αὐθεντέω resources

A) Lexical definitions, extracts from commentaries, and other extracts. Apart from Chantraine, they are on a separate page. Included are:



Liddell and Scott

E. A. Sophocles, Greek lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100)

Moulton and Milligan: The vocabulary of the Greek Testament : illustrated from the papyri and other non-literary sources

Pierre Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque : histoire des mots (Paris: Klincksiek 1999)

Moeris: Moeridis Atticistae Lexicon Atticum, ed. J. Piersonus (Lugduni Batavorum,: Apud Petrum van der Eyk et Cornelium de Pecker, 1759)


Charles Ellicott, Commentary on Pastoral Epistles (1856)

Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, Vol. 3, (1865) p. 319

Patrick Fairbairn, The Pastoral Epistles (1874)

Johann Huther, Timothy and Titus, tr. David Hunter (1885)


Adolf Deissman , Light from the ancient East, tr. Lionel Strachan (New York: Hodder c.1910) 85

J. H. Moulton and W. F. Howard, A grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Clark 1920) p. 278

B) Research papers

Paul Kretschmer, αὐθέντης, Glotta (3. Bd., 4. H. (1912) pp. 289-95

Albrecht Dihle, aὐθέντης, Glotta 39. Bd. 1/2 H (1960) 77-83

Friedrich Zucker, αὐθέντης und Ableitung (Berlin: 1962) 3-26

Catherine Kroeger, Ancient heresies and a Greek verb, The Reformed Journal (March 1979) 12-15

Carroll Osburn, αὐθεντέω (1 Timothy 2:12) Restoration Quarterly 25 (1982) 1-12

George Knight, αύθεντέω in Reference to Women in 1 Timothy 2.12, New Testament Studies 30/1 (Jan 1984) 143-57

Leland Wilshire, The TLG Computer and Further Reference to αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2.12, New Testament Studies 34/1 (Jan 1988) 120-34

A. C. Perriman, What Eve did, what women shouldn’t do: the Meaning of αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2.12, Tyndale Bulletin 44.1 (1993) 129-42

Albert Wolters, A Semantic Study of αὐθέντης and its Derivatives, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 1 (2000) 145-75. It was republished in digital form in The Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 11/1 (Spring 2006) 44-65

Henry S. Baldwin, ‘An Important Word: Αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12′, Women in the Church (ed. A. J. Kostenberger and T. R. Schreiner; Baker, 2005) 39-51 + footnotes, 195-204. The missing line on page 202 reads ‘[is-]sues are as follows:’.

Philip B. Payne, ‘Does Αὐθεντέω Mean “Assume Authority”?’, Man and Woman, One in Christ, (Zondervan, 2009) 361-397

Albert Wolters, αὐθέντης and its Cognates in Biblical Greek, JETS 52/4 (December 2009) 719-29

Albert Wolters, An early parallel of αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Tim 2:12, JETS 54.4 (December 2011) 673-84

C) Texts

1) TEXTS WITH αὐθεντέω

1.1 The Philodemus Fragment (1st Century BC)

[Philodemus, Rhet. 2.133, S. Sudhaus (ed) Philodemi Volumina Rhetorica (Leipzig 1896) pp. 133-4]

Ἀλλ` εἰ δε[ῖ τἀληθῆ κα[ὶ γι]ωόμενα [λέγειν, οἱ ῥ[ήτ]ορες καὶ μ[εγά]λα βλάπτ[ουσι] πολλοὺς [καὶ] μεγάλους καὶ περὶ τῶν [,,δει]νοῖς ἔρωσι το[ξ]ευομένων” πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιφαν[εσ]τάτους ἐκάστοτε διαμάχονται καὶ “σὺν αὐθεντ[οῦ]σιν ἄν[αξιν]” ὑπὲρ τῶν ὁμοίων ὡσ[αύτως.

1.2 BGU IV 1208.38 (a papyrus dated 28-27 BC)

[ Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin. Griechische Urkunden (Berlin: Weidmann, 1912) #1208, line 38] SCAN

BGU (Berliner griechische Urkunden) IV 1208 is one of seven letters stuck together on a roll. All but one (BGU 1203) are said to be addressed to a certain Asklepiades. This one appears to be written by one of his brothers, Tryphon. Further information about what is called the Asklēpiades Archive, with translations of BGU 1204, -6 and -7 can be found in:

White, John L., Light from Ancient Letters (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) pp 103-5


κἀμοῦ αὐθεντηκότος πρὸς αὐτὸν περιποιῆσαι Καλατύτει τῶι ναυτικῶι ἐπὶ τῷ αὐτῶι φόρωι ἐν τῆι ὥραι ἐπεχώρησεν.

