Luke 7:39

Steven Lo Vullo themelios at
Mon Oct 8 14:08:11 EDT 2001

on 10/8/01 11:33 AM, Kenneth Litwak at javajedi2 at wrote:

> I have a few questions about part of Luke 7:39.
> (I'm typing this from memory so please excuse any
> errors).  
> First, while acknowledging that it's virtually
> impossible to know how a Greek understood or thought
> about the language as they encountered it, but
> 1.  EGINOSKEN seems to require some such sense as "he
> would have known".  Neverth4elss, that is contrary to
> the sense of an indicative, which means "this
> definitely occurs."  Also, I would not have expected
> an imperfect, so perhaps I'm missing something.
> 2.  AN TIS.  Is this  "who" or "what sort of", being
> redundant with POTATH?
> 3.  Again, while I can't know how a native Greek
> speaker would read this, GUNH hHTIS hAPTETAI AUTOU
> seems to be an unexpected alternative to using a
> participle instead of the relative hHTIS plus a finite
> verb.

It's important to note that this is a second class (contrary-to-fact)
condition. In a present contrary-to-fact condition, the protasis has EI with
the imperfect indicative and the apodosis has AN with the imperfect
indicative. If a past contrary-to-fact condition is intended, the aorist
indicative is used in both protasis and apodosis. (There are some exceptions
to these rules. AN is sometimes omitted, and because EIMI doesn't have an
aorist, the imperfect may be used in a past contrary-to-fact condition.) So
AN is construed with EGINWSKEN, not TIS. And the sense of the present
contrary-to-fact here is: "If this man were a prophet, he would know, etc."
(Not sure why RSV and NRSV translate as they do.)

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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