ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

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Ruth Mathys
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ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Ruth Mathys » June 8th, 2018, 3:07 am

προσεῖχον δὲ αὐτῷ διὰ τὸ ἱκανῷ χρόνῳ ταῖς μαγείαις ἐξεστακέναι αὐτούς.

I believe this is the only example of this verb in the perfect in the NT. Is it transitive or intransitive (is Simon the subject, or is αὐτούς)? BDAG lists this example as trans., but then says that the perf. is intrans.! And LSJ has the perf. as intrans. I checked a bunch of common English translations and only REB has it as intrans.

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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by MAubrey » June 8th, 2018, 2:02 pm

It's intransitive.

ἱστήμι and its derivatives are causative in the present and anticausative in the perfect.

So:
  • ἵστημι <> ἕστηκα
    make stand <> am standing
  • ὑφίστημι <> ὑφέστηκα
    make formed <> am formed
  • ἀφίστημι <> ἀφέστηκα
    make go away <> am away
Likewise:
  • ἐξίστημι <> ἐξέστηκα
    make amazed <> am amazed
Hope that helps!
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 8th, 2018, 2:37 pm

I have always read it as intransitive here, quite surprised to see the commentaries and several translations take it as transitive.
Culy wrote:αὐτούς. Accusative direct object of ἐξεστακέναι.
Culy, M. M., & Parsons, M. C. (2003). Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text (p. 154). Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.
Robertson wrote:Because that of long time he had amazed them with his sorceries (δια το ἱκανῳ χρονῳ ταις μαγιαις ἐξεστακεναι αὐτους [dia to hikanōi chronōi tais magiais exestakenai autous]). Causal use of δια [dia] with the accusative articular infinitive (perfect active Koiné form and transitive, ἐξεστακεναι [exestakenai]). Same verb as in verse 9 participle ἐξιστανων [existanōn] and in verse 13 imperfect passive ἐξιστατο [existato] (cf. also 2:7 already). Χρονῳ [Chronōi] is associative instrumental and μαγιαις [magiais] instrumental case.
Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 8:11). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

And of course, BDAG as mentioned in the OP.

For the life of me I can't see why, since the intransitive usage makes perfect sense. Often this kind of thing traces back to one influential person who originally made the claim, but I'm not about to ferret that one out.

The one thing that does occur to me is that they are trying to maintain parallelism with vs. 9, but that's not really necessary.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 8th, 2018, 2:48 pm

Meyer has a helpful note on this.
Meyer wrote:ἐξιστῶν, from ἐξιστάω (ἐξίστημι); so ἐξιστάνων, W. H. from ἐξιστάνω (hellenistic), see Blass, Grammatik, pp. 48, 49, transitive in present, future, first aorist active, cf. Luke 24:22—so ἐξεστακέναι, Acts 8:11, perfect active, hellenistic form, also transitive; see Blass, u. s. (also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 118, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.) (in 3Ma 1:25 ἐξιστάνειν also occurs).—ἵσταμαι, intransitive, Acts 8:13, Blass, u. s., p. 49—the revisers have consistently rendered the verb by the same English word in the three Acts 8:9; Acts 8:11; Acts 8:13, thus giving point and force to the narrative, see on Acts 8:13.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

MAubrey
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by MAubrey » June 8th, 2018, 3:48 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 2:37 pm
Often this kind of thing traces back to one influential person who originally made the claim, but I'm not about to ferret that one out.
In this case, I think it's being done without thought or awareness of the issue. The SIL Exegetical Summary on Acts 1-14 doesn't even make mention of it. And they're usually *really* good at documenting all the places where commentaries argue different points and interpretations. In case, their own translation makes it transitive without comment. That's a big signal in my book.
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Phil Tolstead
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Phil Tolstead » June 9th, 2018, 6:06 am

Grammar guessing as a way of better learning: Is it possible that τὸ... ἐξεστακέναι functions like substantive? And the accusative after it would then just read "for them"?

