Re: Luke 18:13-TWi hAMARTWLWi

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sun Aug 08 1999 - 21:13:29 EDT

<x-flowed>At 03:10 PM 8/7/99 -0500, Carlton Winbery wrote:
>Edgar Foster wrote;
> >I'm presently trying to work out some of the implications of the Greek
> >definite article. In this connection I was wondering, how would you
> >translate TWi hAMARTWLWi in Luke 18:13 and why would you translate it
> >in this way or that?
> >
>I would say that the use of the article TWi is used to denote a member of a
>class of people. It is similar to the famous eg. Jn 10:10 "A thief (hO
>KLEPTHS) comes only to . . ." Hence, I would translate the word of the tax
>collector as ". . . be merciful to me, (one who is) a sinner."

This raises a side issue. In private email, I recently suggested to someone
that translating the Greek article as "the" in every case could actually be
misleading, but I didn't have a good example in mind. I think these are
both good examples.

"God, be merciful to me, *the* sinner (NASB)" seems to imply all kinds of
things that are not intended; "God, be merciful to me, *a* sinner" seems to
be a much better translation, even though the article is present. In John
10:10, "The thief comes in only to steal and kill and destroy" seems to
imply one particular thief (perhaps an allusion to the devil?), but "A
thief come sin only to steal and kill and destroy" seems to be closer to
the way I understand the text.



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