Re: Puzzled on Inf. in Mk 2:15

From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Wed Oct 22 1997 - 06:18:38 EDT

At 10:07 AM -0500 10/21/97, Rod Decker wrote:

>How is the infinitive functioning here? From the flow of the context
>I want to translate the phrase as "and he was reclining"--but that
>doesn't fit any typical patterns of infinitive useage that I recall.
>I note that the NIV translates it temporally: "when he was
>reclining"--but I don't think of other infinitives used temporally
>without a preposition (META, EN, PRO, etc.).

Carl Conrad responded:

>I've always understood this as a transposition into the present
>tense (typically Marcan?) of the common LXX construction KAI EGENETO
>+ acc. subject + infinitive. I'd understand it idiomatically thus:
>"And it comes to pass that he is reclining ..." (English translators
>always want to translate this clear reference to ancient eating in a
>triclinium or the like as "sit at table," which of course one can
>do, if it's preferred). At any rate, that's the way I've always read
>this construction.

I would agree with this. I note that the Textus Receptus has EGENETO
here for GINETAI -- presumably some copyists interpreted this as the
LXX / Lukan-type KAI EGENETO + inf. + acc. construction.

An interesting question here is 'Where was he reclining?' And the
text says EN THi OIKIAi AUTOU. Whose house? Presumably Jesus'
house. 2.14b: AUTWi = Jesus; 2.15a AUTON = Jesus. Why not (contra
NIV) AUTOU = Jesus in 2.15b? After all, Jesus has just asked Levi to
'follow him'.

Good wishes


Mark Goodacre
Department of Theology
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

Tel.: +44 (0)121 414 7512 Email:
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