[b-greek] RE: Luke 8:9

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 05:21:00 EST

> Luke 8:9 reads:
> I have two questions. The English translations I
> consulted (because I remembered them doing something I
> don't think the Greek justifies), read something like
> "What this parable means/meant". So
> 1. EIH is an optative of EIMI and does not mean
> "mean" but "be" or "happen" or the like. How can
> translation like the NASB or the New Revised Serpent
> Versrion (NRSV) justify translating this as
> "means/meant'?
> 2. The punctuation in NA27 treats TIS... as a
> statement, like indirect discourse:
> "His disciples asked him, what this parable is". Why
> should we read this as indirect discourse? Why can't
> it be a straightforward question: "His disciples
> asked him,"What is this parable?"
> Thanks.
> Ken Litwak (who is beginning to believe that Dante's

To your first question let me respond:
What is this you are saying? I mean, what do you mean by what you are
Your straightforward question is not very meaningful to me. Transformed into
more normal English it becomes "What is the meaning of this parable?"

You may compare with places like:
Mat 9:13 MAQETE TI ESTIN Learn what this is=Learn what this means
Mat 12:7 EI DE EGNWKEITE TI ESTIN If you had known what this means
Mrk 1:27 TI ESTIN TOUTO What is the meaning of this?
Luke 15:26 TI AN EIH TAUTA what might be the meaning/implication of these
Luke 20:17 TI OUN ESTIN TO GEGRAMMENON TOUTO What is then the
meaning/significance of this which has been written?

To your second question I would respond:
It is the use of the optative that suggests that this is an indirect
question. They were asking what might possibly be the
implication/signification of this parable. You may compare other places
where Luke uses the optative such as 1:29, 3:15, 9:46, 15:26, 18:36, 22:23.

When it comes to translation into another language, you have the freedom to
change an indirect question to a direct one and a direct question to an
indirect one. It depends on the rhetorical effect and normal use of
direct/indirect questions in the receptor language.

Iver Larsen

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