark 16:14

14 υστερον ανακειμενοις αυτοις τοις ενδεκα εφανερωθη και ωνειδισεν την απιστιαν αυτων και σκληροκαρδιαν οτι τοις θεασαμενοις αυτον εγηγερμενον ουκ επιστευσαν

14 Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive.

Rom. 15:3

3 και γαρ ο χριστος ουχ εαυτω ηρεσεν αλλα καθως γεγραπται οι ονειδισμοι των ονειδιζοντων σε επεπεσαν επ εμε

3 For Christ did not please himself. Instead, as the scripture says, "The insults which are hurled at you have fallen on me."

Ambiguous, but probably face-to-face (5)

Matt. 5:11

11 μακαριοι εστε οταν ονειδισωσιν υμας και διωξωσιν και ειπωσιν παν πονηρον καθ υμων ψευδομενοι ενεκεν εμου

11 "Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.

Matt. 11:20

20 τοτε ηρξατο ονειδιζειν τας πολεις εν αις εγενοντο αι πλεισται δυναμεις αυτου οτι ου μετενοησαν

20 The people in the towns where Jesus had performed most of his miracles did not turn from their sins, so he reproached those towns.

Luke 6:22

22 μακαριοι εστε οταν μισησωσιν υμας οι ανθρωποι και οταν αφορισωσιν υμας και ονειδισωσιν και εκβαλωσιν το ονομα υμων ως πονηρον ενεκα του υιου του ανθρωπου

22 "Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son of Man!

Jam. 1:5

5 ει δε τις υμων λειπεται σοφιας αιτειτω παρα του διδοντος θεου πασιν απλως και μη ονειδιζοντος και δοθησεται αυτω

5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. (lit. not scolding)

1Pe. 4:14

14 ει ονειδιζεσθε εν ονοματι χριστου μακαριοι οτι το της δοξης και το του θεου πνευμα εφ υμας αναπαυεται

14 Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ's followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

The range of English words that imply face-to-face interaction of this sort include: scold, bawl out, dress down, reprimand, tell off, yell at, etc. and, with further implications about the content of the communication, humiliate, taunt, and belittle, among others. Words that are typically, but not necessarily, face-to-face include insult, revile, put down, berate, deride. ὀνειδίζω seems to have both these senses, one which is about the unpleasantness of the communication as a whole, as in Mark 16:14, and the other of which is implies that the thing said is nasty, as in Matt. 5:11.

Mark 16:14

14 υστερον ανακειμενοις αυτοις τοις ενδεκα εφανερωθη και ωνειδισεν την απιστιαν αυτων και σκληροκαρδιαν οτι τοις θεασαμενοις αυτον εγηγερμενον ουκ επιστευσαν

14 Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive.

Better: 14 Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He bawled them out, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive.

Matt. 5:11

11 μακαριοι εστε οταν ονειδισωσιν υμας και διωξωσιν και ειπωσιν παν πονηρον καθ υμων ψευδομενοι ενεκεν εμου

11 "Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.

Or perhaps: 11 "Happy are you when people belittle you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.

In glossing Mark 16:14, bawl out seems better than scold to me, because scolding seems to be prototypically between a parent (or someone in loco parentis) and a child. What adults with appropriate authority do is bawl out their underlings or maybe dress them down. Yell at is a general word. It works between social equals, but it could be used here. (Bringing up the point that some people will object that Jesus wasn’t like that. But that’s a matter for a later post.) Reprimand doesn’t work because it implies an official act. It’s what bosses do to their employees or military officers do to their subordinates to put the misdeed on record.

Next we come to ἐμβριμάομαι. This is an interesting word. In classical Greek it referred to forceful exhaling of animals, i.e., ‘snort’, based on a root that means ‘roar’. It could refer to indignation. Think of it as ‘harumph’. It’s used in this sense in the NT.

Mark 14:5

5 ηδυνατο γαρ τουτο το μυρον πραθηναι επανω δηναριων τριακοσιων και δοθηναι τοις πτωχοις και ενεβριμωντο αυτη

5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!" And they criticized her harshly.

Better: 5 “It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!” They were indignant with her.

And more generally it can be used to indicate the forcefulness of a speech act.

Matt. 9:30

30 και ηνεωχθησαν αυτων οι οφθαλμοι και ενεβριμηθη αυτοις ο ιησους λεγων ορατε μηδεις γινωσκετω

30 and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, "Don't tell this to anyone!"

Better: 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus told them in no uncertain terms, "Don't tell this to anyone!"

But ἐμβριμάομαι seems never to have completely lost the sense that it had to do with how one expels air. Unless you think of it in this way, it is a complete mystery as to why John can use it to convey that a person has been deeply affected by the situation. I’d argue that it actually means ‘he sighed’.

John 11:33

33 ιησους ουν ως ειδεν αυτην κλαιουσαν και τους συνελθοντας αυτη ιουδαιους κλαιοντας ενεβριμησατο τω πνευματι και εταραξεν εαυτον

33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved.

Better: 33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; he sighed deeply and was moved to his very core.

