cwconrad wrote:Since the question is evidently still nagging, let me offer a speculative answer, one that is not rooted in Greek usage especially. It's common enough in English, but I think it's rooted more in conventional human social experience. An individual feels isolated even if in the presence of others, is suspicious of what the others nearby are saying, suspects that they are talking about himself, and -- if sufficiently anxious and insecure -- that they are saying bad things and may even be plotting against himself. An anxious and insecure person may suspect that they "have it in for me." Referred to is an objectified hostile force; it may be called "them" or even "the gods" or "God". It may seem odd that in this verse , the words cited are said to be spoken by God, but that's how the voice of conscience is heard in the mind of one who contemplates a measure of some moral questionability. Think of the literary or dramatic device of the good and bad angel or better and more devious self speaking to the individual in the process of momentous decision. Note the context set forth in the parable here: a rich man ponders within himself the preferable course to take under the circumstances in which he finds himself; he sees an inviting prospect if he should follow one course, but then the peril suddenly rises within his mind: "And what if I die tonight? I have all these enemies and they're out to get me -- but who is it that brings that thought into my mind?"
Admittedly speculative; just a suggestion.
It is a suggestion that fits with, and to some degree explains, the impersonal voice and “vague subject” (McKay in Culy), and it is consistent with the known phenomenon of increased wealth being accompanied by increased paranoia and a sense of anxiety. I question, though, whether it really fits this particular narrative.
The narrative is not that the man begins to be troubled and anxious and paranoid. The narrative is that all of his self satisfied ease is suddenly and dramatically interrupted by an external force – an external force that 'requires his ψυχήν of him' (using the passive of the versions), and calls him to a court he has ignored and an accounting for which he is utterly unprepared.
It seems that the whole of verse 19,
Luke 12:19 καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου, ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.
… indeed the whole parable itself, is informed by Eccl. 8:15.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 καὶ ἐπῄνεσα ἐγὼ σὺν τὴν εὐφροσύνην ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγαθὸν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον ὅτι εἰ μὴ τοῦ φαγεῖν καὶ τοῦ πιεῖν καὶ τοῦ εὐφρανθῆναι καὶ αὐτὸ συμπροσέσται αὐτῷ ἐν μόχθῳ αὐτοῦ ἡμέρας ζωῆς αὐτοῦ ὅσας ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ θεὸς ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον.
The τοῦ φαγεῖν καὶ τοῦ πιεῖν καὶ τοῦ εὐφρανθῆναι / φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου
parallel, and indeed the whole context of the parable, require that association, I suggest. Verse 27 - οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων - also points there
In Eccl 8:15 the ‘wisest man of all’ concludes that “οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγαθὸν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον ὅτι εἰ μὴ τοῦ φαγεῖν καὶ τοῦ πιεῖν καὶ τοῦ εὐφρανθῆναι”. But here in Luke 12, it seems to me, another wise man pronounces God’s judgment on Solomon’s conclusion – “εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ θεός ἄφρων
The whole tenor of the narrative for both Solomon and for the man of Luke 12, is that an external voice breaks in upon this-worldly success and self satisfied ease and pleasure to say, ‘You fool. Tonight you have to give an account in another court, and there you are poor and wretched’.
It doesn’t seem to me that there is anything vague or impersonal or self-reflective about the force that breaks in upon Luke’s rich man. Rather it is sudden, external, and of ultimate authority, turning upside down the man’s whole perception of reallity in a way that completely undoes his ‘wisdom’, his wealth, and his very ψυχήν.
It is this dramatic context and "εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ θεός" that leaves me wondering still why Luke uses the ambiguous and impersonal ἀπαιτοῦσιν.