The Puzzle of John 21:15-17

A Formality Solution

In: Novum Testamentum
John A.L. Lee Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

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The alternation of the words for “love” in John 21:15-17 is a long-standing puzzle that has defied solution. It is suggested in this note that ἀγαπῶ and φιλῶ carry a slight difference of “formality” as a result of their history and that this can account for the interplay.

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