Re: Mark 14:72

Carl W. Conrad (
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 07:55:01 -0500

At 5:49 AM -0500 9/17/96, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 11:19 PM -0500 9/16/96, Rick Strelan wrote:
>>Would anyone like to comment on the use of EPIBALLEIN in Mk 14:72? I am
>>aware of the lexica and commentaries and therefore the peculiarity of its
>>usage here. I guess I'm asking whether the classicists out there can throw
>>any light on it.
>One thing I'd like to check on is possible use of this verb in the LXX to
>represent a Hebrew verb used as an auxiliary -- I have a somewhat vague
>memory of having seen it in the Joseph narrative in Genesis. I'll try to
>follow up on this. I have my doubts as to explanation from classical usage.
Well, I've done a further check on this; the usage I recalled from the LXX
in Genesis was PROSTIQHMI + infinitive, with the sense "increase" or
"continue on."

Reading carefully through the entries under EPIBALLW in the brand-new LSJ
with new supplement (which also has material on EPIBALLW) I am struck by
the absence of anything there which is very helpful, with the possible
exception of a sense, "let loose," found in P.Ryl.69.6 (1st c. B.C.) in the
phrase PROBATA EPI KNHKON EPIBALLEIN, evidently "let the sheep graze freely
on thistles." I guess we could say that Peter let the tears flow freely in
Mark 14:72.

Inasmuch as it would appear that the two suggestions I found in Louw-Nida
are really not much more than hypotheses, let me offer an additional
hypothesis. I've found that, although it doesn't always work--by any
means--and is somewhat perilous to attempt it, there are occasions when an
English colloquialism seems to suit the idiomatic sense of a Greek
expression pretty well. So in this instance, I am very much inclined to
think that EPIBALWN EKLAIEN means, using the American English colloquialism
"lay on thick" for "do it vigorously," "and laying it on thick, he began to
weep." Well, what the heck?

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