[b-greek] Re: Lk 18:13; TWi hAMARTWLWi

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 29 2001 - 07:50:39 EST

At 4:34 PM -0600 11/28/01, Paul S Dixon wrote:
>On Wed, 28 Nov 2001 15:49:02 -0600 "Carl W. Conrad"
><cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu> writes:
>> At 3:07 PM -0600 11/28/01, Paul S Dixon wrote:
>> >Aren't there plenty of examples of appositional nouns in the Koine
>> Greek?
>> > If so, then why should we not expect MOI hAMARTWLWi, if he
>> intended to
>> >say, "to me, a sinner"?
>> >
>> >How could he have said it in the Greek, if he wanted to say, "to
>> me, the
>> >sinner"?
>> No doubt it WOULD be MOI TWi hAMARTWLWi, Paul. But the problem is
>> not with
>> the Greek so much as with the English; the Greek uses the article to
>> refer
>> to hAMARTWLOS as a class. No doubt you can put it into English as
>> "to me,
>> the sinner"--and Steve LoVullo has shown that some versions do just
>> that.
>> But the point I thought you were making was that it's wrong to
>> translate it
>> WITHOUT using the English definite article, and I think that's
>> interpreting
>> the Greek in terms of English grammar.
>I confess I have reservations about translating a Greek articular
>predicate noun without the English definite article. Is there any
>evidence that Greek articular nouns denote anything but definiteness? If
>no, then I question the translation "a sinner" of TWi hAMARTWLWi.

predicate noun? I think I would have called it either appositive to a
dative indirect object or even attributive to MOI.

If you will check any reasonably full grammar (not a primer) of NT Koine
Greek, I think you'll find quite a range of usage for articular nouns.
Steve LoVullo has pointed to Wallace's justification for taking TWi
hAMARTWLWi as you want to take it; I'll grant that's a possibility, but I
think it is as reasonable to take it as many translators have in fact taken
it, as indicating that this tax-collector is a member of the class "sinner."

I will cite Dale Wheeler (from his brief compendium of grammar in
Accordance) and let him comment further on this if he chooses:
II. With Substantives: Dependent or Modifying Use; Used to Sharpen the
Identity of a Substantive in some way:
B. Generic:
1) Definition: Distinguishes One Class or Group from Another; English
normally uses the Indefinite Article, "a," "an," to indicate this idea for
Singular Substantives; Supply "as a class":
2) Uses: Matt 18:17; Luke 10:7; John 2:25; 1Tim 3:2

Look at these examples.
KAI hO TELWNHS. Would you prefer to translate this, "... let him be to you
just as THE Gentile and THE tax-collector" (assuming that some particular
Gentile and some particular Tax-collector is meant).

Lk 10:7 AXIOS hO ERGATHS TOU MISQOU; this is pretty clearly a principle,
generally so understood as a dominical saying. Do you suppose some
particular workman is indicated by the article with ERGATHS?

GAR EGINWSKEN TI HN EN TWi ANQRWPWi. Would you suppose that some particular
human being is referred to by TOU ANQRWPOU and TWi ANQRWPWi? More likely, I
think, ANY person at all, insofar as he's a human being, is referred to.


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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