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Matthew 16:14

And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others [alloi] say Elijah, and others [heteroi] Jeremiah or one of the prophets". ESV My brackets.

I think that since "alloi" and "heteroi" appear here together, direct comparison between them maybe facilitated.

On this site "Why was Jeremiah named in Matthew 16:14?" is related but does not focus on what I ask here.

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  • use wiktionary and this LSJ site. It means other (some else), and another of same kind. lsj.gr/wiki/%E1%BC%95%CF%84%CE%B5%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%82
    – Michael16
    Jun 24 at 15:33
  • @Michael16 Matt 8:21 If most disciples are staying but "another/heteros" wants to leave they would be a different kind. Matt 11:16 The children separate into different/heterois groups. Those that want to play and those that don't want to join in. Matt 12:45 The 7 other spirits are different/hetera if more evil than the first?
    – C. Stroud
    Jun 24 at 17:30
  • one of another group, meaning diff/another. So, Some said John, others said Elijah, another(a diff group of 'others'; ie a diff other) said Jeremiah. Spirit brings another 7 spirits. Children calling to another playmates. Think about heterosexual; a different other in sex; Homosexual- exactly same sex.
    – Michael16
    Jun 24 at 17:43
  • As an exercise, I actually looked at all the instances of allos and heteros and concluded that the original distinction between these two words had largely (not totally) disappeared by the time of the NT. That is, in many places, such as in Matt 16:14 they are used interchangeably.
    – Dottard
    Jun 24 at 20:52
  • @Dottard Trench devotes four pages on allos/heteros differences. I quote : Romans 7:23 "I see another law" his comment- "a law quite different from the law of spirit of life, even a law of sin and death..." Also Trench: Mark 16:12 hetera-the word indicating the mighty change which passed upon Him at his resurrection, as an anticipation at his Transfiguration." hetera morphe
    – C. Stroud
    Jun 24 at 21:38

1 Answer 1

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The best place to see the two words contrasted, in my own view, is Galatians 1:7 and 8 where Paul calls the false gospel being preached at Galatia as hetero.

He says that that gospel is 'another' (hetero) gospel but is not a 'similar' (allo) gospel.

It is another kind of gospel which is not a valid alternative to the gospel.

Thus hetero is of a similar category of existence. But allo is a close companion.

Thus in Matthew 16:14 the comparison is widening from those allo who - correctly - saw that Jesus has strong connection (see Malachi 3:1,2 - Messenger of Preparation and Messenger of the Covenant) to John the Baptist. Then 'other' saw a connection (understandably) with Elijah (who prefigured John) but 'others' hetero, making a much wider comparison and being wider of the mark in their categorisation, suggested Jeremiah or (even more vaguely) 'one of the prophets'.

The list widens from a wise interpretation to an obscure reference to a merely vague suggestion.

Thus those who speak these alternatives are categorised according to the character of their concepts.

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