re: use of participles-Lk10-25

From: yochanan bitan (
Date: Thu Oct 29 1998 - 05:49:33 EST

dear jerry

on lk 10:25ff, I read the EKPEIRAZWN as idiomatic for this verb.
      An 'attempt or testing' is often open-ended. [Especially if it does
not reach its desired goal, though here it actually does get to the bottom
of the new rabbi's teaching.] Notice how many times Greek narrative uses an
imperfect 'they were trying . . .' In fact, in the gospels, one may even
suspect that an aorist EPEIRASEN may be semitically influenced. the
aspectual distinction is not normally signalled in Hebrew or Aramaic so,
like the LXX, aorists may occur more frequently for this verb than in
natural, idiomatic greek.

On POIHSAS ... KLHRONOMHSW the whole phrase appears, in my eyes, to be a
Lucan/Grecian rewrite of the original question in the original context.
Inheritance, by its nature is a singulative event. you've either inherited
or not and the 'do' is probably influenced subconsciously by Christian
intitiation. It is Luke's way of preparing for the answer 'be doing this
and live'.

Matthew appears to have preserved the original question: "what be
commandment big in the law?" This is a rabbinic idiom, perfectly preserved
in Greek. mahu klal gadol batorah? notice the lack of the article on
'commandment', not the best greek but idiomatic in hebrew where the idiom
always appears without the article. also notice the lack of
comparative/superlative. plus the choice of the adjective 'big'. i could go
on but things get technical.

but LUke has preserved the answer. Jesus doesn't answer but asks two
questions, a doublet, and the lawyer responds with what must have been
'current understanding' in some circles. And Jesus' must have known an
answer like this was extractable! this is inherently truer to the first
century than mark and matthew's 'first'--'second' in the answer. actually,
luke probably preserves a "gezera shava" where the verses cited had already
been connected through a relatively rare first word veahavta 'and you shall
love'. [one of the '12 patriarchs' records these thoughts together and
rabbi akiva (120-140) is quoted as saying lev 19.18 is the klal gadol
batorah!] again, there is alot more but things get technical.
mark (followed by matthew) has rewritten the lawyer's answer for a roman
audience for whom all these ideas were new and for whom this does, in the
bottom line, represent Jesus' teaching, so it put it directly in Jesus'
[ps: any synoptic theory can generate the above as long as independent
access to alternative sources is recognized.]


randall buth

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:05 EDT