From: David Moore (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Oct 02 1995 - 11:01:59 EDT
"Philip L. Graber" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote, and Carl Conrad answered:
>>I am a bit puzzled by the grammar of this verse. Is there another way
>>might expect this verse to be written?
>Probably; I read the sentence first, before even looking at your
>It IS puzzling; I then looked at Mark's version which I assume to have
>redacted by Matthew (although I'm much more cautious about taking that
>granted than I used to be; isn't it interesting, by the way, how Ken
>so underhandedly admits that the only books he has on source criticism
>those who are "agin' it"?), and behold, Mark's version of this
>makes more sense, but I think Matthew's is confusing because he has
>to reshape it into a better-told story.
>>pronouns--occurrences of O(/N in this verse--usually used in
>>clauses this way, or are these not truly independent clauses?
>I think there are a couple problems in the way you've formulated the
>question; for one thing, I'm not altogether sure that it's fair to say
>Greek narrative operates with independent clauses in the way we'd say
>do in English; i.e., the unit of discourse in Greek is the paragraph,
>rather think that our methods of punctuation are in many instances
>rather artificially to Greek. Secondly, but dependent upon that first
>within the paragraph it's not at all uncommon to designate with a
>pronoun a referent that has already been named (or even that will soon
>thereafter be named) with a relative pronoun. It is perhaps more
>Latin than in the Greek of the Synoptic gospels (but also common, I
>in Paul's letters) for what we'd call a new sentence or independent
>to begin with a relative pronoun which we tend in English to translate
>a demonstrative, e.g.:
> hON DE EN THi hODWi EIDOMEN
> "And that man [or "him"] we saw in the street."
>>I tend to
>>want to translate Mt 21:35 as a series of dependent clauses,
>>the following verse: "And when the vine-dressers had received his
>>one of whom they beat, another they killed, and another they stoned,
>>he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they did to them the
>Although your version certain expresses the meaning of the text, it
>doesn't, as I think you realize (and this is precisely why you're
>convey exactly the sense of the construction in the Greek text. I
>sense of the construction might best be conveyed thus: "And the
>vine-dressers took the slaves, of whom they flayed one, killed one,
>stoned one." It is a common narrative device in Greek to use a
>(or two or three) in the aorist and then an indicative to indicate a
>sequence of actions where English would prefer to use coordinate
>indicatives, as I have done in effect in my version above.
>>What makes this reading particularly awkward is that LABO/NTES OI(
>>GEWRGOI\ is nominative, but does not agree with the subject of the
>>independent verb A)PE/STEILEN in v. 36. What do [you] make of all
this? Does my
>>translation reflect a valid understanding of the text? It seems to me
>>the use of the participle and the relative pronouns certainly serves
>>subordinate the actions described at least pragmatically to what
>>i.e. that the point of the two verses combined is to emphasize that
>>servants were sent more than once, and all were mistreated--the
>>of sendings and mistreatments being treated as a single narrative
>>"event". Is this a valid understanding of the grammar?
>Well, I really don't think I'd link the two verses that way, and I
>that, given our present philosophy of punctuation, the editors of GNT4
>(what I'm looking at right now) have got it right by putting a period
>the end of v. 35.
>It seems to me that v. 35 deals solely with the action of the
>husbandmen/vine-dressers (those are both pretty archaic words in
>aren't they?). I think (but I may be wrong) that you are trying to see
>that participle LABONTES an indication that v. 35 as a whole is
>be subordinate to v. 36. You asked if there wasn't another way this
>be phrased, and I'd say that a rather nice (IMHO) formulation of vv.
>as you want to read them would be:
> LABONTWN DE TWN GEWRGWN TOUS DOULOUS AUTOU, TON MEN DEIRANTWN,
> APOKTEINANTWN, TON DE LIQOBOLHSANTWN, PALIN APESTEILEN ALLOUS
>Certainly v. 35 would be better Greek, in my opinion, if it were
> hOI DE GEWRGOI TOUS DOULOUS AUTOU LABONTES APEKTEINAN, TON MEN
> DEIRANTES, TON DE LIQOBOLHSANTES.
>It's really pretty awkward to put APEKTEINAN in the middle between
>And yes, the relative pronouns are somewhat awkward too, although not,
>think, really anomalous. If in fact Matthew had Mark's text in front
>and tried to improve on it, it's too bad he couldn't have done better
>this. Still, those relative clauses aren't really so bad as the ones
>that opening sequence of Ephesians!
>How about, when the SBL committee gets around to revising BDF, we ask
>to work out a new scheme of punctuation at the same time? I haven't
>that monster of a book on the history of punctuation that was
>or three years ago, but from the reviews of it I gather that
>of punctuation conventions is a relatively recent phenomenon about
>there is not yet universal consensus. I really think something better
>be worked out for Greek that is not derivative from western European
>languages and is more consistent with its actual normative structures
>we can ever define them--but that's your profession, isn't it?)
There is a factor that has not been taken into consideration in
either Carl's analysis or in that presented by Mark Durie, but it is
key to understanding this passage.
Philip is correct in noting that v. 36 is a continuation of the
thoughts begun in v. 35, but he is not correct in thinking that the
participle LABONTES should agree with the subject of the following
verb. The relationship indicated is one of time, not of personal
identity. The aorist tense of the participle LABONTES indicates here
that the incidents of mistreatment of the owner's messengers had
already taken place when he sent other of his servants.
This factor is integral to the story of the parable, since
finally, and with full knowledge of the tenants actions, the owner
sends his own son (v. 37).
Regarding the punctuation of v. 35, the period at the end of the
verse seems to correspond more to the usual translation rendering than
to the Greek construction. It is easier for us to translate "When the
tenants had received his servants, they beat one, killed another, and
another they stoned. Again (the owner) sent other servants....," than
to than to work up something that joins the two clauses into a single
sentence. Nevertheless, something like "Even though the tenants, upon
the arrival of his servants, had beaten one, killed another, and stoned
a third, (the owner) again sent other servants...." might work alright
and preserves the relationship between the clauses.
I'm sending a copy of this post to b-greek. Please feel free to
answer to that list, as this post is somewhat off-topic for the
Greek-Grammar list where I picked up the thread.
David L. Moore Department of Education
Miami, FL, USA Southeastern Spanish District
Dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com of the Assemblies of God
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