Re: Mark 4-3- a sower/the s

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Tue Jun 17 1997 - 16:13:26 EDT

>>In Mark 4:3 (parr) it says:
>>Question: how can I be sure this has to be translated by "a sower went out to
>>sow" (RSV). What about: "the sower went out to sow"

Michael Palmer wrote you:

>It is important to remember that the article in Greek does NOT function
>exactly like the article in English. Just because there is an article
>present in the Greek text does NOT mean there should be one in an English
>translation (though you are likely to get some responses from readers with
>little experience who will argue that it does). [And your question implies
>that you do remember this.]

That is right on target. Proper names often have the definite article in
Greek, in English they do not.

And so also, in what grammarians call the generic use, an article is used
with a noun that represents a class of people or a group. See p. 144 in
Dana and Mantey, who cite Matt 8:20 as an example. Chamberlain, p. 54.1.b
refers to Matt 18:17. Robertson Davis, p. 276, par 386.b to Luke 10:7.

Thus hO SPEIRWN may mean a sower who represents what sowers as a class do,
best represented in English by the indefinite article.

* Edgar Krentz, Prof. of New Testament *
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