[b-greek] Re: Luke 8:9

From: Kenneth Litwak (javajedi2@yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 12:57:26 EST

Carl Conrad wrote: (I apologize but I haven;'t figured
out how to make Yahoo quote on the fly, so I didn't do
that 00 I just did a copy and pate)

At 7:48 PM -0800 11/7/01, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
> 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
>"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
>translation like the NASB or the New Revised
>Versrion (NRSV) justify translating this as

Where have you found EIMI to mean "happen," Ken?
GINOMAI is used that way,
but EIMI?

I thought ath EIMI only meant "be" but according to
Friberg, it has other senses, including "happen" and I
didn't feel -prepared to claim that Friberg was wrong
without investing a huge amount of time researching
the issue, so I accepted his assertion. Do you
disagree with Friberg?

(a) At any rate, this is a classical Attic
Indirect Question construction
of a sort not frequently found in the GNT with
the verb in the IQ clause in
the optative; the optative need not do so but
often suggests some
uncertainty in the questioner about what's being
asked. I think that TIS
hAUTH EIH hH PARABOLH might well be Englished as
"What this parable might
(b) Comparative reading of Synoptic parallels in
Mk and Mt might make
clear, if the context of Lk were not enough to
make it clear, that the
disciples don't understand the parable of the
Sower just told them (in Mk's
gospel, with its extraordinary emphasis upon the
thick-headedness of the
disciples, Jesus actually tells them: "You don't
understand this one? How
are you going to understand any parables at all?"
But the clearest
indication that TIS hAUTH EIH hH PARABOLH does in
fact mean "What is this
parable supposed to MEAN?" is that Jesus
introduces his explanation of the
parable in verse 11 with
ESTIN DE hAUTH hH PARABOLH:" which might just as
well be Englished in this
context as "What this parable MEANS is:"

I can see clearly that the wording suggests the
disciples really don't understand Jesus' parable, and
in fact this "blindness" is a key motif in Luke-Acts.
Cf. Luke 24:27, 44-45. However, translating the
optative is not translation but paraphrase. As long
as that's considered okay, I'm okay with it, but we
should recognize that "mean" is a paraphrase, not a

>2. The punctuation in NA27 treats TIS... as a
>statement, like indirect discourse:
>"His disciples asked him, what this parable is".
>should we read this as indirect discourse? Why
>it be a straightforward question: "His
>asked him,"What is this parable?"

It IS an Indirect question, not a direct
question--that's what the presence
of the optative mood in EIH means; so the clause
expresses the intent of
their question rather than the direct wording of
their question.

Let's try this again. Why does the presence of an
optative a priori mean this is an indirect question.
Or, put another way, what are the specific criteria
but which we can _know_ that a statement is meant as
indirect question vs. a direct question? I don't see
anything in Luke 8:9, that tells me the text is not

His disciples said to him, "What might this parable
mean (be)?

Or, perhaps what is needed here is a precise
definition of what is meant when we say indirect
question vs. direct question. I'm not trying to be
picky. I'm trying to resollve a specific grammatical
issue. Thanks.


Do You Yahoo!?
Find a job, post your resume.

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 - 15:37:11 EDT