1.3 Aristonicus Alexandrinus, On the Signs of the Iliad, Comment on The Iliad 9.694 (dated late 1st Century BC, according to Wolters, Semantic Study (2000) 157)


[L. Friedländer, Aristonici Περὶ σημείων Ἰλιάδος reliquiae emendatiores. (Göttingen: Dieterich, 1853) 170 Scan]

ὅτι ἐξ ἄλλων τόπων ἐστὶν ὁ στίχος· νῦν γὰρ οὐχ ἁρμόζει· τότε γὰρ εἴωθεν ἐπιφωνεῖσθαι, ὅταν ὁ αὐθεντῶν τοῦ λόγου καταπληκτικά τινα προενέγκηται. νῦν δὲ πῶς ἂν ἐπὶ Ὀδυσσέως λέγοιτο τοῦ μηνύοντος τὰ ὑπ’ Ἀχιλλέως εἰρημένα;

Iliad 6.694

ὣς ἔφαθ᾽, οἳ δ᾽ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ μῦθον ἀγασσάμενοι: μάλα γὰρ κρατερῶς ἀγόρευσε.

So spake he, and they all became hushed in silence marvelling at his words; for full masterfully did he address their gathering. [A T Murray]

1.4 Methodus Mystica (c. 100 BC – 200 AD, and probably before 50 AD, according to Wolters, p. 675, of the paper he has written on this text)

[Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum.Vol. 8.1 (ed. F. Cumont; Brussels: Lamertin, 1929) 172–77 At p.177, last sentence. Scan ]

ἐὰν δὲ ἐν ὁρίοις Ἄρεως, σημαίνει ἀπὸ πυρὸς ἢ σιδήρου ἐργαζόμενον· ἐὰν δὲ ἐν ὁρίοις Κρόνου, ἀπὸ κλοπῆς ἢ παρύγρων φροντιστήν, ἀγαθοποιῶν δὲ τετραγωνιζόντων, τὸν [πάντων]/[τούτων] αὐθεντοῦντα ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ καὶ μηδὲν κτώμενον.

1.5 1 Timothy 2.11-12 (1st century AD)

Γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ· διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ’ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ.

1.6 Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.13.10

[Ptolemy, Apotelesmatika (Stutgardiae: BGTeubner, 1998) 255]

Ὁ μὲν οὖν τοῦ Κρόνου ἀστὴρ μόνος τὴν οἰκοδεσποτίαν τῆς ψυχῆς λαβὼν καὶ αὐθεντήσας τοῦ τε Ἑρμοῦ καὶ τῆς σελήνης, ἐὰν μὲν ἐνδόξως ἔχῃ πρός τε τὸ κοσμικὸν καὶ τὰ κέντρα, ποιεῖφιλοσωμάτους, ἰσχυρογνώμονας, βαθύφρονας, αὐστηρούς, μονογνώμονας, ἐπιμόχθους,ἐπιτακτικούς, κολαστικούς, περιουσιαστικούς, φιλοχρημάτους, βιαίους, θησαυριστικούς,φθονερούς.

If Saturn alone is ruler of the soul and dominates Mercury and the moon, if he has a dignified position with reference to the universe and the angles, he makes his subjects lovers of the body, strong-minded, deep thinkers, austere, of a single purpose, laborious, dictatorial, ready to punish, lovers of property, avaricious, violent, amassing treasure, and jealous; [F. E. Robbins, Loeb Classical Library edition, 1940]

1.7 Moeris Attistica, Lexicon Atticum (dated late 2nd century or early 3rd century AD)

[Moeridis Atticistae, Lexicon Atticum, (ed. J. Piersonus; Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Petrum van der Eyk et Cornelium de Pecker, 1759) 58Moeris authentew 1Αὐτοδίκην, Ἀτικως. αὐθέντην, Ἑλληνικῶς.

1.8 Tebtunis Papyrus, No. 276 in Grenfell and Hunt, Vol. II (late second, or third century AD)

[Grenfell, Bernard P., The Tebtunis Papyri (London: H Frowde, 1902) 29-32 Scan]
[ἐὰν δὲ] ὁ τοῦ Ἄρεως τρίγωνος τούτῳ φανῇ [καὶ τ]ῷ τοῦ Κρόνου εὐδαιμονίαν με[γά]λην [ἀποτελεῖ] καὶ περίκτησιν ἕξει καὶ [α]θεντή[σει ? . . . . .] ε ἀσχολίαν.

