Re: Luke 22:20

From: George Athas (
Date: Mon Mar 16 1998 - 01:15:59 EST

James P. Ware wrote:

> [...] I find I must disagree with George Athas' reply that the text is
> ambiguous
> in Luke 22:20 as to whether it is the blood or the cup which is poured
> out. An attributive adjectival participle, like any adjective, agrees with
> the noun it modifies not only in gender and number, but also in case. In
> order for the participle here to modify haimati, it would normally
> have to be in the dative, unless one were to argue for some contructio ad
> sensum such as one finds in the papyri or the book of Revelation; this
> seems unlikely for Luke. Or am I underestimating this possibility, or
> missing something else?
> Jim Ware

Jim and Thomas,

If TO hUPER hUMWN EKCUNNOMENON is attributive, then yes, it must refer to the
cup (TO POTHRION). However, another legitimate reading (which I prefer) is that
To hUPER hUMWN EKCUNNOMENON is predicative of TW hAIMATI MOU, hence requiring
the nominative case. It makes more sense for the blood to be spilled than the
cup - indeed, it is idiomatic to talk of blood being spilled by using the lemma
EKCUNW/EKCEW. The other synoptics also support the blood being spilled -
although Luke is his own writer and must be taken on his own grounds, it is
still quite legitimate to see EKCUNNOMENON as qualifying TW hAIMATI MOU. It is
as if the the TO in *TO* hUPER hUMWN EKCUNNOMENON is acting like a relative
pronoun. Indeed, whether you take it as referring to the cup or the blood, we
must translate it as a relative pronoun. I guess it's a case of take your pick
to which it refers.

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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