Re: Position of Possessive Pronoun

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 24 1998 - 17:55:04 EST

At 6:00 AM -0600 2/24/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> At 5:01 AM -0600 2/24/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>> >The first item is the position of AUTOU in the phrase APEPESAN AUTOU
>> >OFQALMWN. I am prepared to accept that a possessive pronoun may precede
>> >noun but I was not quite prepared for this kind of separation. It seemed
>> >rather harsh to have a possessive pronoun modify a noun in a prepositional
>> >phrase following the pronoun. My surprise at this construction is just one
>> >more piece of evidence that I still have a "tin ear" when it comes to NT
>> >greek. According to BDF 473.1 this construction is nothing to be alarmed
>> >about. There is another clear example in Mat. 8:8 which reads MOU hUPO THN
>> >STEGHN. This is not an emphatic position according to BDF 473.1.
>> There may be other views, but I'd be inclined personally to understand that
>> AUTOU as an immediate ablatival genitive complement to APEPESAN clarified
>> by the following APO TWN OFQALMWN: "fell from him from the eyes"; i.e., I
>> don't really think it's a possessive pronoun at all.
>When I first encountered this I tried to read it the way you have described,
>even though I didn't have the terminology to label it. After pondering the
>problem for a while I broke my own rules and looked at the most literal
>English translations I could find and all of them seemed to translate it as a
>possessive pronoun. So I concluded that I must be wrong. Perhaps it is best to
>steer clear of the English when trying to solve this kind of problem.

Yes, definitely one should not mix up the English translation with the
syntax of the Greek. I think the only proper way to translate the phrase,
even as I have understood it, is "fell from his eyes"--but the same would
be true if the Greek had no genitive at all and read simply APEPESE APO TWN
OFQALMWN, simply because in English we use the pronouns where Greek tends
to understand them--or I should say, ANCIENT Greek tends to understand
them, especially if you use the article with eyes, hands, etc.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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