Re: Origen on Luke 1:1

From: Daniel Ria–o (
Date: Wed Feb 09 2000 - 12:02:36 EST

clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>Dungan uses this as evidence for adopting Origen's understanding of Luke
>1:1. What is wrong with Dungan's logic here? Is there anything wrong
>with it? If EPECEIREW shows up most of the time in contexts where some
>sort of negative action is transpiring are we justified in transferring
>this supposed negative coloring back into Luke 1:1?
>My inclination is to say that Dungan is wrong. If he found two
>occurrences of EPECEIREW where there was no negative connotation then I
>would say that all bets are off for Luke 1:1 where there are a number of
>reasons to reject this idea.
>I suspect that there is some principle of lexical semantic theory which
>applies to this question but I cannot quote it.

        My interpretation of EPIXEIRE/W in Luke 1:1 is probably that of
yours, but dealing with the matter in a more abstract way, I'd suggest that:

        - The fact that a word X is well documented, and every apparition
of X has a certain connotation Y, is a very strong argument (although not
decisive) for attributing the same connotation to a certain instance of X,
(Z), provided that a) The documentation for X covers at least the
chronological period Z belongs to; b) There are other instances of X in the
same or analogous kind of document Z belongs to; c) The context does not
strongly suggest a different interpretation.
        - The fact that X demands a different interpretation (W) in at
least one different case that fulfills conditions a-c above, makes the
numerical superiority of interpretation Y a feeble argument to attribute
that connotation to Z. (maybe a very, very weak argument: sometimes it is
of course a question of interpretative talent the determination of wether
some contexts are comparable).
        - As a more informal addendum, I'd like to note that the Septuagint
seems to defy any attempt to state this kind of semantic rules. Words in
the LXX have many, many times a meaning of its own, quite different from
the rest of our documentation (you wouldn't say that reading
Lust-Eynekel-Hauspie Septuagint lexicon). But maybe this is not to be
consider a real exception, since given the special nature of this
translation, is sometimes difficult (or not possible) to find parallels,
and this makes condition (b) not applicable.

        And since we are dealing here with "unica", can anybody suggest a
parallel for the use of "E)KTELE/W" in Clemens Alexandrinus, "Quis dives
salvetur", Chap. 21, sect. 4 fin.?


Daniel Ria–o Rufilanchas
Madrid, Espa–a

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