[b-greek] Re: The text of Luke 2:2 and word order

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Tue Jun 26 2001 - 15:34:03 EDT

Carl wrote:
> You might want to look at Dan Wallace's discussion of the problems of this
> text at http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/luke2-2.htm I do think that most
> of the efforts to solve the problems of this text have been triggered by a
> desire to resolve the anachronism between this datum and that of Lk 1:5.
> Dan Wallace's note is (IMHO) remarkable in its resistance to tampering with
> the text from that sort of a motive.

My starting point is that Luke knew the history of his time much better than I
do, and that what he wrote made sense. I am not bothered by historical
inaccuracies, but I try to look at the text from a linguistics and contextual
point of view.
> Personally, I agree that hAUTH hH APOGRAFH is most probably the original
> form of the subject; I think, however, that PRWTH is adverbial with EGENETO
> (and that the word-order PRWTH EGENETO is more probable) and that EGENETO
> does here mean "occurred/took place" (= Latin FACTUS EST), and finally that
> hHGEMONEUONTOS THS SURIAS KURHNIOU is a genitive absolute explaining PRWTH
> EGENETO: "This census first took plac/was held when Quirinius was governor
> of Syria."

So, we agree on the text. That is reassuring to me.
I am quite willing to call PRWTH adverbial with EGENETO. That fits well with my
understanding of the text.
I understand that the genitive absolute is certainly a viable option. But I
still have a problem trying to make sense of the traditional translation. If we
say "This census first took place" or "This census took place first" at a
particular time what does that mean? Was it not finished and had to be repeated
a second time? Is there any contrast with another census? If there is not
contrast, the word order is wrong.
Nigel Turner in his excellent book on Grammatical Insights into the NT suggests
the before option also, and since both are grammatically possible, I am inclined
to go with the one which seems to make most sense to me.

Maybe you can explain to me what the word "first" is doing in this sentence, if
it does not contrast with another census? How would the meaning change if we
left out "first"?

Iver Larsen

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:00 EDT