Re: Luke 7:43 reworded

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 14 1997 - 20:43:06 EDT

I think Micheal can very well respond on his own behalf to the question
you've put regarding the argument of his book, but I'll at least comment on
these sentences.

At 7:22 AM -0500 9/14/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>In Luke 7:43 Simon answers Jesus question by saying:

Of course this is quite elliptical, but it is certainly not extraordinary
in that respect. Colloquial Greek normally does not repeat elements from a
preceding sentence that can be understood as carried forward into the
structure of the response.

>Now let's assume that Simon had been more loquacious and had
>replaced the string enclosed in asterisks with:
>My first question is, would this longer response make sense in NT
>Greek? If not, where does the fault lie in this response. (Is AUTON

The problem here is that the AUTON is very confusing and too readily looks
like it may be the antecedent of hWi--although if it were, it really ought
to be something like EKEINON or TOUTON. What you've done, as I see it,
Clay, is to reproduce most--but not all--of the elements in Jesus' question
that are implicit in Simon's elliptical reply, which is itself
unexceptional in Greek. But I think that if you're going to rephrase the
sentence intelligibly as an answer wherein the elements of the question are
all explictly present in the answer, you'll have to replace the TIS AUTWN
of the question also--with an EKEINOS or a hOUTOS:


>Now assuming that the previous example makes sense in NT Greek
>would the following change in word order be acceptable? If not,
>where does the fault lie with this word order?

The absence of a clear subject is really practically if not wholly
intolerable here, in my opinion. If I were given this sentence just like
that, I'd punctuate it, at least mentally, after AUTON, and read it as, "He
will love him to whom he granted the greater favor." But even that's not
really right, because one wouldn't really expect a non-intensive,
non-demonstrative pronoun like AUTON to be an antecedent of hWi; rather one
would want an EKEINON or TOUTON:


I think that the real problem here is that just as in English we can
squeeze antecedent into the relative pronoun in a sentence such as the one
I learned as a model in grammar school, "Who steals my purse steals trash,"
where "who" is short for 'he who" or "the one who" and "he" or "the one" is
the real subject of "steals trash." So in your sentence from Luke, hWi is a
relative pronoun functioning as the complement of PLEION ECARISATO, but
implicit in it is a nominative hOUTOS or EKEINOS which functions as the
subject of PLEION AGAPHSEI. The AUTON, on the other hand, simply muddies up
the phrasing, as one is not quite sure to whom it is supposed to refer.

The problem then, as I see it, is that you've given us two clauses, PLEION
AGAPHSEI AUTON and hWi PLEION ECARISATO, each of which is intelligible in
its own right but which don't work intelligibly together because it is
quite unclear how they are supposed to relate syntactically to each other.
It is by no means clear that hWi TO PLEION ECARISATO is functioning as the
subject of AGAPHSEI AUTON--apart, at any rate, from a larger context which
permits one to discern the hWi as implicitly conveying an EKEINOS referring
to the story previously told about the two debtors.

The rest I leave for Micheal, and I'm sure he'll wish that I had left the
whole thing for him.

>Now assuming that both of these examples make sense in NT Greek
>we have established that the word sequence *AUTON hWi TO PLEION
>EXARISATO* is a movable unit. If it is a movable unit then it is
>probably also a *constituent* is it not?
>If all of this discussion seems rather off the wall then look at page 44
>of *Levels of Constituent Structure in New Testament Greek*,
>Micheal W. Palmer, (Peter Lang 1995) where this example appears.
>Micheal Palmer states that the word sequence *AUTON hWi TO PLEION
>EXARISATO* is not "a phrase level constituent (or a constituent of
>any kind) of any possible sentence."
>I am not arguing that Micheal is wrong. I am raising three questions
>for discussion. Are word sequences (1) and (2) intelligible NT Greek?
>Is the word sequence *AUTON hWi TO PLEION EXARISATO* a movable
>unit? If it is a movable unit does it qualify as a *constituent* of some

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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