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Old & New Testament Greek Lexical Dictionary
#110 - ἀθανασία
- undying, immortality, everlasting
I immortality, Pl. Phdr. 246a, Arist. EN 1111b22, Epicur. Ephesians 3 p.60U., etc.; ὁ δὲ λιμός ἐστιν ἀθανασίας φάρμακον Antiph. 86.6.
1. elixir or antidote, ἀ. Μιθριδάτου Gal. 14.148, cf. 13.203.
2. = ἀμβροσία, Luc. DDeor. 4.5.
** ἀθανασία , -ας , ἡ
(<ἀ -θάνατος , undying; v. MM, VGT, s.v.),
[in LXX: Wisdom of Solomon 3:4; Wisdom of Solomon 4:1; Wisdom of Solomon 8:13; Wisdom of Solomon 8:17; Wisdom of Solomon 15:3, 4 Maccabees 14:5; 4 Maccabees 16:13*;]
immortality: 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, 1 Timothy 6:16 (cf. Cremer, 285 f.).†
This word, which in the NT is confined to 1 Corinthians 15:53 f., 1 Timothy 6:16, occurs several times in Wisdom, but not elsewhere in the Greek OT : cf. however, Sirach 51:9 A καὶ ἀπὸ ἀθανάτου ῥύσεως ἐδεήθην, ";and to the Immortal One did I pray for deliverance,"; and see also Didache 4.8. As showing the wider connotation of the word in early times, cf. the description of Caligula in Syll 365.4 (i/A.D.) τὸ μεγαλεῖον τῆς ἀθανασίας, and the use of the formula οὐδεὶς ἀθάνατος in sepulchral epitaphs, where, as Ramsay (Luke the Physician, p. 273) has shown, the meaning is ";no one is free from death"; rather than ";no one is immortal."; Pagan examples of this usage can be cited (Ramsay, ut supra), but it is generally Christian. One interesting instance may be cited where the formula has been expanded into two lines : οὐδὶς [ἀθά ]νατος, εἰ μὴ μόνον ἷς θεὸς αὐτός, ὁ πάντων γεν [ετὴ ]ς κὲ πᾶσι τὰ πάντα μερίζων, ";no one is immortal except only the one God Himself, who is father of all and gives all things to all"; (Studies in the Eastern Roman Provinces, p. 129). Wünsch AF 5.24 (Deissmann’s ";LXX Memorial";—iii/A.D.) has τοῦ Κυρίου α [ἰ ]ω [νίου ] ἀθανάτου παντεφόπτου. Preisigke 364.15 (iii/iv A.D.), where a tomb is forbidden to be used for any παρὲξ τῶν γαμβρῶν ἀθανάτων, shows a strange sense as well as irregular grammar. As illustrating the vernacular usage, reference may be made to P Strass I. 30.6 (A.D. 276), where the epithet is applied to she-goats—αἶγας θηλείας τε [λ ]είας ἀθανάτους, in the sense of ";maintained at a constant figure"; : see the editor’s introduction, where he translates ἀ. ";von eiserner Bestand,"; and cites Herod. vii. 31, μελεδωνῷ ἀθανάτῳ ἀνδρὶ κτλ. : cf. also PSI IV. 377.5 (B.C. 250–249), P. Théad 8.6 (A.D. 306), and P Cairo Preis 41.3 (iv/A.D.)]. γείου ἀθαυα ̣[του. . . ]. ἀ ̣ρούρας. In BGU IV. 1058.25 (B.C. 13) μ ̣η ̣θὲ [ν τ ]ὸ καθόλου λαβοῦσα διὰ τὸ ἀθάνατον αὐτὴν ἐπιδεδέχθαι τροφεύενν (l. -ειν) the word appears to imply that the person providing a slave as wet-nurse undertook to carry out the contract for the two stipulated years ";apart from the death of"; the infant, whose place could be filled by another : cf. the Persian Guard, the ";Immortals,"; so called because their numbers were kept up to the same figure. Antiochus of Commagene uses the adjective as an epithet of κρίσις in his famous inscription, OGIS 383.207 (i/B.C.), meaning presumably ";unalterable"; : cf. Syll 365.7 (i/A.D.) τῆς ἀθανάτου χάριτος of Caligula. From the sixth century we may quote P Oxy I. 130.21, where a petitioner says that he will send up ὕμνους ἀθανάτους ";unceasing hymns"; to the Lord Christ for the life of the man with whom he is pleading. See also Vettius above (s.v. ἀήρ).
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