[b-greek] Re: Luke 8:9

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 14:43:00 EST

At 9:57 AM -0800 11/8/01, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
>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?

Are you really still using a parsing guide? I've seen things like NUX HN,
"it was night," and John 9:16 has KAI SCISMA HN EN AUTOIS. I suppose that's
being considered as an instance of EIMI = happen, but it looks to me more
like a simple statement with HN as an existential verb: "And there was a
sharp division among them."

>(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

You should take your questions about translation philosophy elsewhere
(B-Translation, perhaps); here we'll be (I'll be) content with finding
ordinary English that says what the Greek text means, whether I reproduce
the literal construction or not. I guess that IS a translation philosophy.

>>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

You might take a look at Wallace, GGBB, p. 483 under the heading, "Oblique
Optative." The optative is so rare in NT Koine in the first place that an
optative in a subordinate clause, especially if the clause begins with an
interrogative word, can hardly be anything but an indirect question.
>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.

By all means consult a grammar on :Indirect Question."

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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