Re: Matt 11:25 etc...

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Wed Oct 27 1999 - 17:47:18 EDT

To: Brian Swedburg,

<< BAGD (p93) says that APOKRIQEIS in this verse [Mt 11:25] is  a Hebraic continuation of discourse i.e... "continuing, Jesus said". Being young in my Greek studies, I'm not familiar with APOKRIQEIS being used this way often. Is it in your experience?  Is this a viable alternative? >>

As BAGD points out, but something which I had noticed myself in my reading, the verb APOKRINOMAI is not always preceded by a question. Often a good translation (which BAGD doesn't give) is "respond," "responds," "responded," or "responding." But at Mt 11:25, the Matthean Jesus is neither "answering" a question, nor "responding" to a situation, so how does one explain the verb APOKRIQEIS?

The idiom APOKRIQEIS EIPEN appears to have been popular in the LXX (for example, look at Gen 18:9,27; 23:10; 27:37,39; 31:31,36,43; 40:18; 41:16 in the LXX), and seems to represent a common spoken idiom in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages. Whether one wants to call it a semitism, a Septuigintism, or whatever, it seems that in such situations the verb APOKRINOMAI has lost its force. The suggestion that it should be translated as "continuing"  perhaps should not be taken too seriously, many scholars hold that APOKRIQEIS has simply become redundant. Thus the NRSV simply ignores APOKRIQEIS in its translation as more or less meaningless.

<< I realize that if your verdict is in that this is a wisdom saying, or remembered saying of Jesus, drawn from a theorized document such a Q, such a connection would appear fictitious.  Yet, I am open to the possibility that our author is telling it like it was, and am therefore interested in this connection of pericopes. >>

Whether the story is fiction or history, either way, the author of Matthew's gospel is trying to tell a story, which undoubtedly he (and I believe that the author of Matthew's gospel was most likely male) believes to be historical. And thus his connection of pericopes is indeed important if one wants to understanding his story! So I would concur with you, I too want to understand his connection of pericopes.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"There are no ultimate sources of knowledge. Every source, every suggestion is welcome; and every source, every suggestion, is open to critical examination" (Karl Popper, "Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge," 1963:27).
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