[b-greek] Re: TOU hHLIOU EKLIPONTOS

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Jun 19 2001 - 09:07:26 EDT


At 1:03 PM -0400 6/18/01, Richard Ghilardi wrote:
>Dear b-greekers,
>
>KAI HN HDH hWSEI hWRA hEKTH KAI SKOTOS EGENETO EF' hOLHN THN GHN hEWS
>hWRAS ENATHS TOU hHLIOU EKLIPONTOS... LOUK. 23:44f
>
>My question is: What does TOU hHLIOU EKLIPONTOS mean? BDAG says: <<
>Luke's diction is standard for description of an eclipse **be eclipsed**
>>> and lists a number of sources where it has this meaning. Does
>EKLEIPEIN always mean "eclipse" when used in association with hHLIOS? If
>this is so in the extant sources as well as its proper meaning here, is
>it really plausible that Luke conceived of a solar eclipse lasting 3
>hours in one given location during the paschal new moon when the earth is
>between the sun and the moon thus rendering a solar eclipse practically
>impossible?
>
>Has Luke committed a major blunder here -- a blunder which even the
>scribes of a later period could easliy see through as witnessed by their
>substitution of ESKOTISQH for EKLIPONTOS?
>
>And finally, what right do we have to assign the meaning "the sun's light
>failed" to TOU hHLIOU EKLIPONTOS if in every other occurence of the word
>in association with hHLIOS it means "eclipsed"?

I frankly don't see what the problem is here. The literal meaning of
EKLEIPW is in this instance "fail" or "be deficient"--but it is used for
the phenomenon of eclipse: LSJ has:

II. intr., of the Sun or Moon, suffer eclipse, Th.2.28 ; in full, ho hÍlios
eklipŰn tÍn ek tou ouranou hedrÍn Hdt.7.37 ; e. tas hodous Ar.Nu. [p. 512]
584.

I don't think Luke has committed a major blunder. Mark's text (which I
assume Luke knew) reads more simply (15:33): KAI GENOMENHS hWRAS hEKTHS
SKOTOS EGENETO EF' hOLHN THN GHN hEWS hWRAS ENATHS. I sometimes think
Luke's reputation for being "medical" or "scientific" or "sophisticated" is
overstated. Here he uses the genitive absolute and either is saying simply
that there was a solar eclipse that lasted three hours or that the sun
failed to appear for three hours. This gets into redaction-critical
questions that are not appropriate for discussion on B-Greek, but I'll say
simply, for my part, that I don't find the phrasing of TOU hHLIOU
EKLIPONTOS in Lk 23:44-5 at all exceptional, particularly given Luke's
predilection for genitive absolutes to give parenthetical explanations.



--

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

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