Who knows Greek?

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by CRfromQld, May 23, 2022.

  1. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    If I want to sign my letters "Love, Name" but using "agape" what would be the correct spelling?

    Agape
    Chris
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Αγάπη
    Κρις
     
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  3. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'd probably go with χρις rather than κρις for the name. "Chris" starts with "Ch" like "Christ", and Christ is rendered in Koine as Χριστος. A chi is more appropriate than a kappa, I think.

    This Greek convention, incidentally, is where the Chi-Rho christogram found in many biblical manuscripts as a shorthand way of writing the name of Christ comes from. (It also was used in heraldry.) It appears on all sorts of things in the Christian world: vestments, banners, etc.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2022
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  4. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Mε αγάπη, name

    (Anglicisation: Me agápi)
     
  5. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm wondering if one should use φιλέω (phileo) rather than αγάπη here as an expression of personal affection towards another person? See here.
     
  6. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    So it seems "Agape, Chris" would be acceptable without having to actually use Greek letters.
     
  7. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    @Ananias, I'm thinking of John 13:33-35 where agape is used, as also in 1 Corinthians 13.
    Phileo is more personal and might not be appropriate in all cases whereas agape would be.

    Now that is a really interesting link you gave for Agape vs. Phileo. It puts a different slant on John 21:15 - 17. I recommend it to other readers.
     
  8. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes, the Greek words for "love" present some difficulties for English speakers, because we use the English "love" as a catch-all for all kinds of emotions. (I love my dog, I love my new car, I love my mom, I love my wife, I love ice cream, I love the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky.) We use "love" as a situational word for concepts of affection, affinity, contentment, satisfaction, obsession, attraction (sexual and otherwise), and so on. "Love" in English is a very complicated word, and extremely context-sensitive.

    Koine Greek instead uses several words for these concepts (and compound words composed of the roots). Phileo is the concept of filial love, or "brotherhood" (which is why Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love -- phileo + adelphos). Agape is the highest kind of love, selfless, sacrificing, pure. Eros is (usually) sexual or carnal love. And storge is generally used for familial love, a kind of instinctive love one might have for one's mother or father.

    The apostolic writings tend to use phileo and agape somewhat interchangeably...or at least it appears that way sometimes. But if you read more closely (as in the section from James), you see that often a point is being made between the earthly affection between two individuals and the pure, sacrificial love Christ has towards us (and optimally, that we should have for each other).

    Scholars argue about word-usage in the Biblical texts a lot, and about how deliberate it is. (And the difficulties of translation compound this problem.) Paul used an amanuensis, and modern scholars often wonder how much latitude Paul gave his scribes in crafting the actual language. I'm of the opinion that Paul chose his words deliberately, and that he was very strict about having his own words put down. His style is quite distinctive, and it comes out of his letters (even his "disputed" ones).

    James*, on the other hand, was not as educated or widely-traveled as Paul, and his Greek is rougher than Paul's. He may have used an amanuensis as well, but I still hear the voice of James -- so I still think that his word-choice is significant.

    I know that this all text-critical stuff sounds tedious to people who aren't that into it, but it opens some fascinating doors when exegeting the text for study or sermon-preparation.

    *Speaking of language frustrations, it will never stop being weird to me how we got from Ἰάκωβος (Iacobus, or Jacob) to James in English.
     
  9. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Then, it seems to me, simply to make sense to write the entire thing in English, i.e. 'Love, Chris'.
     
  10. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    As Ananias points out the use of "love" loses distinction as to what kind of love is intended. Especially if I write to a woman closing with Love, Chris could be taken the wrong way. (possibly leading to complaints of sexual harassment, public pillory, etc.)
     
  11. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do agree that we live in a world full of snowflakes. Perhaps better not to use any word of that nature when you don't want to be misunderstood. Use 'agape', which most will not understand ... person searches its meaning, most probably finding the translation, 'love', ... all you're anticipated problems arise.