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Synonyms of the New Testament :: Richard C. Trench

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lxxxvii. πάθος, ἐπιθυμία, ὁρμή, ὄρεξις.

Πάθος occurs three times in the N. T.; once coordinated with ἐπιθυμία (Col. 3:5; for παθήματα and ἐπιθυμίαι in like manner joined together see Gal. 5:24); once subordinated to it (πάθος ἐπιθυμίας, 1 Thess. 4:5); while on the other occasion of its use (Rom. 1:26), the πάθη ἀτιμίας (“vile affections,” A. V.) are lusts that dishonour those who indulge in them. The word belongs to the terminology of the Greek Schools. Thus Cicero (Tusc. Quoest. iv. 5): ‘Quae Graeci πάθη vocant, nobis perturbationes appellari magis placet quam morbos;’ on this preference see iii. 10; and presently after he adopts Zeno’s definition, ‘aversa a rectâ ratione, contra naturam, animi commotio;’ and elsewhere (Offic. ii. 5), ‘motus animi turbatus.’ The exact definition of Zeno, as given by Diogenes Laërtius, is as follows (vii. 1. 63): ἔστι δὲ αὐτὸ τὸ πάθος ἠ ἄλογος καὶ παρὰ φύσιν ψυχῆς κίνησις, ἢ ὁρμὴ πλεονάζουσα. Clement of Alexandria has this in his mind when, distinguishing between ὁρμή and πάθος, he writes (Strom. ii. 13): ὁρμὴ μὲν οὖν φορὰ διανοίας ἐπί τι ἢ ἀπό του· πάθος δέ πλεονάζουσα ὁρμή, ἡ ὑπερτείνουσα τὰ κατὰ τὸν λόγον μέτρα· ἢ ὁρμὴ ἐκφερομένη, καὶ ἀπειθὴς λόγῳ (see Zeller, Philos. d. Griechen, iii. 1. 208).

So far as the N. T. is concerned, πάθος nowhere obtains that wide sense which it thus obtained in the Schools; sense so much wider than that ascribed to ἐπιθυμία, that this last was only regarded as one of the several πάθη of our nature, being coordinated with ὀργή, φόβος, and the rest (Aristotle, Eth. Nic. ii. 4; Diogenes Laërtius, vii. 1. 67). Ἐπιθυμία, on the contrary, in Scripture is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, all to which the σάρξ, as the seat of desire and of the natural appetites, impels; while the πάθος is rather the ‘morosa delectatio,’ not so much the soul’s disease in its more active operations, as the diseased condition out of which these spring, the ‘morbus libidinis,’ as Bengel has put it well, rather than the ‘libido,’ the ‘lustfulness’ (‘Leidenschaft’) as distinguished from the ‘lust.’ Theophylact: πάθος ἡ λύσσα τοῦ σώματος, καὶ ὥσπερ πυρετός, ἢ τραῦμα, ἢ ἀλλὴ νόσος. Godet (on Rom. 1:26): ‘Le terme πάθη, passions, a quelque chose de plus ignoble encore que celui de ἐπιθυμίαι, convoitises, au ver. 24; car il renferme une notion plus prononcée de passivité morale, de honteux esclavage.’

