3

υἱός is most common way to call a child a son. In John, this word is used 57 times. However, there is one instance where παῖς is used:

As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering.
(John 4:51) [ESV]

ἤδη δὲ αὐτοῦ καταβαίνοντος οἱ δοῦλοι αὐτοῦ ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες ὅτι ὁ παῖς αὐτοῦ ζῇ

The official, Jesus and John always call the child a υἱός:

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. (4:46-47)

ἦλθεν οὖν πάλιν εἰς τὴν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ὅπου ἐποίησεν τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον καὶ ἦν τις βασιλικὸς οὗ ὁ υἱὸς ἠσθένει ἐν Καφαρναούμ οὗτος ἀκούσας ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἥκει ἐκ τῆς Ἰουδαίας εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν ἀπῆλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ ἠρώτα ἵνα καταβῇ καὶ ἰάσηται αὐτοῦ τὸν υἱόν ἤμελλεν γὰρ ἀποθνῄσκειν

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (4:50)

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πορεύου ὁ υἱός σου ζῇ ἐπίστευσεν ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῷ λόγῳ ὃν εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἐπορεύετο

The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. (4:53)

ἔγνω οὖν ὁ πατὴρ ὅτι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐν ᾗ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὁ υἱός σου ζῇ καὶ ἐπίστευσεν αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ οἰκία αὐτοῦ ὅλη

Why do the servants tell the man his παῖς is better not his υἱός, as the man calls his son?

  • I like to think that υἱός corresponds well to the English word "son" while παῖς corresponds more to the English word "boy" in that it is used to refer to one's son or, depending on context, to one's servant, possibly disrespectfully. – Ruminator May 21 '18 at 23:36
  • 1
    Paidion appears a couple of verses earlier (5:49), as well as in 16:21. Paidarion appears in 6:9. Paidia appears twice in 1 John 2 (verses 13 and 18). – Lucian May 24 '18 at 2:03
  • 1
    It's surely cognate with Latin's puer meaning boy-child. As in, Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis: "Unto us a child is born: unto us a son is given." – Sola Gratia Jun 26 '18 at 16:30
0

The words for the child are characteristic: the father uses paidion, the term of endearment; Jesus and the Evangelist use uios, the term of dignity; the servants the more familiar pais.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.