Re: Luke 7:43 reworded

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Tue Sep 16 1997 - 01:31:08 EDT

At 7:43 PM -0500 9/14/97, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>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.

[A quote from Clayton Bartholomew and Carl's response deleted here]

>At 7:22 AM -0500 9/14/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>>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:

This is exactly what I meant in my earlier response to Clayton.

Clayton continued:
>>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?

And Carl responded:
>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:

The problem here is that Clayton's proposed sentence (and Carl's reading of
it) assumes that the relative clause is intended as a modifier of AUTON
(which would, as Carl says, be very odd). In Luke 7:43 (the text from which
all of this speculation started) the context makes it clear that the
relative clause would modify the *subject* of the non-eliptical version of
the sentence, not the object (AUTON) of AGAPHSEI.

[SNIP (Some good stuff from Carl deleted)]

>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.

Of course, this larger context is exactly what is provided in Luke 7. In
that context, the relative clause clearly does modify the subject.

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

Actually, I'm delighted that you addressed the question, Carl. I agree
totally with your judgment that something like EKEINOS or OUTOS is needed
to make the sentence really authentic. I regret that I omitted it in the
book. Of course, including it would have forced me to spend a couple of
more paragraphs explaining why it needed to be there in the reconstruction
of the complete sentence from which the relative clause fragment is taken
in Luke 7:43, but such is life.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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