Questions about ἐπιβαλεῖν τὰς χεῖρας Acts 12:1

Post Reply
Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Questions about ἐπιβαλεῖν τὰς χεῖρας Acts 12:1

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 15th, 2015, 10:02 pm

Acts 12:1 wrote:Κατ’ ἐκεῖνον δὲ τὸν καιρὸν ἐπέβαλεν Ἡρῴδης ὁ βασιλεὺς τὰς χεῖρας κακῶσαί τινας τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας.
My third question about Acts 12:1-2 is about the phrase ἐπιαλεῖν τὰς χεῖρας. Is it a common Greek expression to use it with the infinitive? Has it been extended to fit the idiom of another language? If that is so, is it over-used in the NT where συλλαμβάνειν might have been expected?

Here are the other instances for comparison:
Matthew 26:50 wrote:ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν
Mark 14:46 wrote:Οἱ δὲ ἐπέβαλον ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν
Luke 20:19 wrote:ἐζήτησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς ἐπιβαλεῖν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ
Luke 21:12 wrote:Πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν, καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς συναγωγὰς
John 7:20 wrote:Ἐζήτουν οὖν αὐτὸν πιάσαι. Καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπέβαλεν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὴν χεῖρα, ὅτι οὔπω ἐληλύθει ἡ ὥρα αὐτοῦ.
John 7:44 wrote:ἀλλ’ οὐδεὶς ἐπέβαλεν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας.
Acts 4:3 wrote:Καὶ ἐπέβαλον αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας, καὶ ἔθεντο εἰς τήρησιν εἰς τὴν αὔριον·
Acts 5:18 wrote:καὶ ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἔθεντο αὐτοὺς ἐν τηρήσει δημοσίᾳ
Acts 21:27 wrote:καὶ ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ’ αὐτόν
0 x


Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: Questions about ἐπιβαλεῖν τὰς χεῖρας Acts 12:1

Post by cwconrad » July 16th, 2015, 7:32 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Acts 12:1 wrote:Κατ’ ἐκεῖνον δὲ τὸν καιρὸν ἐπέβαλεν Ἡρῴδης ὁ βασιλεὺς τὰς χεῖρας κακῶσαί τινας τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας.
My third question about Acts 12:1-2 is about the phrase ἐπιαλεῖν τὰς χεῖρας. Is it a common Greek expression to use it with the infinitive? Has it been extended to fit the idiom of another language? If that is so, is it over-used in the NT where συλλαμβάνειν might have been expected?
Reading this question triggered in my mind a recall of the Homeric formula that I found fascinating half a century ago:
βῆ δ’ ἰέναι
"He strode to go" or "He planted his foot forward to go" or "he made to go", i.e. he performed an action with an intention that the infinitive expresses. It's said that the Greek infinitive is in origin a dative-case form; English commonly prefixes "to" as German prefixes the preposition "zu" and French "à" (sometimes, at least) to an infinitive; indication of intent is surely one of the primary functions of the infinitive.

I chose at once to do check the grammar at once, a step that Stephen has confessed to be his last-resort measure. Here's what I found that seems to have some bearing on the question:
Infinitive usage in Smyth: §§1989-2000
Smyth wrote:§1989 Infinitive not in indirect discourse
§1994. Under verbs of will or desire are included verbs expressing an activity to the end that something shall or shall not be done. Thus, δίδωμι offer, give, διαμάχομαι struggle against, ποιῶ, διαπρᾱ́ττομαι, κατεργάζομαι manage, effect, παρέχω offer (others in 1992, 1993).
BDF wrote:§390. The infinitive of purpose likewise dates very far back and it certainly has a much wider range of usage in Homer than in Attic authors, who use it mostly after verbs meaning ‘to give, appoint, present, send’, etc. (1) In the NT it has become common again in a wide sphere (probably under Ionic influence) with a variety of verbs of motion (cf. LXX, Thack. 24; Huber 80), and is the equivalent of a final clause: Mt 5:17 οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι, ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι. (2) Also, of course, with διδόναι, ἀποστέλλειν, etc. as in Attic: Mk 3:14 ἀποστέλλῃ κηρύσσειν. (3) Ἵνα can again represent this infinitive (also final ὥστε: Lk 9:52 εἰσῆλθον ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι, 4:29, s. §391(3)); an analytical construction with ἵνα is the natural one, especially when the subordinate clause is loosely connected or is of considerable extent, while the especially close connection of the infinitive to the main verb in certain fixed idioms does not permit the replacement of the infinitive. (4) As to the differences among NT authors, what has been outlined in §388 applies here also...
I don't really think that the infinitive usage with ἐπιβάλλειν τὰς χεῖρας is at all unusual.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Post Reply

Return to “Syntax and Grammar”