I, also, have run across the explanation of the excuse, "Let me bury my
father," as a request to delay active following until family obligations
are fulfilled. I have no exposure to Link, so wherever I heard it was
not from that source. This would be in line with the second option
mentioned by Jonathan.
Jonathan, since a main purpose of Louw and Nida's work was to assist
those involved in minority language translation work, and with Nida's
emphasis on dynamic equivalence in translation (which leaves almost none
of the idioms of the original intact), my guess is that their
interpretation as you report it is not really an idiom per se. The
idiom(s) are the two references to dead--the actors and objects of the
verb "to bury". Their suggestion is an attempt to get to the "deep
meaning" of the saying of Jesus. Thus they would be satisfied with any
translation which brings out the thought, "You have missed the full
extent of the phrase, 'follow me.'" Their reference to what "some
scholars" believe is probably the only real attempt at decoding the
surface structure of the text.
I don't have Louw and Nida before me. How does this fit their
Southern Methodist Missions
Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
> Link in his usually odious THE SEVENTH SEAL ( a highschool NT textbbok)
> claims that the idiom was used by a contemporary Arab boy to mean "I
> must wait
> until my father dies" - that is, the idiom assumes the father is still
> living and the son has a responsibility to take care of him, and
> therefore uses family obligations as an excuse not to follow Jesus. An
> interesting thesis, but I have no idea how accurate it is. Comments from
> anyone else on the list?
> Jeffrey Gibson
> On Wed, 11 Dec 1996, Jonathan Robie wrote:
> > Louw and Nida say that the phrase AFES TOUS NEKROUS QAYAI TOUS hEAUTWN
> > NEKROUS is "an idiom, possibly an adage, literally 'let the dead bury their
> > dead'", and say that this idiom means 'the matter in question is not the
> > real issue' - 'that is not what I mean, that is not the issue, that is not
> > the point'. Therefore, they interpret:
> > Luke 9:60 (GNT) EIPEN DE AUTW: AFES TOUS NEKROUS QAYAI TOUS hEAUTWN NEKROUS,
> > SU DE APELQWN DIAGGELLE THN BASILEIAN TOU QEOU.
> > as:
> > "That is not the issue; you go and announce the kingdom of God."
> > I wish they had footnotes in their lexicon. What kind of evidence is there
> > that this phrase might be used as an idiom?
> > P.S. They also mention that some scholars understand this as 'let those who
> > are spiritually dead take care of their own dead'