Notice that if you read ἐμβριμάομαι this way, this verse is not redundant.

Now let us turn to the last word for this post, νουθετέω. I’ll argue that νουθετέω is not inherently negative. Etymologically νουθετέω means ‘put [something] in someone’s mind’ or in the English idiom ‘put someone in mind of’. From there it comes to mean ‘warn, admonish’ which is how it is commonly used in Classical Greek. The semantic shift would be: ‘give someone information’ > ‘give someone information for a reason’ > ‘give someone information that they need to take into account’ > ‘give someone information that they need to take into account or something bad will happen’. LSJ also cite places where it means ‘give someone information that they need to take into account’. Their gloss is ‘advise concerning’.

In the NT νουθετέω occurs six times in contexts where it seems more to have to do with teaching than with warning or advising. Two of the eight times it occurs, it is explicitly about teaching, as shown by the fact it is conjoined with διδασκω.

Col. 1:28

28 ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω

28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.

Better: 28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we instruct and teach them in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.

Col. 3:16

16 ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις υμνοις ωδαις πνευματικαις εν τη χαριτι αδοντες εν ταις καρδιαις υμων τω θεω

16 Christ's message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts.

The other four times it occurs where the context suggests teaching or instruction rather than warning are as follows: (N.B., all of these cases are translated accordingly in the GNB.)

Acts 20:31

31 διο γρηγορειτε μνημονευοντες οτι τριετιαν νυκτα και ημεραν ουκ επαυσαμην μετα δακρυων νουθετων ενα εκαστον

31 Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught every one of you for three years.

Rom. 15:14

14 πεπεισμαι δε αδελφοι μου και αυτος εγω περι υμων οτι και αυτοι μεστοι εστε αγαθωσυνης πεπληρωμενοι πασης της γνωσεως δυναμενοι και αλληλους νουθετειν

14 My friends: I myself feel sure that you are full of goodness, that you have all knowledge, and that you are able to teach one another.

1 Cor. 4:14

14 ουκ εντρεπων υμας γραφω ταυτα αλλ ως τεκνα μου αγαπητα νουθετων

14 I write this to you, not because I want to make you feel ashamed, but to instruct you as my own dear children.

1Th. 5:12

12 ερωτωμεν δε υμας αδελφοι ειδεναι τους κοπιωντας εν υμιν και προισταμενους υμων εν κυριω και νουθετουντας υμας

12 We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life.

Note that in this last verse, 1Th. 5:12, Paul also uses νουθετέω conjoined with a verb, προισταμαι, in the same general semantic sphere as teaching, again suggesting a reading of teaching rather than warning.

The remaining two instances are translated ‘warn’ in the GNB.

1Th. 5:14

14 παρακαλουμεν δε υμας αδελφοι νουθετειτε τους ατακτους παραμυθεισθε τους ολιγοψυχους αντεχεσθε των ασθενων μακροθυμειτε προς παντας

14 We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

2Th. 3:15

15 και μη ως εχθρον ηγεισθε αλλα νουθετειτε ως αδελφον

15 But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

But either of these contexts would make equally good sense rendered as teach, if the particular kind of teaching were focused on proper behavior rather than on head knowledge. (This is also the conclusion of L&N, footnote pg. 414.) Such an interpretation would make perfect sense for the conjunction of νουθετέω with διδασκω, as Paul uses it in Colossians. Teach the doctrines of the faith (διδασκω) and their practical application (νουθετέω). However, to track this down completely, a full analysis of all the verbs of teaching (διδασκω, παιδευω, κατηχεω, σωφρονιζω, εντρεφω, et al.) would be necessary, but that is too far afield for a study of πιτιμάω.

Appendix

ἐμβριμάομαι

Matt. 9:30

30 και ηνεωχθησαν αυτων οι οφθαλμοι και ενεβριμηθη αυτοις ο ιησους λεγων ορατε μηδεις γινωσκετω

30 and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, "Don't tell this to anyone!"

Mark 1:43

43 και εμβριμησαμενος αυτω ευθυς εξεβαλεν αυτον

43 Then Jesus spoke sternly to him and sent him away at once,

Mark 14:5

5 ηδυνατο γαρ τουτο το μυρον πραθηναι επανω δηναριων τριακοσιων και δοθηναι τοις πτωχοις και ενεβριμωντο αυτη

5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!" And they criticized her harshly.

John 11:33

33 ιησους ουν ως ειδεν αυτην κλαιουσαν και τους συνελθοντας αυτη ιουδαιους κλαιοντας ενεβριμησατο τω πνευματι και εταραξεν εαυτον

33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved.

John 11:38

38 ιησους ουν παλιν εμβριμωμενος εν εαυτω ερχεται εις το μνημειον ην δε σπηλαιον και λιθος επεκειτο επ αυτω

38 Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance.

ἐπιπλήσσω

1Tim. 5:1

1 πρεσβυτερω μη επιπληξης αλλα παρακαλει ως πατερα νεωτερους ως αδελφους

1 Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers,

ὀνειδέζω

Matt. 5:11

11 μακαριοι εστε οταν ονειδισωσιν υμας και διωξωσιν και ειπωσιν παν πονηρον καθ υμων ψευδομενοι ενεκεν εμου

11 "Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.

