Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Jacob Rhoden
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Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Post by Jacob Rhoden » December 13th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Ἐπὶ τῆς Μωϋσέως καθέδρας ἐκάθισαν οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι
The article (excerpt below) asserts that the phrase "Seat of Moses" (cf Matthew 23:2) is singular, and hence it is difficult to suggest that the phrase could have referred literally to seats (plural) that would have been found in Synagogues. It seems to me that in English, it is possible to speak in non specifically in the singular of something that is in reality plural. i.e. "He likes to sit in the front seat of the bus" (even though there are many front seats in many busses, and every day he takes a seat in the front)

So how does it work in Greek, is the argument that the Greek is singular prohibit a literal interpretation of the "Seat of Moses"?

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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » December 13th, 2018, 6:58 pm

Psalm 1:1 - μακαριος ανηρ ος ουκ επορευθη εν βουλη ασεβων και εν οδω αμαρτωλων ουκ εστη και επι καθεδραν λοιμων ουκ εκαθισεν
Is there but one seat for all the scorners?
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » December 14th, 2018, 4:01 am

I would rather ask: is there any language which doesn't have such flexibility?
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Post by Jacob Rhoden » December 14th, 2018, 8:20 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 4:01 am
I would rather ask: is there any language which doesn't have such flexibility?
I am attempting to avoid the problem of assuming Greek operates like English. The wider question "Can all languages do this" is an interesting one though. Good point!
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Seat of Moses (Singular and Plural in Koine Greek)

Post by Jacob Rhoden » December 14th, 2018, 8:25 pm

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 6:58 pm
Psalm 1:1 - μακαριος ανηρ ος ουκ επορευθη εν βουλη ασεβων και εν οδω αμαρτωλων ουκ εστη και επι καθεδραν λοιμων ουκ εκαθισεν
Is there but one seat for all the scorners?
What a pertinent observation, thanks! I can't help but wonder if this passage is somewhat more clearly metaphorical. (I accept that it is legitimate understand that the "Seat of Moses" could have been literal or metaphorical, so I am hesitant to jump straight to a metaphorical understanding.)
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