Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

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Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Andrew Chapman » December 4th, 2013, 9:44 am

12 ὁ δὲ Πιλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

This looks like ὄν is doubling up as the object both of ποιήσω and of λέγετε. I have just discovered in the grammars that the antecedent is commonly omitted, and Wallace talks of the 'embedded' demonstrative: so I guess we might read τοῦτον ὄν or τούτῳ ὄν. Is this right? But then I am puzzled because some of the commentaries say that this is an example of ποιέω taking a double accusative: ποιεῖν τινά τι. But if the antecedent is missing, how do we know what case it would have been in? Perhaps it is that it is more likely to be omitted if it is in the same case, but Smyth says otherwise (2509 ff). Could someone explain how this works? Thanks, Andrew
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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby cwconrad » December 4th, 2013, 10:01 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:12 ὁ δὲ Πιλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

This looks like ὄν is doubling up as the object both of ποιήσω and of λέγετε. I have just discovered in the grammars that the antecedent is commonly omitted, and Wallace talks of the 'embedded' demonstrative: so I guess we might read τοῦτον ὄν or τούτῳ ὄν. Is this right? But then I am puzzled because some of the commentaries say that this is an example of ποιέω taking a double accusative: ποιεῖν τινά τι. But if the antecedent is missing, how do we know what case it would have been in? Perhaps it is that it is more likely to be omitted if it is in the same case, but Smyth says otherwise (2509 ff). Could someone explain how this works? Thanks, Andrew

I suspect that respondents to your question will offer more than one explanation, which is, I think, interesting in itself. My own sense about this passage is that a reader understands what Mark has written without further ado and wouldn't even ask the question about the construction if it did not confound the expectations that have been drummed into his/her mind by teachers of grammar. Either of the explanations that you yourself have offered will do; the simple fact is that this is an instance of colloquial compression that omits what isn't absolutely essential to understanding what's said. Churchill is supposed to have quipped once at someone carping at his expression, "This is the sort of nonsense I won't put up with" -- omission of the relative pronoun, preposition at end of sentence --, "This is the sort of nonsense up with whcih I will not put."
Carl W. Conrad
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πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Colloquial? Which verb ποιῆσαι or λέγειν? Title or role?

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 4th, 2013, 11:47 am

Mark 15:12 wrote:Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

cwconrad wrote:colloquial compression

The absence of the demonstrative might be colloquial - but common even in Classical times - but that doesn't necessarily imply that the construction of the θέλω and what follows it is colloquial too. It might do so, but there is another way of thinking about it.

I take that the indicative followed by the aorist subjunctive (without ἵνα and not θέλετε ποιῆσαι) could be something disengaged and colloquial like "How about ... ?", "What would you say if I ... -ed?". But, I don't feel it is necessarily so colloquial as it is a way of looking at the relationship between "will" and "action". The structure of this construction at least - and others like it - suggests that a thinking like, "Action starts with a will" was not as inherent in their thinking in that setting as a modern reader might want to bring to the discussion table (read into things). I don't have an opinion either way, but I think that there are possibilities here.

Andrew Chapman wrote:τοῦτον ὄν or τούτῳ ὄν

To explain the different constructions, the overal consideration is not primarily which case to put before the relative ὄν - τοῦτον ὄν or τούτῳ ὄν - but rather which verb does both the ὄν and the τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων go with? ποιῆσαι or λέγειν; [NB., in either case, the ὄν goes with the λέγειν, so - if you like Ockam's razor (which I don't) - then what we are considering simplifies down to "Which verb does τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων go with?", but I will discuss the question without that "logical" simplification]

For the first possibility, if we take ποιήσω with two objects I will make him The King of the Jews, then we would take ὃν λέγετε as a phrase meaning "the bloke you are talking about". So, the relative ὃν would be the one of the objects of ποιῆσαι and the title ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων would be the other object.

[A further consideration if we go with ποιῆσαι ... For the varient reading, βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων (without the article) would suggest a role rather than a title, and might suggest that the scribe who wrote that felt that βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων more naturally went with ποιῆσαι]

Then there is the second possibility, that ποιήσω might be being used in the sense of "do about", or "do with". In that case the relative ὃν and the τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων would be on either side of the λέγειν.

[Another further consideration if we go with λέγειν ... Perhaps λέγετε could be construed as having a "(so) called" sort of feeling. There are other ways by which that thought might have been expressed, viz. (ἐπι)καλούμενον ("who has gotten the name") or λεγόμενον ("whom people are calling"). That sort of feeling that we are used to is expressed more I think, by this second option; taking λέγειν as the verb between them.]
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Re: Colloquial? Which verb ποιῆσαι or λέγειν? Title or role?

Postby Stephen Carlson » December 4th, 2013, 12:15 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Mark 15:12 wrote:Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

cwconrad wrote:colloquial compression

I take that the indicative followed by the aorist subjunctive (without ἵνα and not θέλετε ποιῆσαι) could be something disengaged and colloquial like "How about ... ?", "What would you say if I ... -ed?".

I think the dropping of ἵνα is colloquial but there are parallels. A lengthy discussion with links to blog posts is to found in this thread two years ago on B-Greek: Mark 10:36 Τί θέλετέ [με] ποιήσω ὑμῖν;
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Colloquial? Which verb ποιῆσαι or λέγειν? Title or role?

Postby cwconrad » December 4th, 2013, 12:19 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Mark 15:12 wrote:Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

cwconrad wrote:colloquial compression

The absence of the demonstrative might be colloquial - but common even in Classical times - but that doesn't necessarily imply that the construction of the θέλω and what follows it is colloquial too. It might do so, but there is another way of thinking about it.

