Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Forum rules
Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
jonathan.borland
Posts: 14
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:31 pm

Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by jonathan.borland » November 11th, 2011, 11:03 am

Dear List,

Mark 10:12: και εαν αυτη απολυσασα τον ανδρα αυτης γαμηση αλλον μοιχαται.

This question may seem silly at first, but with the quirks of Mark's Greek, I'm wondering if the subject of μοιχαται here might actually be understood as the man who marries the divorced woman, just as Luke explicitly states (Luke 16:18: . . . και ο απολελυμενην απο ανδρος γαμων μοιχευει). Am I totally off base here? I thought of this after coming across the critical rule of one Thomas Magister (14th cent.): μοιχασθαι ο ανηρ, μοιχευεται δε η γυνη. Are there any who actually take this approach and translate Mark 10:12 as something like, "And when she who has divorced her husband marries another, he commits adultery"?

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland
0 x



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

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by cwconrad » November 11th, 2011, 3:06 pm

jonathan.borland wrote:Dear List,

Mark 10:12: και εαν αυτη απολυσασα τον ανδρα αυτης γαμηση αλλον μοιχαται.

This question may seem silly at first, but with the quirks of Mark's Greek, I'm wondering if the subject of μοιχαται here might actually be understood as the man who marries the divorced woman, just as Luke explicitly states (Luke 16:18: . . . και ο απολελυμενην απο ανδρος γαμων μοιχευει). Am I totally off base here? I thought of this after coming across the critical rule of one Thomas Magister (14th cent.): μοιχασθαι ο ανηρ, μοιχευεται δε η γυνη. Are there any who actually take this approach and translate Mark 10:12 as something like, "And when she who has divorced her husband marries another, he commits adultery"?
Louw & Nida §88.276 equate μοιχεύω and μοιχάομαι, rightly so, I think. μοιχῶμαι is really a middle verb. I think the proposed alternative understanding of μοιχᾶται in Mark 10:12 is improbable in the extreme, for the simple reason that it involves an intolerable shift of perspective to take the subject of μοιχᾶται from the object of ἀπολύσασα and γαμῄσῃ rather than from the subject of the finite verb and participle. It is surely simpler -- and more likely? -- that Mark's formulation is grounded in a social framework (Roman or other gentile framework) in which a woman may legally divorce a husband.
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)

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2831
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 11th, 2011, 5:43 pm

I'm trying to understand the logic of the proposed interpretation, but it's not making sense to me. How does getting divorced by one's wife who then remarries means that the divorced man commits adultery? He could remain celibate, for example.

Stephen
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

jonathan.borland
Posts: 14
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:31 pm

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by jonathan.borland » November 11th, 2011, 7:04 pm

Mark 10:12: και εαν αυτη απολυσασα τον ανδρα αυτης γαμηση αλλον μοιχαται.
cwconrad wrote: Louw & Nida §88.276 equate μοιχεύω and μοιχάομαι, rightly so, I think. μοιχῶμαι is really a middle verb. I think the proposed alternative understanding of μοιχᾶται in Mark 10:12 is improbable in the extreme, for the simple reason that it involves an intolerable shift of perspective to take the subject of μοιχᾶται from the object of ἀπολύσασα and γαμῄσῃ rather than from the subject of the finite verb and participle. It is surely simpler -- and more likely? -- that Mark's formulation is grounded in a social framework (Roman or other gentile framework) in which a woman may legally divorce a husband.
Dear Dr. Conrad,

Thanks for your reply! I certainly agree that μοιχευω and μοιχαομαι are interchangeable, but the supposed "rule" mentioned by Thomas Magister was that, at least at some time, the passive of μοιχευω (μοιχευομαι / μοιχευθηναι) was to be used to refer to women who commit who commit adultery. See also entry in BAGD. So I wonder how rigid this "rule" of Attic Greek was and if using μοιχαομαι would have allowed one to assume a male subject, even though grammatically, without a change of referent, the subject would naturally be assumed to be the same as that of απολυση. Just off the top of my head, I see that the object of Matt 4:22 (αυτω) becomes the subject of 4:23, and the object of 4:25 (αυτω) becomes the subject of 5:1, without the subject actually being named in either case. Although these are in different clauses, are they somewhat comparable?

