Matt 6:1 Syntax

Jonathan Ryder jpr1001 at
Wed Jan 13 06:06:39 EST 1999

"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:

> This is an interesting question. My own inclination, I confess, is to
> understand MH POIEIN as a complementary infinitive to PROSECETE and THN
> DIKAIOSUNHN hUMWN as object of POIEIN (I've written the whole phrasing out
> to leave no room for misinterpretation--if I'm wrong on this one, I shall be
> absolutely wrong!).

> I don't understand Betz's argument here. A very quick Accordance search of
> LXX discloses several instances of DIKAIOSUNHN POIEIN: Gen. 2;13, Tob. 4:5,
> Tob. 14:7, Isaiah 58:2, Ezekiel 18:17, 33:16, 45:9. So I don't understand how
> he can say that taking DIKAIOSUNHN hUMWN as object of POIEIN is to
> 'Christianize' Jewish usage or Jewish theology. Moreover, it strikes me as
> exceeding strange to use POIEIN absolutely in the sense of 'practice' without
> an object; I could imagine PRATTEIN being used absolutely like that, but
> POIEIN, since it implicitly means to bring something into being rather than
> to perform an act, seems strange if understood in that sense of 'practice'
> and used absolutely. Upon checking LSJ/Glare I do find (B) POIEW used like
> PRATTW, but normally with an object, and then (B.II) POIEW used absolutely as
> opposed to PASCW or in a medical sense of 'be efficacious'--but neither of
> these really seems to me to fit here, and given the evidence of LXX usage of
> DIKAIOSUNHN POIEIN, it still seems to me that the "usual" way of
> understanding the syntax here is more likely.

Many thanks for your full reply. I had not thought until your reply of the
question being whether POIEIN needed an object or whether POIEIN w. or w/o
DIKAIOSUNH (hUMWN) might be a 'unit' or idiom.

However, can I assume that Betz's understanding of the syntax (ie PROSECETE
taking two objs) is still possible if less likely, ie that it can't be
discounted outright?

As to arguments re amending Jewish theology,  they are caught up with his
thesis that SM existed as a complete unit of Jewish-Christian origin before Mt
was written and was inserted with little or no alteration into the Gospel by
final redactor. Not a B-Greek concern I guess.

Thanks again

Jonathan Ryder

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