I take that the indicative followed by the aorist subjunctive (without ἵνα and not θέλετε ποιῆσαι) could be something disengaged and colloquial like "How about ... ?", "What would you say if I ... -ed?". But, I don't feel it is necessarily so colloquial as it is a way of looking at the relationship between "will" and "action". The structure of this construction at least - and others like it - suggests that a thinking like, "Action starts with a will" was not as inherent in their thinking in that setting as a modern reader might want to bring to the discussion table (read into things). I don't have an opinion either way, but I think that there are possibilities here.

Maybe "colloquial" is the wrong word. When I see this Marcan phrasing, I think of the native Yiddish-speaker who says in English, "What do you wish I should do with this?"
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
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πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Andrew Chapman » December 5th, 2013, 8:06 am

Thank you, the compression idea makes sense to me. I remain curious as to why Swete would write on this verse:

For the construction ποιεῖν τινά τι se Blass, Gr. p. 90; the more usual phrase is ποιεῖν τινι (ἔν τινι, μέτα τινος) τι.


How does he know it's accusative if it's not there?

The trend in the English translations seems to be to compress from 'to him whom you call' to 'to the one/man you call'. Colloquially, in English, one might get away with dropping the relative pronoun: to him you call - but not the other way around: to whom you call.

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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 5th, 2013, 8:24 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:I remain curious as to why Swete would write on this verse:
For the construction ποιεῖν τινά τι se Blass, Gr. p. 90; the more usual phrase is ποιεῖν τινι (ἔν τινι, μέτα τινος) τι.

How does he know it's accusative if it's not there?

In the language ποιεῖν serves as a way to add something (characteristic or feature) to a noun.

Make the car red, and after that it is a red car. Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king. τι could be an adjective or a noun.
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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Andrew Chapman » December 5th, 2013, 8:54 am

Stephen Hughes wrote: Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king.


But Pilate is the subject of ποιήσω; the Jews are the subject of λέγετε. I didn't really understand your 'first possibility' above, in which you seem to have in view Pilate making Jesus the King of the Jews, as well presumably as the Jews calling Jesus the King of the Jews.

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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Stephen Hughes » December 5th, 2013, 1:31 pm

Andrew Chapman wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king.

But Pilate is the subject of ποιήσω; the Jews are the subject of λέγετε. I didn't really understand your 'first possibility' above, in which you seem to have in view Pilate making Jesus the King of the Jews, as well presumably as the Jews calling Jesus the King of the Jews.

Ha ha. :lol: What a conincidence... To be honest, I have trouble with the option that I have called the second possibility (followed by all the English translations) where λέγετε is given the standard translation "called" (or something like that). I don't find that sense in the word λέγειν. It's not something I am comfortable, but since a lot of other people who know Greek better than I do have found it, I'll take their word for it, and accept it on that basis until I can either see λέγειν used in that way for myself or until I have a solid reason (other than my own ineptitude) for disprefering it. :)

The basis of my ill-formed thinkinging is that it's sort of logical to assign that meaning of "called" to the active here, but apart from these instances, I would say that that meaning "called", "said to be" is a meaning for the mediopassive of λέγειν not the active - but that's just my hunch.

You have trouble understanding my second option, and I'm not particularly taken with what I have called the first option above either, but anyway, here's how it works, look at the ὃν λέγετε which Peter asserts in Mark 14:71 before the rooster crows;
Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοῦτον ὃν λέγετε
"I don't know this man, who you are talking about".

Reading the ὃν λέγετε in Mark 15:12 in the same way, they would both refer to Jesus, ie. ὃν λέγετε = Ἰησοῦν. To paraphrase Mark 15:12, then, would give us Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω {Ἰησοῦν* - the guy they are talking about ὃν λέγετε} τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων; In this case τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων is what (the Lord) Jesus would be made to become, if Pilate were to give the order. (And if you will pardon a flight of fancy, the ὃν λέγετε that we see, was possibly in contradistinction to the insurrectionist Jesus - who is referred to in most variants as "Barabbas" - who had presumably wanted to make himself King of the Jews by force).

[Also... It is not a very interesting point, but I assume that translators, as educated and cultivated individuals in a quiet environment, would go with what I have called the first possibility and see Pilate's question as answered by the Σταύρωσον αὐτόν "Crucify him!" of the following verse and so translate Τί with the ποιήσω {τοῦτον / τούτῳ} "What should I do with him?". But they were perhaps less than rational, and more like a mob of sports fans, who illogically gvae their same answer to the next question too. It is probably that assumption of underlying logicity in the "dialogue" that has obscured the second possibility that the Greek text holds, which shows us it is important to grapple with the Word of God in the original Greek, so as to at least see the possibilites.]

[To understand ποιῆσαι in what I have called the second option; perhaps :?: this little parallel is helpful even though I only mentioned it very recently; ποιῆσαι is to γίνεσθαι as βαλεῖν is to κεῖσθαι]
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Re: Mark 15:12 ὃν in Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε ..

Postby Andrew Chapman » December 5th, 2013, 2:24 pm

Thanks, Stephen, the Mark 14:71 reference is useful to understand your option one, but then I don't understand the τί. Unless you make it a 'why', in which case we would have 'Why do you want (that I should make) this one you are talking about the King of the Jews?', which now makes grammatical sense to me, but on the face of it not much other sense.

On λέγειν BAGD has at II 3. call, name with double accusative, and quite a long section including active uses, eg:

τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; [Mark 10:18]

Δαυὶδ λέγει αὐτὸν κύριον [Mark 12:37]

πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν θεόν [John 5:18]

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