Self-willed - Trench's New Testament Synonyms


authades (G829) Self-willed
philautos (G5367) Lover of Self
The etymology of authades and philautos suggests that they are closer in meaning than actually is the case. Because they occasionally are used together, as in Plutarch, and because the "pleaser of himself' and "the lover of himself stand in sufficient moral proximity so that they are liable to be confused, we are justified in attempting to distinguish these words.
Authades occurs twice in the New Testament (Titus 1:7; 2 Pet. 2:10) and three times in the Old Testament (Gen. 49:3, 7; Prov. 21:24). Authadeia never occurs in the New Testament, and is used only once in the Old Testament (Isa. 24:8). The authades, who etymologically is barely distinguishable from autareskos (G5367), is properly the person who is so pleased with himself and his own actions that nothing else pleases him. He is the person "who regards nothing as correct except what he himself does." He so overestimates any determination of his own that he will not be moved from it. Such a person obstinately maintains his own opinion and asserts his own rights, regardless of the rights, feelings, and interests of others. With no motive at all, he is quick to act contrary to the feelings of others, rather than to fall in with them. Thus authades is associated with idiognomon, agrios, pikros, amathes, chalepos, ameiliktos, skleros, epachthes, authekastos, thrasys, akolastos, itamos, philoneikos, skythropos alazon, propetes, and tolmetes. Authadeia is associated with thrasos and tolma. The Greek grammarians list words such as hyperephanos (G5244), thymodes, and hyperoptes as the nearest equivalents to authades. Eudemus identified the authades with the dyskolos (G1422) and described him as "regulating his life with no respect to others." In Latin the authades is the praefractus (stern), the pertinax (obstinate), and the morosus (peevish). The German eigensinnig (self-willed) is closer to authades's etymological heart. In their earlier senses, the English peevish and humorous represent some traits and aspects of such a person's character. The authades is the opposite of the euprosegoros,"the easy of access," or "affable." The authades appears in Theophrastus's unlovely portrait gallery, but his rude speech, surliness, and bearishness (as we would now say) are overemphasized. This is evident from Theophrastus's superficial and inadequate definition of authadeia as "rudeness of communication in words."

Aristotle contrasted authadeia, caring to please nobody, with areskeia (G699), the ignoble seeking to please everybody, the endeavoring at the cost of dignity and truth to be in good standing with the whole world. These two words define the opposite extremes in Aristotle's ethical system, and semnotes (G4587) defines its mean. Something can be learned from the hypocoristic phrases, which are used to present an ugly thing in a better light. On the one hand, the authades is called semnos (G4586) and megaloprepes by his flatterers. On the other hand, a worthy freedom of speech may be misnamed authadeia by those who resent it or who want to induce others to do so. The sycophants of the younger Dionysius used the hateful name authadeia to describe Dion's manly and bold speech when they wished to ruin him with the tyrant.
Bengel profoundly remarked that there are men who are "at once soft and hard," soft to themselves and hard to the rest of the world. In fact these two dispositions are only two aspects and results of the same sinthe wrong love of self. If authades expresses one side of this sin, philautos expresses the other. In the single New Testament use of philautos (2 Tim. 3:2), when Paul calls bad men philautoi, or "lovers of themselves," the word is used abusively. The one who loves himself too muchmore than God's law allowsor who loves in himself what he should not love but hatethat which constitutes his sickness and which may result in his deathis not truly a "lover of himself." Aristotle's treatment of philautos makes this clear. It is interesting to note Aristotle's ethical feeling for philautos, a feeling that partially anticipates Jesus' great statement: "He that loves his life shall lose it."
Philautos is equivalent to the English selfish, and philautia (cf. G5367) is equivalent to the English selfishness, understood as the undue sparing of one's self, as providing things easy and pleasant for one's self, rather than as harsh' ness and rigor toward others. Thus Plutarch used philautos with philopsychos, which refers to one who so loves his life that he ignobly seeks to save it. Before selfishness existed in English, an attempt was made to remedy this lacuna in our ethical terminology by using philauty. Philauty, however, never took root in the language nor did suicism, which was a second attempt to remedy this defect. A linguistic remedy was not found for this defect until the Puritan divines drew upon pur native stock of words and coined the words selfishand selfishness. One of these divines made a useful comparison between authades and philautos. He likened the selfish man to the hedgehog that rolls itself up into a ball, presenting only sharp spines to those without, while at the same time keeping inside the soft, warm wool for itself. The authadeia of some sinful mentheir ungracious bearing toward others, their being most pleased with themselves when they have most displeased othersis their leading character trait. In others the philautiathe undue provision of everything that ministers to their own ease and that keeps hardness away from themis their dominant character trait. Potentially, each of these dominant traits is wrapped up in the other. But as one sinful tendency or the other predominates, a man will merit being called an authades or a philautos.

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