Rahab's sign

From: Bart Ehrman (behrman@email.unc.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 05 1999 - 13:13:04 EST

   In discussing Rahab and the spies, 1 Clem 12:7 says KAI PROSEQENTO
AUTHi DOUNAI SHMEION. The implied subject of of PROSEQENTO is the
"spies." The phrase is a semiticism. A typical rendering in English
translations is something like "They proceeded to give her a sign."
Parallels to this use of PROSEQENTO are Luke 19:11 and Acts 12:3.

   Harnack, though, argued that it should be rendered something like "They
directed her to give a sign" (well, Harnack wasn't writing in English; his
suggestion is "praeterea mandaverunt ei ut signum daret"). Something like
this seems to be followed still by the most recent German renditions.
Lightfoot argues thought that it is impossible, on the grounds that it
involves understanding PROSEQENTO as something like "enjoin" or "impose."

   Does anyone have an opinion about it?

-- Bart Ehrman
   University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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