Sunday, April 21, 2013

BDAG on BASILEUS

I have the BDAG Greek-English Lexicon in print, but do not own the electronic form. It's a little much to type out. So I'll just post a brief snippet and those who want to consult BDAG may do so at their convenience.

BDAG notes that BASILEUS denotes "one who rules as possessor of the highest office in a political realm, king, [generally] of a male ruler who has unquestioned authority (exceptions are client rulers who owe their power to the grace of Rome) in a specific area POIEIN TINA B. make someone king J[ohn] 6:15."

The word is applied to human kings, Christ, God and Abaddon (Rev 9:11).

I also found an interesting reference in LSJ where Aristotle calls the queen bee "BASILEUS." But there are good reasons why this fact does not necessarily prove that BASILEUS was used generically (of males and females) in ancient Greece or in Scripture.

9 comments:

aservantofJehovah said...

"Generally" of a male ruler.

Edgar Foster said...

But you have to read the entire entry to see why BDAG words things that way. The entry says nothing about the term being used generically for kings and queens. But, as I noted in my post, BASILEUS is used of non-males (according to BDAG) like God, disputably Christ, and Abaddon, et. al.

Edgar Foster said...

Read the entire sentence that I posted from BDAG. They are not saying that the word also applies to queens.

aservantofJehovah said...

I have never said that the word can mean queen.I said that it can be used generically.And evidently BDAG agrees.

Edgar Foster said...

To say that it can be used generically is like saying that it stands in for kings and queens. But BDAG does not agree. It never says that the term can be a generic for king and queen. If you read the entire sentence I quoted, it's obvious that BDAG is not agreeing with the position you've espoused hitherto. The Greek-English Lexicon says:

BASILEUS denotes "one who rules as possessor of the highest office in a political realm, king, [generally] of a male ruler who has unquestioned authority (exceptions are client rulers who owe their power to the grace of Rome) . . ."

Notice why it says "generally"; because there are exceptions like client rulers or magistrates to whom the term applies (not queens). I also spoke with my old classics professor and he asserts in no uncertain terms that BASILEUS is never used as a generic word for kings and queens. Should I ask Chrys Caragounis next? :)

aservantofJehovah said...


The highest political office in most countries was usually held by a man that is what the statement implied.Then as now there were exceptions.The exceptions to which the statement refered was as regards the statement the highest political office.'
ask Jehovah God next he is the inspirer of the bible let him open your eyes.

Edgar Foster said...

The statement does not imply that there were exceptions in who was identified as a BASILEUS or who was the referent of that term. The only exceptions mentioned in BDAG are when the word refers to lesser officials, God or Abaddon and disputably Christ. No mention of queens as exceptions.

I mentioned Caragounis because he's a native Greek, who knows his Greek. He's a genuine scholar of the language whose opinion I would greatly respect. As for asking Jehovah God, that can work two ways, my friend. Good evening.

aservantofJehovah said...

Why do you keep bringing up the issue of queens?no one said anything about queens.'Generally a male ruler'it should be obvious to anyone what that implies.God,Christ and Abbaddon are not listed as exceptions.God crtainly holds the highest office in his kingdom.Christ likewise holds the highest office among God's servants.The rule of 'basileus' generally referring to males is not given any detailed treatment in the BDAG.
No only one answer would be from Jehovah.And ask whom you please Just stop misrepresenting my position I never said 'basileus' can mean queens

Edgar Foster said...

Look throughout this thread. I did not say that you're claiming BASILEUS can mean queen. I may have said it once in another thread. But I haven't repeated that claim since. What I'm addressing now--just look above--is your assertion that BASILEUS is employed generically for kings and queens in the LXX and the GNT. That's why I'm bringing up queens. My point is that no lexical source I've consulted agrees with your position. BASILEUS is never employed generically which would make it effectively refer to kings and queens, which it does not, as far as I can tell. (Notice that I said "refer," not "denotes" or "means.")

The last compiler for BDAG is now deceased (Fred Danker). But I can almost guarantee you 100% that he did not believe the Father is male, nor would he have thought that Abaddon is male. And the official position of Jehovah's Witnesses is that Christ is no longer male.

Danker (of BDAG fame) may have thought Christ was still a male. I'm almost certain the Father and probably Abaddon would have been exceptions for him though. When BDAG makes the statement about male rulers, it has humans in mind.

Again, look above in this thread. I did not claim that you think BASILEUS "means" queens; only that you believe it's used generically or can apply to queens.

The verbs "means" "refers" and "applies" have different denotations. You're evidently not reading my sentences carefully. I did not claim what you said I did.