Re: Luke 22:20

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Mar 16 1998 - 08:34:54 EST

At 6:41 AM -0600 3/16/98, George Athas wrote:
>Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> TO acting as a relative pronoun? I might expect that in Homer or Herodotus;
>> occasionally--certainly more often than as a relative pronoun--one sees it
>> as a demonstrative, as one sees hOS, but this seems to me another grasp at
>> a straw; the reason we translate it as a relative pronoun is that this is
>> the strategy we regularly follow with attributive participles: we turn them
>> into relative clauses. But we would best be very careful about confusing
>> the grammar of our translations with the grammar of the original text.
>Carl, what I'm suggesting is not that TO *is* a relative pronoun here, but
>that in
>this messy construction, it is acting *like* a relative pronoun for English
>translation. The clause can be taken as either attributive or predicative.
>You pick
>attributive (on reasonable grounds) and I pick predicative (also on reasonable
>grounds). It really is up to the individual which they prefer.

But how can it be predicative when there's an article in front of it? I
think one might well argue that it really is attributive without an
article, in which case one could make out a case for its being EITHER
attributive OR predicative, but I don't see how it can be predicative with
the article there.

>> This whole section here, 22:17-20, is a messy one and one that is
>> head-spinningly variant in the MSS. I've puzzled with it repeatedly over
>> the years and often suspected it's the product of an effort to bring Luke
>> more discernibly into line with the theology of the other synoptics, but I
>> don't feel confident enough with my own text-critical abilities to argue
>> for any definitive solution to the question how the text came to be in the
>> form in which we get it printed in our editions. I would say that the form
>> of TO hUPER hUMWN EKCUNNOMENON is deliberately parallel to the form of TO
>> hUPER hUMWN DIDOMENON, another attributive participial phrase which we
>> translate as a relative clause in English.
>Yes, the verse is rather messy isn't it? It does seem as though Luke is
>trying to
>bring out the meaning of the other synoptics but confusing the grammar and
>construction in the process. We have to ask: Is Luke trying primarily to
>the grammar or the meaning? My vote is for the meaning, hence my choice of

Well, once again, my own impression (which I have no way of proving) is
that the text we have in 17-20 is a conflation, the whole of which may not
necessarily derive from the evangelist's own hand.

Let me go one very short step further WITH you, however. I'll agree that we
have a mixed metaphor here in that drinking is a symbolic act used in
different ways in the Biblical tradition: blood, gall, etc. I'd even say
that one could readily understand TOUTO TO POTHRION as "this chalice full
of blood" and still have TO EKCUNNOMENON as an attributive participle
referring back to POTHRION but with the "outpouring" having natural
reference to the shedding of blood. I guess what I want to insist on, from
my own point of view, is that what we think the intent of the author to be
should not alter the way we read the grammatical construction.

Regards, cwc
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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