Jonathan wrote:Can you explain the periphrastic interpretation?
I spent a bit of time digging around to try to nail down the effect of a periphrastic construction here. First of all, I think that it does add considerable כָּבוֹד
(‘weight’) to the phrase “αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς”
in this interesting, and beautifully written part of Luke’s Gospel. I think a strong case can be made that it ought to be read in the same way as the pluperfect periphrastic constructions in Luke 2:26; 4:16; 5:17; 8:2; 9:45; 15:24; 23:53; Acts 8:16
; etc. Luke likes this construction!
The pluperfect periphrastic is formed from a union of the imperfect of εἰμί with a perfect participle
(Wallace pg 647). That is what is suggested here, as Culy says:
M. Culy - Baylor Handbook, Luk,e pg 89 wrote: προβεβηκυῖα. Prf act ptc fem nom sg προβαίνω (pluperfect periphrastic). Having introduced Anna with the verb ἦν, Luke feels free to leave this verb implicit in the clause that begins verse 37 αὐτὴ χήρα. The same is likely the case here (cf. 1:7, 18).
There is debate over the effect of the periphrastic construction during the Koine era, but the pluperfect does seem to be used for emphasis, especially by Luke. The effect of the construction in “αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς
”, would be something like, “She had become very advanced in days
”. As stated, I believe this adds considerable כָּבוֹד
to this beautiful picture Luke is painting. It underlines the great age of this grand old lady. Speaking of the effect of the periphrastic construction in his Idioms
writes, “… grammarians who wish to stress that the periphrastic is more emphatic or significant, or that it draws attention to the participle and its modifiers, are probably correct”
(Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament -2nd Edition
, pg 47) and, “Periphrastic constructions with the perfect participle are a long-recognized phenomenon in ancient Greek, especially in light of the cumbersome perfect and pluperfect forms, for which a periphrastic was a much to be preferred alternative.”
(ibid, pg 48)
And remember, this is Luke and this is the birth narrative. In the context of Luke’s opening chapters, I think that the periphrasis reading is much to be preferred here and in 1:18 over predicate adjective or simple adjectival participle.