Ἐπιθυμία, being τοῦ ἡδέος ὄρεξις, as Aristotle (Rhet. i. 10), ἄλογος ὄρεξις, as the Stoics, ‘immoderata appetitio opinati magni boni, rationi non obtemperans,’ as Cicero (Tusc. Quoest. iii. 11) defined it, is rendered for the most part in our Translation ‘lust’ (Mark 4:19, and often); but sometimes ‘concupiscence’ (Rom. 7:8; Col. 3:5), and sometimes ‘desire’ (Luke 22:15; Phil. 1:23). It appears now and then, though rarely, in the N. T. in a good sense (Luke 22:15; Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 2:17; cf. Prov. 10:24; Ps. 102:5); much oftener in a bad; not as ‘concupiscentia’ merely, but as ‘prava concupiscentia,’ which Origen (in Joan. tom. 10) affirms to be the only sense which in the Greek Schools it knew (but see Aristotle, Rhet. i. 11); thus ἐπιθυμία κακή (Col. 3:5); ἐπιθυμίαι σαρκικαί (1 Pet. 2:11); νεωτερικαί (2 Tim. 2:22); ἀνοήτοι καὶ βλαβεραί (1 Tim. 6:9); κοσμικαί (Tit. 2:12); φθορᾶς (2 Pet. 1:4); μιασμοῦ (2 Pet. 2:10); ἀνθρώπων (1 Pet. 4:2); τοῦ σώματος (Rom. 6:12); τοῦ διαβόλου (John 8:44); τῆς ἀπάτης (Ephes. 4:22); τῆς σαρκός (1 John 2:16); τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν (ibid.); and without a qualifying epithet (Rom. 7:7; 1 Pet. 4:3; Jude 16; cf. Gen. 49:6; Ps. 105:14). It is then, as Vitringa, in a dissertation De Concupiscentiâ Vitiosâ et Damnabili (Obss. Sac. p. 598, sqq.), defines it, ‘vitiosa illa voluntatis affectio, quâ fertur ad appetendum quae illicite usurpantur; aut quae licite usurpantur, appetit ἀτάκτως;’ this same evil sense being ascribed to it in such definitions as that of Clement of Alexandria (Strom. ii. 20): ἔφεσις καὶ ὄρεξις ἄλογος τοῦ κεχαρισμένου αὐτῇ. Compare iv. 18: ὄρεξιν οὖν ἐπιθυμίας διακρίνουσιν οἱ περὶ ταῦτα δεινοί· καὶ τὴν μέν, ἐπὶ ἡδοναῖς καὶ ἀκολασίᾳ τάττουσιν, ἄλογον οὖσαν· τὴν δὲ ὄρεξιν, ἐπὶ τῶν κατὰ φύσιν ἀναγκαιῶν, λογικὴν ὑπάρχουσαν κίνησιν. In these δεινοί he of course mainly points to Aristotle (thus see Rhet. i. 10). Our English word ‘lust,’ once harmless enough (thus see Deut. 7:7, Coverdale’s Version, and my Select Glossary, s. v.), has had very much the same history. The relation in which ἐπιθυμία stands to πάθος it has been already sought to trace.

Ὁρμή, occurring twice in the N. T. (Acts 14:5; Jam. 3:4), and ὄρεξις, occurring once (Rom. 1:27), are elsewhere often found together; thus in Plutarch (De Amor. Prol. 1; De Rect. Rat. Aud. 18; where see Wyttenbach’s note); and by Eusebius (Proep. Evang. xiv. 765 d). Ὁρμή, rendered by Cicero on one occasion ‘appetitio’ (Off. ii. 5), ‘appetitus animi’ on another (Fin. v. 7), is thus defined by the Stoics (Plutarch, De Rep. Stoic. 11): ἡ ὁρμὴ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου λόγος ἐστὶ προστακτικὸς αὐτῷ τοῦ ποιεῖν. They explain it further as this ‘motus animi,’ φορὰ ψυχῆς ἐπί τι (see Zeller, Philos. d. Griechen, iii. 1. 206), which, if toward a thing is ὄρεξις, if from it ἔκκλισις. When our Translators render ὁρμή ‘assault’ (Acts 14:5), they ascribe to it more than it there implies. Manifestly there was no ‘assault’ actually made on the house where Paul and Barnabas abode; for in such a case it would have been very superfluous for St. Luke to tell us that they “were ware” of it; but only a purpose and intention of assault or onset, ‘trieb,’ ‘drang,’ as Meyer gives it. And in the same way at Jam. 3:4, the ὁρμή of the pilot is not the ‘impetus brachiorum,’ but the ‘studium et conatus voluntatis.’ Compare for this use of ὁρμή, Sophocles, Philoct. 237; Plutarch, De Rect. Rat. Aud. 1; Prov. 3:25; and the many passages in which ὁρμή is joined with προαίρεσις (Josephus, Antt. xix. 6. 3).

But while the ὁρμή is thus oftentimes the hostile motion and spring toward an object, with a purpose of propelling and repelling it still further from itself, as for example the ὁρμή of the spear, of the assaulting host, the ὄρεξις (from ὀρέγεσθαι) is always the reaching out after and toward an object, with a purpose of drawing that after which it reaches to itself, and making it its own. Very commonly the word is used to express the appetite for food (Plutarch, De Frat. Am. 2; Symp. vi. 2. 1); so too ‘orexis’ in the Latin of the silver age (Juvenal, Sat. vi. 427; xi. 127); in the Platonic Definitions (414 b) philosophy is described as τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀεὶ ἐπιστήμης ὄρεξις. After what vile enjoyments the heathen, as judged by St. Paul, are regarded as reaching out, and seeking to make these their own, is sufficiently manifest from the context of the one passage in the N. T. where ὄρεξις occurs (Rom. 1:27; cf. Plutarch, Quoest. Nat. 21).

[The following Strong's numbers apply to this section:G1939,G3715,G3730,G3806.]

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