Matt. 11:20

20 τοτε ηρξατο ονειδιζειν τας πολεις εν αις εγενοντο αι πλεισται δυναμεις αυτου οτι ου μετενοησαν

20 The people in the towns where Jesus had performed most of his miracles did not turn from their sins, so he reproached those towns.

Matt. 27:44

44 το δ αυτο και οι λησται οι συσταυρωθεντες συν αυτω ωνειδιζον αυτον

44 Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.

Mark 15:32

32 ο χριστος ο βασιλευς ισραηλ καταβατω νυν απο του σταυρου ινα ιδωμεν και πιστευσωμεν και οι συνεσταυρωμενοι συν αυτω ωνειδιζον αυτον

32 Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!" And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.

Mark 16:14

14 υστερον ανακειμενοις αυτοις τοις ενδεκα εφανερωθη και ωνειδισεν την απιστιαν αυτων και σκληροκαρδιαν οτι τοις θεασαμενοις αυτον εγηγερμενον ουκ επιστευσαν

14 Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive.

Luke 6:22

22 μακαριοι εστε οταν μισησωσιν υμας οι ανθρωποι και οταν αφορισωσιν υμας και ονειδισωσιν και εκβαλωσιν το ονομα υμων ως πονηρον ενεκα του υιου του ανθρωπου

22 "Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son of Man!

Rom. 15:3

3 και γαρ ο χριστος ουχ εαυτω ηρεσεν αλλα καθως γεγραπται οι ονειδισμοι των ονειδιζοντων σε επεπεσαν επ εμε

3 For Christ did not please himself. Instead, as the scripture says, "The insults which are hurled at you have fallen on me."

Jam. 1:5

5 ει δε τις υμων λειπεται σοφιας αιτειτω παρα του διδοντος θεου πασιν απλως και μη ονειδιζοντος και δοθησεται αυτω

5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.

1Pe. 4:14

14 ει ονειδιζεσθε εν ονοματι χριστου μακαριοι οτι το της δοξης και το του θεου πνευμα εφ υμας αναπαυεται

14 Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ's followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

νουθετέω

Acts 20:31

31 διο γρηγορειτε μνημονευοντες οτι τριετιαν νυκτα και ημεραν ουκ επαυσαμην μετα δακρυων νουθετων ενα εκαστον

31 Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught every one of you for three years.

Rom. 15:14

14 πεπεισμαι δε αδελφοι μου και αυτος εγω περι υμων οτι και αυτοι μεστοι εστε αγαθωσυνης πεπληρωμενοι πασης | της | [της] | γνωσεως δυναμενοι και αλληλους νουθετειν

14 My friends: I myself feel sure that you are full of goodness, that you have all knowledge, and that you are able to teach one another.

1 Cor. 4:14

14 ουκ εντρεπων υμας γραφω ταυτα αλλ ως τεκνα μου αγαπητα νουθετων

14 I write this to you, not because I want to make you feel ashamed, but to instruct you as my own dear children.

Col. 1:28

28 ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω

28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.

Col. 3:16

16 ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις υμνοις ωδαις πνευματικαις εν | | [τη] | χαριτι αδοντες εν ταις καρδιαις υμων τω θεω

16 Christ's message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts.

1Th. 5:12

12 ερωτωμεν δε υμας αδελφοι ειδεναι τους κοπιωντας εν υμιν και προισταμενους υμων εν κυριω και νουθετουντας υμας

12 We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life.

1Th. 5:14

14 παρακαλουμεν δε υμας αδελφοι νουθετειτε τους ατακτους παραμυθεισθε τους ολιγοψυχους αντεχεσθε των ασθενων μακροθυμειτε προς παντας

14 We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

2Th. 3:15

15 και μη ως εχθρον ηγεισθε αλλα νουθετειτε ως αδελφον

15 But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

3 Comments:

At Thu Jul 20, 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Thu Jul 20, 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Better: 33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; he sighed deeply and was moved to his very core.

I thnk this sounds very good. The feel that air is being expelled. It is a very evocative wrod, lots of feel to it.

Better: 14 Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating. He bawled them out, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive.

I take exception to this since surely 'belitte' or 'disgrace' can be done without making a lot of noise. "Dress down" sounds right.

For επιπληξης I think the metaphor might be more like 'cast something at someone' rather than strike them. "Throw words at them." I'm not sure about this. In any case, it has a very low frequency in classical Greek as well - it simply is a low frequency word.

 
At Fri Jul 21, 01:00:00 PM, Blogger lingamish said...

I have some kind of hang up about "bawled them out" for that verse. Maybe it's a slightly more informal register than I would expect. I can imagine a coach bawling out his players for poor play, but something's wrong about bawling someone out for not trusting them. Sounds like a person with anger-control issues!

Thanks for this very rich series of posts. I'm learning a lot about the breadth of Greek vocabulary.

 

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