‘If Mars appear in a triangular relation to Jupiter and Saturn, this causes great happiness, and he will make acquisitions and . . .’ [Grenfell and Hunt, p. 31. They do not translate [α]θεντή[σει (?). Characters marked as uncertain by the editors are in red. ἀσχολία means ‘occupation, business, engagement.. later, office, function, BGU 1202.3 (i B.C.)’ [entry in Liddell and Scott].

1.9 Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14.34-35 (3rd century AD)

[C. Jenkins, ‘Origen on 1 Corinthians. IV’, Journal of Theological Studies 10 (1909) 41-42 Scan]

αἰσχρὸν γὰρ γυναικὶ λαλεῖν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, καὶ διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω ἁπλῶς ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός. Καὶ ἄλλοθεν δὲ τοῦτο παραστήσω, εἰ καὶ ἐκεῖνο ἀσφαλέστερον εἴρηται περὶ τοῦ μὴ τὴν γυναῖκα ἡγεμόνα γίνεσθαι τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ ἀνδρός·

2) TEXTS WITH αὐθέντης, showing the earliest known texts where the word has the meaning ‘master’ or similar.

2.1 Euripides, Suppliants, 442 (mid-420s BC, according to Wolters, Semantic Study) [DISPUTED TEXT]

καὶ μὴν ὅπου γε δῆμος αὐθέντης χθονός, ὑποῦσιν ἀστοῖς ἥδεται νεανίαις:

Again, where the people are absolute rulers of the land, they rejoice in having a reserve of youthful citizens, [E. P. Coleridge]

For an argument against this being a true reading from a genuine Euripides text, see:

David Kovacs, ‘Tyrants and Demagogues in Tragic Interpolation’, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 23/1 (1982) 31-50, at 36-7

2.2 Inscription from Plain of Klaudioupolis (Bolu), Bithynia (1st century AD): SEG 34.1260.25 (= Die Inschriften von Klaudiu Polis [ed. F. Becker-Bertau; Bonn: RHabelt, 1986] 70.25). The following text is from epigraphy.packhum.org at inscriptions, Asia Minor, IK Klaudiu Polis, 70.II, line 24-27.

καὶ μᾶ-[λλον α]ὐθέντου καὶ πατ{τ}ρὸς [καὶ ἀδ]ελφοῦ γνησιώτερον ἀχ-[νύμε]νος ἐπὶ τῷ νεανίσκῳ·

The SEG text, here, does not have the upsilon in α]ὐθέντου, but rather an iota, marked as uncertain.

[Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, ed. by H.W. Pleket and R. S. Stroud, Vol. 34 (Amsterdam: Gieben, 1987) 338-9]

[κτῶ]ν πᾶσιν ζητεῖται· καὶ μα-
[- -].ι̣θέντου καὶ πατ{τ}ρὸς
[καὶ ἀδ]ελφοῦ γνησιώτερον ἄχ̣-
[νύμε]νος ἐπὶ τῷ νεανίσκῳ· ἐ̣-

2.3 The Ephesus Monument. Inscription, Ephesus, 62 AD, on large marble block: SEG 39.1180 at lines 109 and 123-4. According to Pleket, ‘The Greek text basically is a literal, and therefore often an awkward, translation of the Latin original.’ [SEG 39, p. 367]

[Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, ed. by H.W. Pleket and R. S. Stroud, Vol. 39 (Amsterdam: Gieben, 1992) 367-8, 382, 384] SCAN of pages 367-9, 382-5

At line 109:

ἐν ἡμέραις εἴκοσι ταῖς ἔγγιστα τὸν αὐθέντη[ν]
[ἀλλάξαι ἐξέσται· ..]

At line 123-4:

οἱ αὐτοὶ προσέθηκαν· τὸν αὐθέντην ἐπὶ τῶν ἑκάστου ἔτους ἐσομένων στρατηγῶν ἐξεῖναι ἀλλά-
[ξαι · ..]

The first editors of this inscription translated αὐθέντης as ‘Zeichnungsberechtigen’ – perhaps ‘authorized signatory’ in English. They considered dominus, auctor, redemptor and magister to be possible candidates of the Latin original. Of these, they thought magister to be the most likely. magister scripturae can refer to the ‘director of a company of farmers-general’ (Lewis and Short), that is, of the publicani, the tax farmers:

[H. Engelmann and D. Knibbe, ‘Das Zollgesetz Der Provinz Asia’, Epigraphica Anatolia Heft 14 (RHabelt, 1989)].  SCAN of pp. 116-23.

