[b-greek] Re: Mt. 2:6: A novice's question

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Jun 12 2001 - 14:57:46 EDT

At 1:31 PM -0400 6/12/01, Ted Mann wrote:
>(Mt. 2:6): The NASB translates hHGOUMENOS as "Ruler," and the KJV reads
>"Governor" (note the caps), giving the impression, it seems to me, that
>hHGOUMENOS is a title or a position. On the other hand, the NIV and NRSV
>use "ruler," which emphasizes function rather than station. Since
>hHGOUMENOS is a participial form (middle) of the verb hHGEOMAI, shouldn't it
>be translated as "one who rules," or something similar? Does the fact that
>it is used substantivally imply a title? In other words, why do the NASB
>and KJV capitalize this term?

Here's the relevant heading under hHGEOMAI in LSJ at Perseus:

II. lead, command in war, c. dat., nęes thoai, hęisin 'Achilleus es Troięn
hęgeito Il.16.169 , cf. Od.14.238; ou gar eęn hos tis sphin epi stichas
hęgęsaito might lead them to their ranks, Il.2.687; hę. Trôessin es Ilion
5.211 ; hę. Męiosin 2.864 ; lonchaisin E.Ba.1360 ; heterois Lys. 31.17 ,
cf. X.An.5.2.6; en tais strateiais, hais hęgeitai basileus Isoc. 12.180 :
also generally, polei E.Fr.282.24 ; but usu. c. gen., Sarpędôn d' hęgęsat'
. . epikourôn Il.12.101 ; hęgęsato laôn 15.311 , cf. 2.567, al.; hę. tęs
exodou Th.2.10 ; hęgoumenos tôn hędonôn all' ouk agomenos hup' autôn
Isoc.9.45 : abs., to be in command, Id.16.21, etc.
2. rule, have dominion, c. gen., tęs 'Asięs, tęs summachięs, Hdt.1.95,
7.148; hoi Thessalięs hęgeomenoi Id.9.1 : abs., hoi hęgoumenoi the rulers,
S. Ph.386, cf. A.Ag.1363; hę. en tois adelphoisleading men, Act.Ap. 15.22 ;
hę. scholęs to be the head of a philosophical school, Phld.Acad. Ind.p.107
M., al.
3. as official title, hęgoumenos, ho, president, sunodou PGrenf.2.67.3 (iii
A.D.); gerdiôn ib.43.9 (i A.D.); hiereôn PLond. 2.281.2 (i A.D.): abs.,
PFay.110.26 (i A.D.).
b. of Roman governors, hę. ethnous,= Lat. praeses provinciae, POxy.1020.5
(ii/iii A.D.); hę. tęs Galatias Luc.Alex.44 .
c. of subordinate officials, hę. tou stratęgou POxy.294.19 (i A.D.); kômęs
PRyl.125.3 (i A.D.).
d. abbot, Just.Nov.7.1, al.: fem. -menę abbess, ibid.
4. hęgoumenos as Adj., principal, pulôn PFlor.382.15 (iii A.D.), POxy.55.9
(iii A.D.).

I think that says everything relevant to the question, but I might add that
substantive participles quite often translate into English as agent-type
nouns as here hO hHGOUMENOS = "ruler" or "governor." Note 2b: "of Roman
governors"--but the term can be applied to one who holds either political
or military authority (or both). "Governor" was a standard term for anyone
in a position of authority in 17th century English; the first serious
endeavor to spell out the sort of education required of the British
governing class was Sir Thomas Elyot's _Boke of the Governour_ dating
sometime near 1550, I think. I only know this because my son's doctoral
dissertation was on Sir Thomas Elyot.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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