Re: Luke 7:45

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Apr 23 1999 - 06:48:33 EDT

At 4:54 AM -0500 4/23/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Dear B-Greekers,
>There was some discussion about
>Luke 7:45 on the list.
>For me, AF' hHS EISHLQON was difficult to handle.
>It is translated as "since the time I came in".
>Here hHS is the genitive case of the female relative pronoun.
>This expression seems to assume the antecedent of hHS.
>I would like to ask two questions.
>1) Is this common after prepositions?
>2) On what ground, is the "time" taken to be the antecedent?

(a) AF' hHS is one of a number of combined prepositional phrases, some
found even in classical Attic, others only in Hellenistic Greek that have
come to be fixed as adverbial conjunctions; sometimes these are even
written as single words (e.g. hOUNEKA = hOU hENEKA; DIO = DI' hO, both
meaning "for which reason," "because"); often enough a noun is understood
but not expressed (e.g. EN TOUTWi, where one must usually understand an
implicit TWi CRONWi, for "at this time", DIA PASWN, often written DIAPASWN,
where there was an implicit TWN CORDWN, for "the whole musical scale"). In
the case of AF' hHS, we can find hHMERAS as the implicit noun actually
expressed elsewhere in the GNT, e.g. Col. 1:16 AF' hHS hHMERAS and Col 1:9;
but far more commonly it is omitted as in our passage, and also Acts 1:25,
Acts 24:11, Heb 7:13, Heb 11:15, 2 Pet 3:4 (I did a quick search for APO
followed immediately by hHS in AcCordance to get these).

(b) Evidently the meaning did expand from "ever since the day when" to
"ever since the time when." In Lk 7:45 we could hardly imagine a sequence
of days to have intervened since the woman started kissing Jesus' feet;
clearly, then, AF' hHS has simply become equivalent to "ever since."

(c) In response to the direct questions above, I'd say: YES, the omission
of an antecedent, especially one whose gender determines the gender of the
relative pronoun, is quite common; I'd even go so far as to say it is
consistent with the readiness of Greek idiom to avail itself of
opportunities for ellipsis. "The ellipsis, please!"

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

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