Wednesday, March 26, 2008

no 'silliness' in Ephesians 5:4?

Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4, NRSV

The list of evils continues in v. 4 with three words for sins of speech, all of which occur only here in the NT. The first, aischrotes, "obscenity," is similar to aischrologia, which occurs in Col. 3:8. The second, morologia, means literally the words or language of a fool. It refers not to speech that lacks intelligence or education but to speech that lacks wisdom or a godly perspective on life. The third, eutrapelia, had both positive and negative connotations. In the former case it means wittiness and pleasantry (see Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 4.8, 1128a), even factiousness, but in a negative context such as here it refers to coarse humor, sexual innuendoes, or even dirty jokes. These are not the kind of things which should come out of Christian mouths, which should be used to express thanksgiving.

- Ben Witherington, commentary on Ephesians

καὶ αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία ἢ εὐτραπελία ἃ οὐκ ἀνῆκεν ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία

Gk (xlit)
kathôs prepei hagiois, kai aischrotês kai môrologia ê eutrapelia, ha ouk anêken, alla mallon eucharistia.

sicut elegit nos in ipso ante mundi constitutionem, ut essemus sancti et immaculati in conspectu ejus in caritate

ethir filthe, or foli speche, or harlatrye, that perteyneth not to profit, but more doyng of thankyngis.

nether filthynes nether folishe talkyng nether gestinge which are not comly: but rather gevynge of thankes

Auch schandbare und närrische oder lose Reden stehen euch nicht an, sondern vielmehr Danksagung.

nether fylthines, ner folish talkynge, ner ieastynge (which are not comly) but rather geuynge of thakes.

Neither filthinesse, neither foolish talking, neither iesting, which are things not comely, but rather giuing of thankes.

Or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks.

neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks.

Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving

There must be no foul or salacious talk or coarse jokes--all this is wrong for you; there should rather be thanksgiving.

Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving

nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving.

Don't use dirty or foolish or filthy words. Instead, say how thankful you are.

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.

and filth and foolish chatter or dirty jokes which are not proper, but rather thanksgiving.


mike said...


or, I should say, it used to. The NRSV should have chosen a less archaic word/meaning.

Nathan said...

Yes. And the RSV's "nor levity" makes it sound like Paul changed his mind about "joyfulness" as a fruit of the Spirit! (Fun should be good clean fun, but still fun!?)

I'll be interested to see your translation when you get to chapter five (I'm enjoying your blog!)