Re: Aorists in the Magnificat

From: Kenneth Litwak (
Date: Mon Apr 22 1996 - 16:38:29 EDT

   Carl, thanks for your post. I've read Raymond Brown's comments (just yesterday
in fact) as well as those of several other scholars on this particular point.
There is in fact a fair amount of non-LXX style here (such as the pairing of
MEGALUNW and AGGALLIAW) as well as several non-Lukan features (if one can
actually reason from Luke what is non-Lukan and that's a serious problem in
trying to determine the text of Acts given the difference between D and A, for
example). So numerous scholars have argued for a Hebrew original. Brown himself
argues that if it did not come from a Hebrew original, it at least came from
a Jewish Christian community that knew Hebrew or the like, though I find his
theory about the Christian )ANAWIM most unconvincing. The change from
present in 1:46 to aorist in 1:47 is seen by many to reflect a hebrew
waw-consecutive and there are enough Hebrew-like, non-LXX like features to
cast doubt on an LXX-based origin, though there may be some influence from that.
Most scholars I've read (not just conservative) would argue that the Magnificat
is essentially non-Lukan. I don't know if the assumption of a Hebrew original
helps us. It would depend upon whether Luke was wooden in his translation.
It might also be asked, in that case, if the original version used perfects and
if so, why? That presumably changes the language for the question but not the
issue. Whether Luke is translating a Semitic original or using a Greek
original with significant Semitic interference (as suggested in
"The Hodayot and New Testament Poetry" in _To Touch the Text_, one might ask
whether or not he is capable of forming Greek to match his intentions rather
than that of his sources. Surely someone who holds to Markan priority
(not me for sure) would have to argue in favor of that. I guess I've said all
this to put the possible LXX connection aside temporarily at least.

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA (No matter what the header says)

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