I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

I need your help.

If not now, when?

If not you, who else? The other reader of this blog?!

But you kind of have to know a little Greek—or at least know the letters and basic ideas about conjugation.

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Here’s my problem: BDAG, the standard Κοίνη Greek lexicon, is telling me that someone used the word ἀγάπη in an inscription a long time ago, and a transcription of that inscription is in an 1885 book, Inscriptiones antiquae orae septentrionalis Ponti Euxini Graecae et Latinae, edited by B. Latyschev (isn’t Google Books amazing!).

BDAG also says that that the inscription is to be found at “359, 6” within this volume. But I can’t find any 359s! There’s no page 359. There’s no inscription 359! And in that case, what would the 6 be doing? I even did a search inside the volume for “359.” I can’t figure it out. One free book from my secret stash to anyone who can!

P.S. Here is what BDAG says in full: “[Ἀγάπη’s] paucity in general Greek literature may be due to a presumed colloquial flavor of the noun (but see IPontEux I, 359, 6 as parallel to 2 Cor 8:8 below). No such stigma attached to the use of the verb ἀγαπαω.”

P.P.S.: Here are links to the other two volumes of that series, volumes II and IV (volume III, BDAG says, was never published). I did wonder if BDAG got the volume number wrong. Apparently not, as best I can tell. But I’m still stumped.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

5 thoughts on “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends”

  1. Not having a print version either, i checked the Amazon “Look inside” version. Thankfully, αγαπη is close enough to the beginning of the book that Amazon includes it in their preview. There is not a typo.

    However, I think I found the problem. The note in BDAG that defines what “IPontEux” refers to specifically mentions the 2nd edition of vol. I published in 1916. The edition on Google books is the first ed. (published in 1885 if I read my roman numerals right.) Unfortunately the 1916 edition on Google is “no preview” but it does mention that it has over 500 pages, which should allow for an inscription 359. (From checking other references to IPontEux I in BDAG, I was able to determine that the first number (359) is the inscription number and the second number (6) is the line number–see the entry on γνωσις which you can look up in the edition on Google books).

    According to WorldCat, it looks like they do have second edition at USC, so you may be able to get it via inter-library loan.

    Hope that helps…

  2. Ah… it pays to be persistent. After posting the previous comment I tried one more google search and found an electronic copy of the 2nd edition with inscription 359 and αγαπα[ν] does occur on line 6.

    Here’s a link the Russian library website where you can download the whole book: http://www.library.chersonesos.org/showsection.php?section_code=4&lang=en (requires a DJVU reader which you can get here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/windjview/files/)

    However, I exported a PDF of just the stuff about inscription 359 (even includes a picture 😛 ) and uploaded it to my dropbox: http://db.tt/LH90YMG . Enjoy!

    Hopefully WordPress doesn’t think this comment is spam with all the links…

  3. Sweet!

    I took a crack at translating it (with some help from BDAG and LSJ) and came up with something like… “and now toward the citizens? ___?___ is being shown genuine love” I’m not sure what the subject of the verb is. How close am I?

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