Tony Pope
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Tony Pope » June 9th, 2018, 6:20 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 2:48 pm
Meyer has a helpful note on this.
Meyer wrote:ἐξιστῶν, from ἐξιστάω (ἐξίστημι); so ἐξιστάνων, W. H. from ἐξιστάνω (hellenistic), see Blass, Grammatik, pp. 48, 49, transitive in present, future, first aorist active, cf. Luke 24:22—so ἐξεστακέναι, Acts 8:11, perfect active, hellenistic form, also transitive; see Blass, u. s. (also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 118, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.) (in 3Ma 1:25 ἐξιστάνειν also occurs).—ἵσταμαι, intransitive, Acts 8:13, Blass, u. s., p. 49—the revisers have consistently rendered the verb by the same English word in the three Acts 8:9; Acts 8:11; Acts 8:13, thus giving point and force to the narrative, see on Acts 8:13.
There seems to be more in this than meets the eye at first sight. I was ready to accept the view expressed in earlier posts that the perfect under discussion is intransitive. I noted also that Alford says "ἐξεστακάναι can hardly be as E. V. [he means KJV], transitive, 'he had bewitched them:' there appears to be no example of the perfect being thus used."

But I was bothered by this quote from "Meyer". For a start, I wondered which Meyer was meant. The content looks late 19th century, but it can't be H.A.W. Meyer because he was dead and buried by the time Grimm-Thayer saw the light of day. Perhaps it's the American editor of H.A.W. Meyer, or a different Meyer altogether.

Then I looked more carefully at what is said in the quote. I checked Winer-Schmiedel and discovered there a footnote referring to transitive examples in LXX. See the latter part of footnote 4 in
https://archive.org/stream/grammatikdes ... 8/mode/2up

On checking 1 Sam 15.12 in Rahlfs' edition of LXX I see a footnote "cf. Thack. p. 253". It turns out that Thackeray speaks of "The new transitive perfect ἕστακα". See
https://archive.org/stream/grammarofold ... 2/mode/2up

So what are we to make of that? Is the English translation tradition right after all?

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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by MAubrey » June 9th, 2018, 6:31 pm

Tony Pope wrote:
June 9th, 2018, 6:20 am
Then I looked more carefully at what is said in the quote. I checked Winer-Schmiedel and discovered there a footnote referring to transitive examples in LXX. See the latter part of footnote 4 in
https://archive.org/stream/grammatikdes ... 8/mode/2up

On checking 1 Sam 15.12 in Rahlfs' edition of LXX I see a footnote "cf. Thack. p. 253". It turns out that Thackeray speaks of "The new transitive perfect ἕστακα". See
https://archive.org/stream/grammarofold ... 2/mode/2up

So what are we to make of that? Is the English translation tradition right after all?
Ah yes. I had forgotten about those! There is technically a case for the transitive sense. It's still really rare...even in the papyri. I did a paper on ἵστημι six years ago that maybe I need to dig up. The intransitive usage remains the dominant usage through at least the 6th c. CE (which, at the time, was the latest century I had texts from).

But that question notwithstanding, I'm of the opinion that the English translation is tradition is right either way. Translations are under no obligation to retrain source language syntax in the target language.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 11th, 2018, 7:04 am

I vote for intransitive. However, I can't see how it really changes our understanding of the event with respect to the transitive renderings in English. It really looks like a translational issue to me, and translations are not obliged to preserve the syntax if the sense is otherwise conveyed.

In other words, what he said.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: ἐξίστημι in Acts 8:11

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 11th, 2018, 8:25 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 11th, 2018, 7:04 am
I vote for intransitive. However, I can't see how it really changes our understanding of the event with respect to the transitive renderings in English. It really looks like a translational issue to me, and translations are not obliged to preserve the syntax if the sense is otherwise conveyed.

In other words, what he said.
I agree the translation is fine and I agree that it doesn't change our understanding of the event. But seeing that there are both transitive and intransitive uses of the perfect changes my understanding of the verb.

It would be interesting to take a look at other transitive uses of the perfect. Does anyone have a list handy?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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