A comment on lexicons: ἘΠΙΣΗΜΟΣ

If a lexicon, say, BDAG, gives two entries for a word and one is entirely positive and the other is entirely negative, as below:

ἐπίσημος, ον (σῆμα, ‘sign’; Trag., Hdt.+).

of exceptional quality, splendid, prominent, outstanding (Hdt., Trag. et al.; pap, LXX, EpArist, Philo; Joseph.) κριὸς ἐ. ἐκ ποιμνίου a splendid ram fr. the flock MPol 14:1. Of pers. (Diod S 5, 83, 1; Jos., Bell. 6, 201; 3 Macc 6:1; Just., A II, 12, 5) ἐ. ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις outstanding among the apostles Ro 16:7. διδάσκαλος MPol 19:1.

② Also in a bad sense: notorious (Trag. et al.; Plut., Fab. Max. 182 [14, 2]; Jos., Ant. 5, 234) δέσμιος Mt 27:16.—DELG s.v. σῆμα. M-M. TW.

Granted LSJ also includes a number [real] senses from which the sense we have in the NT is derived. In any case. the point is that there is no specifically positive sense and no specifically negative sense. Just one neutral sense.

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