Luke 18:11 -- Ward Powers' suggestion

Chet Creider creider at
Sun Sep 9 07:04:48 EDT 2001

Ward Powers wrote:
> There seems to be something of a consensus that PROS hEAUTOUS (whatever it 
> actually means) is something the Pharisee did because he actually intended to.
> I am one of those who take the other view. The Pharisee never intended to 
> PROS hEAUTOUS at all. He intended to pray to Heaven. To God. Most 
> definitely. He was not reciting all those good things about himself just 
> for his own benefit. He wanted God to be well and truly reminded of them. 
> He expected God to be listening. And approving.
> But in this story, in this verse, Jesus is telling us what REALLY happened. 
> Giving us a "behind the scenes" view of things. The fact is, that sort of 
> selfish, self-centred prayer never got to God. (And still never does.) It 
> was quite contrary to the bloke's intentions, but the Pharisee was actually 
> only talking to himself, and not to God at all, for reasons as set out in 
> Isaiah 59:2.
> Now, he may have been praying out loud, or whispering under his breath, or 
> internalizing his prayer, but (whereas the tax collector's prayer made it 
> straight through to God), this Pharisee's prayer did not even get to the 
> temple roof. His "prayer" was only for his own ego gratification, and 
> whatever his intentions may or may not have been, it was (as Jesus tells 
> us) only PROS hEAUTON.

Linguistically this is the most straightforward suggestion of all since
it makes use of PROS in its most basic sense.  I also find it very
thoughtful and very interesting.  ...but, it raises theological questions
which are beyond my competence.

I'm grateful for all of the suggested analyses and comments, including
those I haven't replied specifically to.  I think my next step will
be to look at Torrey and at Black on Aramaic since both Marshall in
his commentary on Luke and Metzger in his commentary on NA 26 cite
them with approval.

Chet Creider

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