Rahab's sign

L. Tichy tichy at cmtfnw.upol.cz
Fri Nov 12 10:26:57 EST 1999


> At 1:13 PM -0500 11/5/99, Bart Ehrman wrote:
> >   In discussing Rahab and the spies, 1 Clem 12:7 says KAI PROSEQENTO
> >AUTHi DOUNAI SHMEION.  The implied subject of of PROSEQENTO is the
> >"spies."  The phrase is a semiticism.  A typical rendering in English
> >translations is something like "They proceeded to give her a sign."
> >Parallels to this use of PROSEQENTO are Luke 19:11 and Acts 12:3.
> >
> >   Harnack, though, argued that it should be rendered something like "They
> >directed her to give a sign" (well, Harnack wasn't writing in English; his
> >suggestion is "praeterea mandaverunt ei ut signum daret").  Something like
> >this seems to be followed still by the most recent German renditions.
> >Lightfoot argues thought that it is impossible, on the grounds that it
> >involves understanding PROSEQENTO as something like "enjoin" or "impose."
> >
> >   Does anyone have an opinion about it?

> C. Conrad wrote: 
> This is still sitting in my B-Greek "open questions" box and I see that
> nobody has thus far expressed an opinion on it. What I offer is nothing
> more than that: an opinion: (a) I can't see any justification in terms of
> what the lexica offer us for PROSTIQHMI (or PROSTIQEMAI) for understanding
> the verb to mean "command" or "instruct"; (b) PROSTIQHMI/PROSTIQEMAI +
> infinitive is a common enough Hebraism with the sense, "continue to do" or
> "go on doing." I may be wrong about this, but it really looks to me like
> Harnack has given PROSEQENTO a meaning that he thinks is appropriate to the
> context rather than one that has parallels elsewhere.
> 
> Lk 19:11 AKOUONTWN DE AUTWN TAUTA PROSQEIS EIPEN PARABOLHN ...
> Acts 12:3 IDWN DE hOTI ARESTON ESTIN TOIS IOUDAIOIS, PROSEQETO SULLABEIN
> KAI PETRON ...
> Both of these are consistent with the usage "proceed," "continue": "he went
> on and told a parable ..." and "he proceeded to take Peter along also ..."
> and are so listed by Louw & Nida (below).
> 
> Here's Louw & Nida on usage within the GNT: 52.7 won't apply; 57.78 might
> appear to support a sense PROSTIQESQAI = Lat. mandare, but it would be more
> a matter of "give permission," which doesn't seem quite the same to me.
> 89.89 looks closest, but it hardly supports the sense that Harnack, from
> what you say, is presenting.

> 52.7 PROSTIQHMI PROS TOUS PATERAS AUTOU : (a Semitic idiom, 
literally 'to
> place with his fathers') to carry out a burial procedure - 'to bury.'
> EKOIMHQH KAI PROSETEQH PROS TOUS PATERAS AUTOU 'he died and was buried' Ac
> 13:36.
> 
> 57.78 PROSTIQHMI, EPITIQEMAI: to place something at the disposal of someone
> else - 'to give, to provide, to grant.'
> 59.72 PROSTIQHMI, EPITIQEMI; PROSANATIQEMAI: to add something to an
> existing quantity - 'to add.'
> 68.13 PROSTIQEMAI: to continue, with focus upon the next element - 'to
> continue, to proceed to.'AKOUONTWN DE AUTWN TAUTA PROSQEIS EIPEN PARABOLHN
> ... 'while they were listening to this, he continued and told them a
> parable' Lk 19:11.
> 89.89 PROSTIQEMAI: to mark an immediately following event - 'to proceed
> to.' IDWN DE hOTI ARESTON ESTIN TOIS IOUDAIOIS, PROSEQETO SULLABEIN KAI
> PETRON ... 'seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter'
> Ac 12:3.
> 
> 
  I thought about the question. In 1 Clem 12:7 the problem seems to be
the personal dativ AUTHi. In the modern Italian-Greek lexicon 
(Vocabolario della lingua greca, by F. Montanari et al. Torino: 
Loescher, 1995) I found s.v. PROSTIQHMI (medium), p. 1738, the 
meaning "imporre, infliggere" (= impose, oblige) with two quotations 
from Herodotos having a personal dativ: "POLEMON P. TINI fare guerra 
a qcn. HDT. 4.65.2" (to wage war against someone) and "TINI MHNIN 
OUDEMIAN P. non adirarsi affatto contro qcn. HDT. 7.229.2" (to be in 
no way angry with someone). Although there are some differences, this 
seems to me to speak in favor of Harnack's translation.

Ladislav Tichy
Faculty of Theology
Palacky University
Olomouc
Czech Republic









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