διλογος is a rare word occurring only one other time in Greek literature, and that in the second century A.D. where it means “repeating.” Its two closest cognates are equally rare, διλογια meaning “repetition” and διλογεω meaning “to repeat.”Yesterday, I suggested that Xenophon had used the word in the third century B.C. and that Xenophon's use may have been inspired by the fourth century B.C. Δισσοι Λόγοι / Dissoi Logoi /. So Today, Mounce said
* It is true that Paul may not have coined the word; it may be that we just don't know. However, Paul does this repeatedly throughout his writings, and coining words was as acceptable then as it is today in German or in American educational circles.In this post, I'd like
* The argument from two early church fathers (i.e., Greek) that they understood it to mean "deceitful" and another as "saying one thing to this man, and another to that" is significant. Greek was their language and their opinion linguistically (as opposed to theologically) is generally seen as important.
* I am unaware of Δισσοι Λόγοι, so I don't really have an opinion. We do know that Paul was very aware of their Greek culture of his day and often find, for example, uses of technical terms in Stoicism but given a Christian meaning.
(1) to show how Xenophon and Paul used the word,
(2) to suggest that their use of the word is strong rhetoric, and
(3) to stress that the translation "repeating" (or variant forms such as "repetition" or "to repeat") is just so so if not just downright lousy as a translation.
In another post sometime then, I'd also like
(4) to see what the early church fathers say
(5) to situate the sophists and their Dissoi Logoi a little more in the discussion (since Mounce has added his comments, as noted above).
(1) How Xenophon and Paul Used Δί·λογος / Dí-logos /
Xenophon writes this:
μώτεροι ἂν δοκοῖεν εἶναι. εἰ δέ τις δι·λογεῖν ἡμᾶς οἴεται, ὅτι περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν λέγομεν νῦν τε καὶ πρόσθεν, οὐ δι·λογία ταῦτ’ ἐστίν.
Paul writes this:
διακόνους ὡσαύτως σεμνούς, μὴ δι·λόγους, μὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ προσέχοντας, μὴ αἰσχροκερδεῖς
(2) How Their Rhetoric is Strong
We don't really have to understand the "true" meanings of the word in question, and we don't really even need to understand Greek, in order to get much of what's going on here. There are a couple of things, at least, to notice.
First, both Xenophon and Paul use a negative word in the phrases with the word dí-logos. This is to signal to the readers that the writers believe the whole idea of dí-logos is not positive. (To be clear, when he first uses the word dí-logos, Xenophon uses a sort of conjecture with the words εἰ τις to imply the negative: "If someone's thinking I'm doing dí-logos, then they're wrong 'cuz I'm not." And when he uses the word the second time, then he just explicitly negates it with the negative word οὐ. Which brings us to our second thing to notice.)
Second, both Xenophon and Paul use repetition. We should see that whether we're native Greek speakers or are readers of only other languages. It's the Burma Shave signs all over again, and again.
Xenophon and Paul don't want their readers to miss the points that dí-logos is not good. Repeat: dí-logos is not good.
Now if you need a stuffy academic book to convince you further, I'd recommend Paul Gordon's The Critical Double: Figurative Meaning in Aesthetic Discourse. That's Paul Gordon's The Critical Double: Figurative Meaning in Aesthetic Discourse. (Gordon, you'll see, even knows some about Dissoi Logoi, which is an early critical double.)
(3) How "Repetition" is Just a So So (if not a lousy) Translation of Dí-logos
There's only time today to show you what one translator does with this. But as we know, all English translators of Xenophon's wordplay phrase here (so far) have rendered his dí-logos as "repetition." Let me repeat, then: Xenophon's actual repetition of the term is strong rhetoric. But "repetition" as the translation of dí-logos is just so so, and is rather weak. Did you get that? Xenophon's actual repetition of the term dí-logos is strong rhetoric. But "repetition" as the translation of dí-logos is just so so, and is rather weak.
So here's how one translator's rendered it. And below that is a stronger possibility.
"If anyone thinks that we are repeating [??] ourselves, because we are referring to matters already dealt with, this is not repetition [??]."
Here's a stronger translating:
"If someone thinks that I am using sophistic double-speak because I have referred to matters already dealt with, then know this: this is not sophistic double-speak."
A point to note is that Xenophon is clearly interested in repetition, in repeating, in saying things twice. He's not, however, interested in being perceived as using or in actually using "sophistic double-speak."
I'm out of time. So later sometime perhaps, I'll try
(4) to see what the early church fathers say
(5) to situate the sophists and their Dissoi Logoi a little more in the discussion.