Re: Luke 1:51

Carl W. Conrad (
Thu, 9 May 1996 14:06:59 -0500

At 1:20 PM -0500 5/9/96, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
> Luke 1:51b reads
> which means, I think, "He has scattered the proud in the thought of their
> Apart from not being sure whether KARDIAS is plural or singular, though I
> it's a singular genitive, the whole object of the sentence bothers me.
>I'm not
> sure what scattering someone in the thought of his/her heart might mean,
>so I'm
> wondering if there is some better way to construe the syntax to come up
>with a more
> meaningful, or intelligible translation. Thanks.

Well, it IS partly LXX, isn't it? It's not really very elegant Greek, but
one doesn't look for that in the LXX generally. I think that in this
instance, it will work if you take DIANOIAi KARDIAS AUTWN as clarifying the
substantive adjective hUPERHFANOUS. I'd re-write the sentence in more
"normal" Greek as follows:


and understand it to mean: "He has routed/dispersed those who are arrogant
in their hearts' thinking." It may very well refer directly to the Tower of
Babel narrative when it says "scattered," and even if it doesn't refer
directly to that, there's the typical hymnic notion that God's enemies have
conspired together against him--tried to face him down in a direct
confrontation--but he has made them turn tail and flee.

As for the weird phrasing, "their heart's thinking," that's not atypical of
Hebraic liturgical psychology, is it? Well, maybe Hebrew liturgists never
did study much psychology. ;-)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR