Re: Luke 1:54

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Oct 06 1999 - 20:27:56 EDT

At 1:01 PM -0800 10/6/99, Brian Swedburg wrote:
> I am translating Luke 1:39-55 and am stumped by...
>1. the function of and syntactic relation of the aor pass inf
>"MNHSQHNAI" to the rest of v 54,
>2. as well as troubled by the meaning of the genetive use of ELEOUS.

In Lk 1:54 we have a citation from the LXX, and this is no ordinary
classical Greek; I think that

(1) MNSQHNAI here is an infinitive of purpose (or perhaps result; in
fancier Greek you might have expected an introductory hWSTE here) without
any introductory construction, dependent upon ANTELABETO ISRAHL PAIDOS
AUTOU. Note, moreover, that although you can call it a passive in the sense
that it has "passive deponent" forms in the aorist, this is hardly passive;
the verb is middle MIMNHSKOMAI; I would simply say that the -QH- forms
supply the aorist and future of this middle-voice verb. "He has helpfully
taken hold of his child Israel, so as to recollect once again (his)
compassion (for Israel)."

(2) MIMNHSKOMAI is one of those verbs of mental activity that take a direct
object (or "direct complement," if you prefer that language) in the
genitive. It's actually a partitive genitive originally: "make recollection
of ..." The sense will be, I think, "to recollect once again (his)

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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