Re: Luke 7:47 and the many-splendored hOTI

Don Wilkins (
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 14:04:04 -0600

At 6:11 AM 11/13/96, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>At 2:08 PM -0600 11/9/96, Mike Luper wrote:
>>Secondly, in the Greek Grammar course I am currently teaching we will
>>shortly be translating Luke 7:47, and I have a question with regard to
>>the use of hOTI in this verse. Young points to Zerwick who suggests that
>>it is to be taken as causal, "in the special sense which gives the
>>reason not why the fact is so, but whereby it is known to be so." It is
>>clear from the latter portion of the verse, "for the one to whom little
>>is forgiven, loves little" that the meaning of the initial portion is
>>not that the woman is forgiven "because" she loved, but the explanations
>>regarding the usage here seem a bit strained. I noted that Young
>>suggests the rare use of hOTI as result. I searched through a number of
>>advanced Grammars and can find no indication of such a usage, but I was
>>wondering if the use of hOTI as result was part of its usage outside of
>>the NT. Taking hOTI as result in this verse would sure seem to
>>preferable to the other possible readings--although I have a hunch that
>>since none of the major commentaries I have read on Luke suggest this
>>possiblity that it is not too plausible an explanation.
>By this point, Mike, you've probably already gotten past this verse, but
>the question about this hOTI is worth some discussion and I'd very much
>like to see what other list-members think about it.

Very interesting issue, and one that has also caused the scribes and modern
editors some trouble; note the variation on whether to put a comma after
CHARIN, and the fact that hOTI is absent from D (D is a bit kinky anyway,
though). My first reaction was to see hOTI introducing indirect statement.
That led me on a very wild (goose) chase to see if such an idea could be
justified. Sometimes part of an indirect statement governed by hOTI occurs
before hOTI itself. And I wonder whether anyone has toyed with the idea of
taking hOU XARIN to refer foward to the AFEWNTAI clause? Maybe another,
somewhat less remote possibility would be just to take the hOTI as
introducing i.s., in effect to further extend the statement (as though KAI
were implied before hOTI). All of this would be difficult to do, but I find
Zerwick's causal idea not to be "special" at all but to be somewhat silly
given the context, as though Jesus merely deduced that the sins must have
been forgiven in view of the woman's reaction. Young's idea of result for
hOTI seems to me an act of desparation akin to cutting jigsaw puzzle pieces
to make them fit (though I might be guilty of the same thing if I try to do
too much with hOU XARIN).

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside