Re: Luke 16:2

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Mar 08 1996 - 14:20:13 EST

On 3/8/96, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

> Greetings parse-ologists. Here's an interesting conflict in the tools ! In
> Luke 16:2 the phrase TI TOUTO is parsed by some as accusative (evidently
> Direct Object of AKOUW, either together as a compound interrogative or TOUTO
> is the D.O. and TI is predicate to TOUTO with the copula elided). Others
> parse them as nominative (evidently an equative clause with the copula
> elided, and the relative pronoun which refers back to TOUTO and functions as
> the D.O. of AKOUW also elided).
> For those of you who are into crytology, BDF #299(1) refers to this
> construction and says that TI is being used predicatively with TAUTA/TOUTO,
> then give examples which could go either way with no real explanation: Acts
> 14:15 vs Matt 26:62.
> Any suggestions ??????

A stab, probably after too little thought about this little puzzler: I
think I would prefer to understand TI as accusative direct object of AKOUW
and TOUTO as predicative (adverbial) to it. Granted, the best English
equivalent is probably, "What is this I hear about you?"--Still, I think it
is literally, "What do I hear about you here/in_this_instance?" I rather
think that those who "parse them as nominative (evidently an equative
clause with the copula elided ..." are construing the Greek as if it were
an English sentence, i.e., reasoning backwards from how you translate it to
how it construes in Greek. My own reasoning, which could be wrong here, is
that, although hOUTOS may very well function substantivally by itself, when
it appears with another element such as the pronoun TI here, it is a
demonstrative predicative pronoun with intensive deictic force.

> I just ran into another alternative for Luke 16:2: Take TI as adverbial
> interrogative (Why?) and then TOUTO become the D.O. of AKOUW. Not in
> agreement with BDF (their adverbial uses are #299(4)), but how does that
> strike you'all.

I wouldn't say this is impossible, but somehow it seems less likely, more
strained, to me.

I will be interested to hear/read what others have to say on this one.
Ellipsis is common enough in Greek, but it always leaves room for honest
doubt when one tries to supply the expletives.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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