[b-greek] Re: Luke 7:28 MIKROTEROS

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 01:47:17 EDT

At 9:41 PM -0700 9/10/01, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
> Plummer, in his commentary on Luke argues that the
>rendeirng one finds in English versions of MKKROTEROS
>in Luke 7:28 err because they take it as a
>superlative. Plummer argues that it should simply be
>seen as a comparative,which is what it is by form.
>Friberg renders it as a superlative "least," but
>Plummer argues for taking it as "lesser than others in
>the kindgdom," which does take the form seriously.
>Any thgouhts on whether Plummer is right versus other
>renderings in English? Thanks.

The way you describe it makes it sound more like a translation problem than
a problem of understanding the Greek.

I'd always thought that this was a Semitism, an imitation of the usage in
Hebrew whereby the adjective with the article becomes comparative or
superlative depending upon how its item of comparison is linked to the
adjective. If that's right, then the question is whether a Semitism is
involved here or if it should be understood more in terms of standard
Hellenistic Greek grammar and therefore as an ordinary comparative.

In view of the formulation of verse 28 as a whole, I can see the argument
going either way with some plausibility. You may have to end up deciding
this one for yourself without appeal to authority!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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