From: Randy LEEDY (RLEEDY@bju.edu)
Date: Thu Mar 05 1998 - 17:07:55 EST

A friend of mine just called with a question that has intrigued me.
He was wondering about the use of the ptcp LUONTES in Mk 11:5: TI
POIEITE LUONTES TON PWLON?. Kind of an odd use by Koine standards,
but BDF suggests it was more common earlier (414). It seems natural
to render the question "Why are you untying the colt?", but the exact
English parallel "What are you doing untying the colt?" also sounds
natural. As I think about the difference in English between the
questions "Why..." and "What are you doing...", it seems to me that
the latter implies a stronger disapproval. The former could actually
be a request for an explanation, while the latter seems to imply an
objection to what is being done. If my young son is inserting a metal
object into an electrical outlet, I'm going to yell "What are you
doing...", not "Why are you...". Acts 21:13 contains parallel
phraseology, where at least a little disapproval also fits the
context, where Paul asks his companions "What are you doing weeping"
in response to Paul's refusal to heed their advice based on Agabus's

What think ye? Is this a legitimate reading of the Greek
construction? Is the idiom a survival from the classical period? If
so, what bearing does its presence in Mark have upon the nature of
Mark's language or upon his sources? Or might the idiom also be
Latinistic, Carl?

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

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