Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 13th, 2015, 2:40 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Point being, if you are going to look into the papyri for this point, I think you would be better to at least consider the interplay with Coptic statives.
As I strain to gain some mastery of Hellenistic Greek, and keep thinking that I will soon have to get back to doing some Hebrew which is getting mighty rusty, I must confess that the thought of delving into something like Coptic Greek boggles the mind! Multi-linguistic limitations and Mortality instruct me that I will have to trust the translators there.
The edition of Luke that I gave the hyperlink for has an English translation on the facing page. However, it would be easy to miss that from the English. I thought it would be difficult to understand a fine point like that without some mastery, so I've given some explanations. My knowledge of Coptic (and Middle Egyptian) grammar is better than Greek, but I'm working on improving my Greek. Knowledge and immortlity is a much discussed topic.
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on March 13th, 2015, 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » March 13th, 2015, 3:06 am

The edition of Luke that I gave the hyperlink for has an English translation on the facing page. However, it would be easy to miss that from the English. I thought it would be difficult to understand a fine point like that without some mastery, so I've given some explanations.
Thank you. It is an interesting edition. I don't think I've ever looked closely at a piece of Coptic Biblical text before.
My knowledge of Coptic (and Middle Egyptian) grammar is better than my Greek, but I'm working on improving my Greek.
Awesome!
Sign-off time here. I'll take a closer look at this over the weekend.
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RandallButh
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by RandallButh » March 13th, 2015, 4:18 am

Some good news for those daunted by Coptic, the issue in the parable is really handled much more directly.

Basic questions include: did Luke receive the parable from a source or did he write it himself?
a parallel question is: was the parable originally given in a semitic language or in Greek?
This last question has a corrolary that may help, is the parable from Yeshuuʕ or from someone writing in Greek?
[the symbol ʕ stands for ʕayin]. There is another logical possibility that we can probably ignore for the forum, the parable was written by someone other than Yeshuuʕ in Hebrew/Aramaic.

Sociological framework: Jewish teachers taught parables in Hebrew. Yeshuuʕ was a Jewish teacher. The context included a Jewish audience and a question of Jewish law (dividing inheritance).

So the helpful question becomes, is the parable pristine Greek? If so, then it either had a good translator (like Josephus in WAR) or else it is from the Christian community and/or Luke.

There are quite a few features of good Greek: (for ease of reference I insert the Greek text first)
Λουκᾶν 12•16 ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα.
17 καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων•
τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου;
18 καὶ εἶπεν• τοῦτο ποιήσω,
καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας
καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω
καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα τὸν σῖτον καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου
19 καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου•
ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά•
ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.
20 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ θεός• ἄφρων,
ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ•
ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας, τίνι ἔσται;

1. The parable starts off with a fronted genitive, something that makes good Greek, putting the doer/thematic-person on stage, but would probably have required two sentences in a Hebrew original.
2. The vocabulary item ευφορεῖν is a compound Greek verb, something fitting to a Greek composition. (The verb does not occur in the LXX but the nuance could be duplicated or suggested by a verb like לשגשג.)
3. The verb διελογίζετο, while admittedly in first position, is an imperfect, very natural in Greek but something very cumbersome to say in Hebrew. (Yes, that's correct, Hebrew has trouble marking ASPECT, just one more surprise for typical NT worldviews.)
[4. for balance, I'll add that the ἐν is unnecessary in Greek, required in Hebrew, but still good Greek, especially post-Alexander]
5. the word ποῦ condenses the structure in a Greek way, while Hebrew would require extra words.
6. The word order καθελῶ μου is natural Greek but not Hebrew.
7. The use of μείζονας as a subtitute for a noun phrase is perhaps more natural to Greek than Hebrew.
8. The word order of μείζονας is more natural to Greek, though possible in Hebrew.
[9. For balance, the chain of καί + finite verbs in the speech is typical of Hebrew, though possible in Greek.]
10. The choice of κείμενα is idiomatic Greek, where Hebrew would use verbs like נאסף, or no verb, that would have suggested something else.
[11. For balance, ἀναπαύου makes a nice wordplay in Hebrew הִינָּפֶש, echoing נֶפֶש]
[12. For balance, the word order εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ θεός is possible in Greek but perfect Hebrew for the context ויאמר לו אלהים.]
13. Word order night+soul+verb, while possible in Hebrew, is better Greek.
[14. for balance, the indefinite plural subject, present tense, for a future passive is idiomatic mishnaic Hebrew, though possible in Greek.]

So at this point one can say that the sociolinguistic framework and assumptions will probably be decisive on one's approach to this text.
I see the parable as relatively clean, smooth, good Greek. There are just enough hints, however, that it reasonably fits within the general framework for a Jewish teacher of Hebrew parables who is being recorded in Greek.

That means, that if the parable comes from Yeshuuʕ, it has been skillfully and modestly translated, transmitted, and edited, though without turning it into the style of an Aesop's fable.
Likewise, the Hebraisms are faint enough that one cannot call this parable "Septuagintalizing".
That is what I find in much of Luke. Luke aims at clean, clear Greek, not a Septuagintal style. His Greek is not fully natural to himself or to Greek, it has been influence by sources. This becomes especially clear when comparing the gospel to "2Acts", Acts 16-28.

OK, breakfast coffee is done

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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » March 13th, 2015, 10:30 am

Randall Buth wrote:OK, breakfast coffee is done
Oh yeah, but I betcha you can't skip a rock 5 times across Devlin's pond!