Nicolet took issue with the editors over the most plausible original Latin word, preferring auctor:

Nicolet auqenths = auctor 1989[C. Nicolet, L’Année épigraphique, Année 1989 (1992), pp. 210-243, at p.222]

Lewis gave the Latin equivalent of αὐθέντης as auctor (societatis), citing Nicolet:

[N. Lewis, ‘On Roman imperial promulgation in Greek.’ Scripta Classical Israelica 15 (1996) 208-211] SCAN

Vigorita, on the other hand, preferred the judgement of the first editors, considering magister to be the most likely candidate for the Latin original (pp. 186-7, and note 238):

[T. Spagnuola Vigorita, ‘Lex portus Asiae: un nuovo documento sull’ appalto delle imposte’, in I rapporti contrattuali con la pubblica amministrazione nell’esperienza storico-giuridica : congresso internazionale sul tema,Torino, 17-19 ottobre 1994 (Società italiana di storia del diritto; Napoli: Jovene, 1997) 113-90]  . SCAN of pp. 115-7, 186-90.

A book about the inscription, with translation of the text into English and line by line commentary, was published in 2008. αὐθέντης is rendered with the Latin cognitor, meaning a) an attorney, advocate; b) someone who vouched for someone else, or bore witness to their identity. Other possibilities, including manceps as well as magister and auctor societatis are discussed on pages 146-7 and 148. At line 109, they give:

ἐν ἡμέραις εἴκοσι ταῖς ἔγγιστα τὸν αὐθέντη[ν] [ἀλλάξαι ἐξέστω· ..]

[it is to be possible to change] the cognitor in the twenty days following.

and at line 123-4:

οἱ αὐτοὶ προσέθηκαν· τὸν αὐθέντην ἐπὶ τῶν ἑκάστου ἔτους ἐσομένων στρατηγῶν ἐξεῖναι ἀλλά[ξαι · ..]

The (same) consuls added, that it was to be possible to change the cognitor in the presence of whoever were to be praetors in each year.

[M. Cottier and M. Corbier, The Customs Law of Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)]  SCAN of pp. 68-75, 144-53


2.4 Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 9.5.6

Ἄγωμεν παρὰ τὸν πύργον· ὁ γὰρ αὐθέντης τοῦ πύργου ἔρχεται κατανοῆσαι αὐτόν.

“Let us go to the tower; for the master of the tower is coming to examine it.” [F. Crombie, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2]

In the same chapter of the ninth similtude, ὁ αὐθέντης τοῦ πύργου is also referred to as ὁ κύριος τοῦ πύργου [9.5.2] and as ὁ δεσπότης τοῦ πύργου [9.5.7].

2.5 Alexander Rhetor, in L. Spengel, Rhetores Graeci Vol. III (Lipsiae: Teubneri, 1856) 2.1 and 2.6

τοῖς δὲ ἀκροαταῖς, ὅτι ἐν μὲν ταῖς συμβουλαῖς αὐθένται εἰσὶν οἱ ἀκροώμενοι· βουλεύονται γάρ, τί αὐτοῖς πρακτέον ἐκείνοις καὶ τί μὴ πρακτέον·

And [they differ] with respect to the listeners, because in deliberations the ones who hear are [also] the ones who speak and act [having autonomy so to do]. For they deliberate upon what action is to be taken, and what is not to be taken by them, themselves.

ἐν ταῖς δὲ δίκαις οἱ κριταὶ ὡς περὶ ἰδίων σκεπτόμενοι, εἰ πέπρακται τὰ ὑπ’ ἄλλων γενόμενα, κρίνουσιν, ἢ εἰ δικαίως ἢ οὔ·

In the court cases, the judges, as concerning private matters, and considering carefully, judge as to whether the things that have been done by others have in fact occurred, or [sc. if indeed they have] as to whether (they have been committed) justly or not.

τὸ δὲ τῶν ἐγκωμίων εἶδος οὔτε αὐθέντας ἔχει οὔτε κριτάς, ἀλλὰ μόνον ἀκροατάς, ὅθεν καὶ ἐπιδεικτικὸν τὸ τοιοῦτον κέκληται.

But the genre of encomia (of eulogy and panegyric) has neither doers/agents/actors nor judges/deciders but only listeners, which is why such genre is also called epideictic (for the display of rhetorical or oratorical skill).

[My translation]


>(to be continued)

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