Re: Permissive Subj. in Acts 7:34B

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Tue Oct 14 1997 - 10:06:00 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote;
>At 5:36 AM -0500 10/14/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>>I do not see how APOSTEILW in Acts 7:34b can be read as a
>>permissive subjunctive.
>>In Acts 7:34b we have :
>>Both Wallace (p464) and BDF (364(1)) call this an example
>>of a permissive subjunctive. BDF states ". . . in the first
>>person singular . . . an invitation is extended to another to
>>permit the speaker to do something."
>>I checked the LXX and the syntax of Ex 3:10 in BHS and
>>read U. Cassuto on Ex 3:10 and my conclusion is that
>>whatever the subjunctive is doing in this passage it is
>>most certainly not permissive. The LORD is not asking
>>Moses if He can send him to the Egyptians.
>>I could find no English translation that rendered Acts
>>7:34b in an explicitly permissive manner. What am I
>>missing here? Am I misreading BDF? Quite possibly I am
>>caught up in a misunderstanding about how the
>>permissive subjunctive is used. Please feel free to
>>straighten me out on this. I am listening.
>Looks to me like the Hebrew here is a simple imperfect = future tense. I
>think that the Greek subjunctive here in the first person would more
>traditionally be called "hortatory:--it's the same as back in Genesis 1;1
>where God says, "Let us make man ..." I don't know that "permissive" is a
>very good term for it, because, as Clay says, it's not a matter of ASKING
>permission, and I suspect that "permissive" derives from the English "Let
>us" element, which is simply a periphrastic idiom: "Well, now, how's about
>I send you to Pharaoh and get this matter straightened out." It's
>tantamount to "I SHALL send you"--and all of this may come down to a use of
>the subjunctive that is kindred to the Homeric, where far more often than
>not, the subjunctive is simply a declarative future.

Interesting that the Byzantine scribes with the support of min. 33 and PSI
preserve the reading of APOSTELW, the future. This would be the only place
I can think of where the 1st sing. subjunctive is used as hortatory. Most
of these are in the 1st plural. Were a hINA present, purpose would surely
be the function. Could it be translated "to send" (purpose) even tho the
hINA is not present? I need time to do a search of the 1st singulars in
the NT & LXX.

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