A delightful clinic! Thank you. You really ought to produce a series of these Greek-Hebrew side-by-side studies accessible to the moderately accomplished in both languages; not too 'heavy' but fast-moving and pointed like this one.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 14th, 2015, 4:35 am

RandallButh wrote:Some good news for those daunted by Coptic
A reading knowledge of Coptic is relevant for a different aspect of the field of Gospel composition and transmission than what a knowledge of Hebrew gives access to.
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Wieland Willker
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Wieland Willker » March 15th, 2015, 6:55 am

Commpare:
Wisdom 15:8 καὶ κακόμοχθος θεὸν μάταιον ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ πλάσσει πηλοῦ ὃς πρὸ μικροῦ ἐκ γῆς γενηθεὶς μετ᾽ ὀλίγον πορεύεται ἐξ ἧς ἐλήμφθη τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀπαιτηθεὶς (passive singular) χρέος
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RandallButh
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by RandallButh » March 15th, 2015, 8:50 am

Yes, that passive makes a reasonable Stoic Greek idiom. Seikilos song ends τὸ τἐλος ὁ χρὀνος ἀπαιτεὶ.
Gen 9 has an active object with לדרוש. Another possible idiom for mishnaic Hebrew is לתבוע. I haven't checked out either לדרוש או לתבוע.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » March 15th, 2015, 10:53 pm

Wieland Willker wrote:Commpare:
Wisdom 15:8 καὶ κακόμοχθος θεὸν μάταιον ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ πλάσσει πηλοῦ ὃς πρὸ μικροῦ ἐκ γῆς γενηθεὶς μετ᾽ ὀλίγον πορεύεται ἐξ ἧς ἐλήμφθη τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀπαιτηθεὶς (passive singular) χρέος
I am not surprised by the passive here, which I take to be the “divine passive”. What surprises me in Luke 12:20 is the the occurance of the third plural present active in the context of the high drama of the narrative. Jesus narrates God saying to a man, “Fool! Tonight they will require your soul of you.”

[quote=""Darrell Bock"]"The oddity of the verse is the third-person plural: “they demand your soul from you.” This has been understood in one of two ways: either as the angelic execution of the task (Grundmann 1963: 258 [the angel of death, Satan; Heb. 2:14]; Marshall 1978: 524) or as a semitic idiom for God (Job 4:19c; 6:2b; Prov. 9:11; Creed 1930:173; Fitzmyer 1985: 974). Its hard to be certain since both possibilities make good sense The point is that a heavenly call for death has been made and will be excecuted. It is perhaps more natural to see God referred to here, since the context discusses him and not the angels. Either way, death is his sovereign call” Darrell Bock, Luke 9:51 – 24:53, Baker 1996, pg 1153
[/quote]
It is the context that makes the 3rd plural present sound so odd to me. First of all, I don’t really think you can introduce the idea of “Satan” or “angels” without some clear reference. They are not in this text, I think, unless an allusion or common usage can be demonstrated. Then, where else is there a single example of GOD saying “they are demanding your soul of you” - or something similar? The divine passive of Wisdom 15:8 does not lose any of the force of the context to me (no doubt because of my familiarity with the construction), but ἀπαιτοῦσιν seems so ‘oblique’ in the context of Luke 12:20.

When I go looking to find something similar in Hebrew, none of the other texts I’ve seen mentioned so far, including those cited by Bock, seem to fit the setting of this one. It would be nice to see just one text from a likely source language where the speaker is God, the subject is the ultimate calling to account or some such dramatic sovereign divine action, and there is this 3rd plural ‘indirection’.

That such an example is not obvious accounts, no doubt, for the fact that commentators are all over the map on this one.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 16th, 2015, 12:49 am

The function of the idiom is to avoided drawing attention to the identity of agent. The author simply isn't making an issue out of who the agent might be and is allowing the reader the draw inferential clues about the agent from the context which narrows it down. The so called divine passive is another idiom that serves the same function.
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RandallButh
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Re: Luke 12:20: 3rd pl. pres. ind. act. of ἀπαιτέω

Post by RandallButh » March 16th, 2015, 2:19 am

Thomas, Clay Stirling has provided the basic answer. Another part of the answer is to phrase the question properly.
“Fool! Tonight they will require your soul of you.”
The English translation has subtly changed the communication by doing something that is sometimes heard when people learn to speak Hebrew. The word "they" cannot be added in Hebrew. For example, Hebrew has an idiom qorim li ____ (qorim li Yochanan, my name is Yochanan, they are calling me Yochanan). In English a person needs to add a "they" in order to mimic the structure because one cannot say just "calling me Y., or "calls me Y." However, one cannot add "they" in Hebrew. If someone says "hem qorim li Y." the listener immediately asks "who are 'they'?" By adding 'they' the subject becomes 'real' and 'referential'. But in Hebrew, even though participles require subjects, this idiom requires the subject not to be mentioned. The subject is indefinite and must remain so for the idiom. That is why it is called a substitute for the passive. In a passive the subject is not given. He is called Y. The listeners do not stop and ask "who called?" (Reminds me of Maynard G Krebs in Dobie Gillis: [as Maynard walks by] D: Hey Maynard. M: You rang?) [For second-llanguage English users: the joke/word play revolves around an implied 'call' as a vocative and 'call by telephone'.].
Back to the quoted translation, "they" cannot be added in Hebrew without skewing the focus and reference.
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