Re: PRWTH in Lk2:2

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Wed Sep 06 1995 - 16:09:48 EDT

   I don't have an answer for Stephen Carlson's question, but it hits on
one of my hot spots, so I offer this in reply. BAGD, LSJ, and any other
lexicon, it seems to me, do two things. They list the contents of the
semantic domain of a word (I'm sure there's a better way to say that,
and maybe Mari or one of the other linguists on the list could help me
out). They also interpret each passage the word is used in by assigning
it to one category or the other. While I wouldn't want to just
ignore that decision as though it was frivolously made, it is still the
case that it is a matter interpretation. Thus, if the lexicon says
that the meaning of "before" is a valid part of PRWTH's semantic domain,
if that seems like a reasonable rendering (and I'm not taking a
position on that, though I like the idea), then I see no reason to avoid
it simply because BAGD does not list Lk 2:2 under that meaning.
That, it seems to me, is analogous to slavishly following the punctuation
given by NA27. The punctuation is useful, and probably on the whole
correct (what the authors would have used if punctuation had been
available to them), but it is, nevertheless, an exegetical decision
that represents only part of the possibilities.

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

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