Re: Luke 19:33

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Fri Feb 13 1998 - 04:36:34 EST

George Athas wrote:
> Marty Brownfield wrote:
> > Maybe your friend was confused by the genitive absolute, and didn't
> > recognize that AUTWN was the subject of LUONTWN and tried to translate the
> > phrase "untying their colt" (or something similar) instead of "as they were
> > untying the colt".
> >
> > Otherwise, if there really is some anomaly, I'm missing it as well.
> Actually Marty, my friend realised the use of the genitive absolute. That was
> why he asked me the question. He just could not see anything anomalous in the
> construction either. It was a question prompted by a worksheet he was asked to
> do at college asking him to comment on what was 'wrong' with the construction.
> I think it just must have been a trick question!

George and Marty

I don't think this is a trick question. It is a tricky question which is why I
didn't just jump on it without looking it over a bit.

What is "wrong" with this genitive absolute is that it is not absolute. The
subject of the genitive absolute is coreferential with the indirect object of
the main clause. In other words the disciples who were untying the PWLON turn
up again in the main clause; PROS AUTOUS. In this sense the genitive absolute
is not really absolute.

However to call this "wrong" in any absolute sense is wrong because according
to Richard Young (Intermediate NT Greek, p159) 42% of the genitive absolutes
in the NT are coreferential with another element in the "UBS" sentence. By
saying "UBS sentence" Young is quietly acknowledging here that "sentence" is
some what of a problematic concept in NT Greek. But laying this issue aside,
the construction found here in Luke 19:33 is quite common in the NT.

This may be what the professor was trying to draw attention to.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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