Re: Position of Possesive Pronoun

From: George Athas (
Date: Tue Feb 24 1998 - 16:56:40 EST


Yes it is a somewhat unusual construction in Acts 9:18. But, as you
quoted BDF, it is nothing to really fret about. Greek quite often mixes
up the place of its various sentence components giving something which
to us looks quite awkward (it still happens in modern Greek today!).
Luke would probably not have even battered an eyelid. It just shows Luke
really throwing around his Greek, almost as if in casual conversation.

However, there are two ways of reading this little clause. You can place
AUTOU with TWN OFQALMWN, and render it, "and immediately there fell from
his eyes...", without any real problem. However, I think an easier
reading of the Greek is to see AUTOU as standing almost on its own, so
that the entire action of something falling from the eyes belongs to
Paul, rather than only the eyes belonging to Paul. I can't offer any
English translation that really conveys this Greek sense because we have
no equivalent expression. However, the expression makes perfect
idiomatic sense in the Greek - take the word of a Greek for it! I
believe the same thing is happening in Matt 8:8. Let's see if I can
explain it quasi-diagrammatically:

Option 1: AUTOU referring to TWN OFQALMWN only:
          kai euqews apepesan [AUTOU] apo {TWN OFQALMWN} ws lepides...

Option 2: AUTOU referring to the entire action of APEPESAN APO TWN
          kai euqews {APEPESAN [AUTOU] APO TWN OFQALMWN} ws lepides...

Did that make sense? Hope it did!

As for Paul rising and being baptised, I do not think that Luke intends
us to imagine a river running through the house of Judas where Paul was
staying. I think Luke has just condensed his narrative to the bare
essentials. Thus, Paul may have walked out to the Abana River (modern
Barada River) which flows by Damscus, or may have gone to a pool nearby,
or what have you. The implication is that a water source was close by.
We do not need to take the adverb EUQEWS ("immediately") in the
strictest literal sense. It is a common word used in narrative to denote
progression in the story (cf its usage in Mark).

Best regards!
George Athas
 PhD (Cand.), University of Sydney
 Tutor of Hebrew, Moore Theological College
Phone: 0414 839 964 ICQ#: 5866591

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