Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

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Charlie Johnson
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Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by Charlie Johnson » January 12th, 2012, 10:17 am

Luke 6:12b - καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ.

I was casually reading this chapter, and this genitive stuck out to me. It seemed so odd that Luke would render the recipient of the prayer in the genitive. I would have expected τῳ θεῳ or προς τον θεον. I checked the LXX and NT, and though genitives after προσευχη are plentiful, I could not find any that paralleled this expression. How should I regard this? A perfectly acceptable expression? A bit quirky? A grammatical error? Or, is another interpretation possible?
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cwconrad
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Re: Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by cwconrad » January 12th, 2012, 11:09 am

Charlie Johnson wrote:Luke 6:12b - καὶ ἦν διανυκτερεύων ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ.

I was casually reading this chapter, and this genitive stuck out to me. It seemed so odd that Luke would render the recipient of the prayer in the genitive. I would have expected τῳ θεῳ or προς τον θεον. I checked the LXX and NT, and though genitives after προσευχη are plentiful, I could not find any that paralleled this expression. How should I regard this? A perfectly acceptable expression? A bit quirky? A grammatical error? Or, is another interpretation possible?
It's listed as such in BDAG for this passage. Inasmuch as προσευχή is a verbal noun, I don't see anything particularly strange in usage of an "objective" genitive of the one to whom the prayer is addressed.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by Louis L Sorenson » January 12th, 2012, 12:02 pm

Luke:A Handbook on the Greek Text by Culy/Parsons/Stigall agrees.

p. 191 τοῦ θεοῦ. Objective genitive.
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Charlie Johnson
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Re: Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by Charlie Johnson » January 12th, 2012, 3:40 pm

I agree that there isn't an actual grammatical error involved. I'm also convinced that it is, in fact, an objective genitive. I'm asking if it sounds odd to you. I admit my search was cursory rather than scholarly, but I did not find a single other objective genitive after προσευχη in the LXX + NT. On the contrary, there are subjective genitives aplenty. Also, as far as I can find, praying to God is a rather common theme, but in every other instance is expressed either by the dative or by προς + accusative. So, can I at least say it's a quirk?
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » January 12th, 2012, 10:16 pm

Would you consider Mark 11:22 similar?

ο ιησους λεγει αυτοις εχετε πιστιν θεου
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Iver Larsen
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Re: Luke 6:12 - odd genitive

Post by Iver Larsen » January 13th, 2012, 2:41 am

Probably.

In both cases we are dealing with a verb that has the semantic role of Direction. Both prayer and trust is directed to God. This semantic role can be expressed with a dative, or with πρὸς. When used in a genitive construction, the role of Direction is expressed by a genitive. It may not be common, but it is perfectly fine and natural.
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