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland
0 x

jonathan.borland
Posts: 14
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:31 pm

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by jonathan.borland » November 11th, 2011, 7:06 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm trying to understand the logic of the proposed interpretation, but it's not making sense to me. How does getting divorced by one's wife who then remarries means that the divorced man commits adultery? He could remain celibate, for example.

Stephen
Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your reply! I was simply wondering if Luke's unique rendering, that a man who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery, could have come from Mark 10:12 by assuming that the subject of μοιχαται had to be a man.

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland
0 x

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2831
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 11th, 2011, 7:16 pm

jonathan.borland wrote:Thanks for your reply! I was simply wondering if Luke's unique rendering, that a man who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery, could have come from Mark 10:12 by assuming that the subject of μοιχαται had to be a man.
Couldn't it have come from something like Matt 5:32?

Stephen
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

jonathan.borland
Posts: 14
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:31 pm

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by jonathan.borland » November 11th, 2011, 8:31 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: Couldn't it have come from something like Matt 5:32?

Stephen
Dear Stephen,

Indeed! Sorry about that! It's the traditional rendering of Mark 10:12 that diverges from the other passages, and I'm wondering if it might be explained on admittedly rather peculiar linguistic grounds. I'm taking it, from Dr. Conrad's response, that it cannot.

Sincerely,

Jonathan
0 x

jonathan.borland
Posts: 14
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 10:31 pm

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by jonathan.borland » November 11th, 2011, 9:08 pm

Dear List,

How often does Mark change the subject of successive clauses without actually naming the subject? Is it common? I'm looking in Mark 1 and see that the object of 1:20 (αυτου) becomes the subject of the second verb of 1:21 (εδιδασκεν), and the subject of the verb in 1:29 (ηλθον) and 1:30 (λεγουσιν) almost certainly is different than the last named plural subject (απαντες) which occurs in 1:27, and the different subject of the verb of the following verse in 1:31 (ηγειρεν) is not named, although we know it is Jesus. Are there any actual studies of this narrative feature and its frequency? I've never even noticed it before. Are there any grammatical rules governing when it is allowed for the object of one clause to become the unnamed subject of the next?

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland
0 x

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by David Lim » November 11th, 2011, 10:48 pm

jonathan.borland wrote:Dear List,

How often does Mark change the subject of successive clauses without actually naming the subject? Is it common? I'm looking in Mark 1 and see that the object of 1:20 (αυτου) becomes the subject of the second verb of 1:21 (εδιδασκεν), and the subject of the verb in 1:29 (ηλθον) and 1:30 (λεγουσιν) almost certainly is different than the last named plural subject (απαντες) which occurs in 1:27, and the different subject of the verb of the following verse in 1:31 (ηγειρεν) is not named, although we know it is Jesus. Are there any actual studies of this narrative feature and its frequency? I've never even noticed it before. Are there any grammatical rules governing when it is allowed for the object of one clause to become the unnamed subject of the next?

Sincerely,

Jonathan C. Borland
This is very common in both Greek and English and not just in Mark. The subject of a verb depends largely on the current focus of the passage, and of course it is restricted to those that can fit its "person" and "number". This means that in most cases the subject is clear even if it is not explicitly mentioned. The focus in Mark 1 is clearly on Jesus so unless the context or grammar indicates a temporary shift in focus, like in [Mark 1:16] "ησαν γαρ αλιεις" where clearly Jesus was not included, you would expect unspecified subjects of verbs in this passage to be Jesus.
0 x
δαυιδ λιμ

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2831
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Mark 10:12 μοιχαται - "he" or "she"

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 11th, 2011, 11:47 pm

jonathan.borland wrote:I thought of this after coming across the critical rule of one Thomas Magister (14th cent.): μοιχασθαι ο ανηρ, μοιχευεται δε η γυνη. Are there any who actually take this approach and translate Mark 10:12 as something like, "And when she who has divorced her husband marries another, he commits adultery"?
Thomas Magister is pretty obscure. Who cites him?

Come to think of it, your translation is ambiguous. To whom does the he refer? If to the divorced husband, the logic does not make any sense. If it refers to the other (ἄλλον) who married the divorcée, then the logical problem I pointed out goes away.

Stephen
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Post Reply

Return to “New Testament”