[b-greek] RE: AUTOS in Luke 3:23

From: Iver Larsen (alice-iver_larsen@wycliffe.org)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 03:28:44 EST

Several people have already pointed out the difference between Classical Greek
and Koine, but let me add a few comments.

As I looked through the synoptic gospels and Acts for cases of AUTOS I noticed a
couple of things that I thought were interesting, and one of them surprised me.
My assumption from general linguistics is that when a language, like Greek,
incorporates the pronominal reference in its verbs, the independent use of a
pronoun is not needed for the purpose of referring to the subject, since that
reference is contained in the verb itself. When the independent pronoun is used
in addition to a verb that includes the pronominal reference, I expect it to be
used for emphasis, usually contrast.

This appears to be the case in both Matthew, Mark and Acts. I counted AUTOS used
as a third person subject pronoun the following times: Matthew - 5, Mark - 8,
Acts - 9. The context of all of these support the emphatic use, and as expected
it is not very common.

However, Luke was different. I counted 39 (thirty-nine) instances of AUTOS as a
third person subject pronoun in Luke, and many of these were used in contexts
that did not support an emphatic use. It was often a simple back reference. That
surprised me.

I counted KAI AUTOS separately (when KAI was used as "also" not just "and"). It
has a slightly different meaning ("he, too") because of the added KAI.

There were a few cases where AUTOS modified a personal name: Mt 3:4, Mk
6:17;12:36,37; 16:21, Luke 20:42, 24:15 and possibly Luke 3:23. This is where
the English "himself" is often used, but it is still a matter of emphasising the

Luke had a few cases where he used AUTOS as an intensifier (emphasiser?) outside
third person. I would be interested to know whether this is Classical or
Hellenistic usage. Some examples:

"How can you say... when you yourself are not seeing the log in your eye"

Acts 10:26 KAI EGW AUTOS ANQRWPOS EIMI "I, too, myself am a man"

Other examples are: Acts 21:24; 22:20; 24:8,16; 25:22.

> Iver:
> Smyth says that AUTOS in any case in the predicate position with a
> substantive is intensive. Here AUTOS is in the predicate position relative
> to its antecedent. KAI AUTOS HN IHSOUS ... WSEI ETWN TRIAKONTA. The more
> definite noun is the subject of that phrase, and the pronoun is clearly in
> predicate position. So, following Smyth, it is intensive in that position.

This seems to be a different use of "predicate position" than the one we have
been discussing. So are you/Smyth saying that AUTOS HN IHSOUS means "Jesus is
he"? I am happy with the "intensive" part, but the "predicate position" business
is confusing to me and quite unnecessary. Sometimes "predicate position" is used
to mean "preceding the noun", sometimes it is used to mean "following a noun
that has an article", sometimes "preceding an arthrous noun". I doubt I am the
only one who is more confused than helped by this terminology.

The syntactical question is whether AUTOS modifies IHSOUS as part of one NP or
whether we have two NPs, the second in apposition to the first. I am suggesting
the apposition analysis mainly because of the intervening verb HN, and
secondarily because Luke quite often uses AUTOS as a third person back
> Just a thought.
> Allen Jacobson

Iver Larsen
Kolding, Denmark

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