Re: Luke 9:21--ambiguous to me

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Wed Sep 03 1997 - 13:14:55 EDT

Carl Conrad responded to Ronald Wong;
>At 4:34 PM -0500 9/3/97, Ronald Wong wrote:
>>This may not be an advanced question...but a grammatical one that I
>>haven't been able to solve...
>>In Luke 9:21, When Jesus PARHGGEILEN MHDENI LEGEIN TOUTO . . .
>>In the english text (NASB) it separates this as a sentence, though the
>>greek text does not.
>>How can we know accurately what the TOUTO refers to...what precedes
>>(v.20) "TON XRISTON TOU QEOU" or what follows in (v.22)...
>Well, it's been a while since we've heard from "dogtoy"--I just love that
>name as I still recall fondly the things my dachshund used to play with.
>There are a couple factors that might be helpful here. The first is that,
>although this is not an invariable principle, it is very frequently true
>that a neuter form of hOUTOS (TOUTO or TAUTA) points *backward* to some
>salient notion in what has immediately preceded, while a neuter form of
>hODE (TODE or TADE) points *forward* to some salient notion to be set forth
>in what follows. And that seems to be the case here: TOUTO does, almost
>surely, refer back to Peter's identification of Jesus as "the Christ of
>The second factor is help to be gained from the parallel pericopae of the
>other Synoptic gospels. I'm looking at UBS4 and Lk 9:21 is prefaced by a
>heading that tells me this section has a parallel in Matthew at Mt 16:20-28
>and a parallel in Mark at Mk 8:30-9:1. Checking the parallels of a pericope
>in any one of the synoptic gospels is almost always illuminating in
>revealing the different perceptions and perhaps slightly different
>interpretations of the same story in each evangelist; it won't, in every
>single instance, help one to understand the gospel version one started out
>with, but more often than not it does. And if you look at Mark and Matthew,
>you'll see that there's this same admonition by Jesus to the disciples not
>to reveal to others his Messianic identity. This is the celebrated motif of
>the "Messianic secret" which has played a by no means negligible role in
>studies of the relationship of the synoptic gospels to each other.
Carl is certainly right about the parallels being helpful. In this
instance note that in Mark 8:30 there is the construction hINA +
subjunctive indicating the content of what was commanded (EPITIMHSEN,
perhaps better "rebuked" as in vs 32 [Peter rebukes Jesus] and 33 [Jesus
rebukes Peter]). Note that in Luke 9:21 for hINA + subjunctive there is
the infinitive used to show indirect speech, "to tell noone about this" -
obviously the confession. Note also that Mark's EPITIMHSEN is relegated to
a circumstantial participle and the main verb now is PARHGGEILEN, "to
command" - a much softer term which is closer to the meaning of DIESTEILATO
in Matthew 16:20. Note that in Matt. hINA + subjunctive is used as in
Mark. Its most curious how Mann in the Anchor Bible struggles with this
passage from a Griesbachian point of view.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Chair, Division of Religious Studies
voice 318 487-7241
fax 318 442-4996

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