Matt 26:50

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Aug 30 17:09:06 EDT 2001

>At 9:44 PM +0200 8/30/01, Iver Larsen wrote:
>>The expression in Matt 26:50 looks incomplete and is hard to understand:
>>I know some options and would be grateful for comments on which, if any of
>>them, seems the better one:
>>1. The imperative POIEI should be supplied to give the sense: "Friend, do
>>that which you are here for." I am reluctant to go this route, because I am
>>not sure we are allowed to add POIEI.

My first response, which I think is still most probable, was:

>While I can understand your reluctance to take the leap and supply POIEI
>(or POIHSON?), I really think this is the only viable alternative among
>those you list. There is, of course, no parallel in Mark or Luke--and I
>don't know of any exact parallel in extra-biblical literature, although
>this is mightily like some bits of half-line stichomythia in Greek tragedy
>and comedy and just a little bit like some rather elliptical proverbial
>statements such as MH PAR' hO GEGRAPTAI. That is to say, we recognize the
>ellipsis as such and supply what makes sense. Here it seems to me that the
>nly thing that makes sense is to understand the phrase, as "My friend, you
>came here for a purpose, go right ahead and get it done."

Nevertheless, after Mark Wilson's insistence that Judas has ALREADY DONE
what he has arrived for, it occurs to me that there's yet another way to
fill the ellipsis, by understanding a TOUT' ESTIN


That is to say, the actual words cited are "what you came for"

with the implicit sense: "Yes, that's what you came for."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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