Luke 16:2 τί what or why?

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Luke 16:2 τί what or why?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 25th, 2012, 6:16 am

I'm still trying to get a feel for when τί could be adverbial. Here is another case with τί.

Luke 16:2 wrote:καὶ φωνήσας αὐτὸν εἶπεν αὐτῷ · τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοὺ; ...
So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? ... (NIV)


The NRSV's rendering is typical of many translations. It takes τί as "what" and seeing an object already there for ἀκούω, renders the whole thing with a what-cleft.

On the other hand, if τί is adverbial, it would mean something like "Why do I hear this about you?" But this is not a popular choice.

The context isn't too helpful, unfortunately, for this is a rhetorical question and we don't have dishonest steward's answer.

Any objections for an adverbial τί here?

Stephen

(PS. ἀκούω here is another so-called "perfective present," see v.1 καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ.)
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
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Re: Luke 16:2 τί what or why?

Postby cwconrad » October 25th, 2012, 10:09 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm still trying to get a feel for when τί could be adverbial. Here is another case with τί.

Luke 16:2 wrote:καὶ φωνήσας αὐτὸν εἶπεν αὐτῷ · τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοὺ; ...
So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? ... (NIV)


The NRSV's rendering is typical of many translations. It takes τί as "what" and seeing an object already there for ἀκούω, renders the whole thing with a what-cleft.

On the other hand, if τί is adverbial, it would mean something like "Why do I hear this about you?" But this is not a popular choice.

The context isn't too helpful, unfortunately, for this is a rhetorical question and we don't have dishonest steward's answer.

Any objections for an adverbial τί here?


I'm wondering about this some more myself. We do say things very much like this, "What's this I hear about you (doing such-and-such last week?" And when we do, it doesn't mean that we want to know the facts of what the other person(s) did so much as we want an explanation of the rumored or alleged happening. Doesn't the interrogative τί do much the same in Greek? It's not so much, "Just give us the facts, ma'am" as it's "Account for what we've been told." I suspect that we may be trying to draw too sharp a distinction between "what?" and "why?" here. That probably applies to the High Priest's question to Jesus also, I think.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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Re: Luke 16:2 τί what or why?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 25th, 2012, 12:37 pm

Thanks Carl. It turns out that BDF discusses this:

BDF § 299(1) wrote:299. Τί. (1) Τί can be used predicatively with ταῦτα: τί (ὰν) εἴη ταῦτα Lk 15: 26 (τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι D); ἄνδρες, τί ταῦτα ποιεῖτε; 'what are you doing?' A 14: 15 (or, better, 'why?', s. infra (4) [= adverbial τί]).

(1) A 17: 20 DEHL (v.l. τίνα), Herm Vis 4.3.1; it is essential in Jn 6: 9 ἀλλὰ ταῦτα τί ἐστιν ('what good are they?') εἰς τοσούντους; Cf. class. (Krüger §61, 8. 2). With A 14: 15 cf. Dem. 55.5 Τεισία, τί ταῦτα ποιεῖς; and with sg. Lk 16:2 τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ; further τί οὗτοί σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν Mt 26: 62 = Mt 14: 60 is sometimes resolved into τί (pred.) ἐστιν ὃ οὗτοί σ. κ. (but cf. § 298(4) [= relative τί])). Cf. further Mk 11: 3 where however punctuation and reading are doubtful.


I'm not sure I'm on board with this predicative use of τί, apart from in connection with a linking verb like εἶναι (e.g. Luke 15:26). But there are classical parallels, so I can't be dismissive. I guess I'll have to see what Krüger has to say.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
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