Luke 18:11 -- Iver Larsen's suggestion

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Sep 9 12:07:27 EDT 2001


At 5:20 PM +0200 9/9/01, Iver Larsen wrote:
>Chet responded:
>> Iver Larsen:
>> > Yes, BAGD is not helpful with this citation. The sense "by, at,
>> near" is OK, though.
>>
>> I think not -- see below.
>
>Since I cannot accept Ward's suggestion as plausible, though interesting, I
>want to probe my own suggestion a bit more. See below.
>>
>> > The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed these things (to God)...
>> >
>> > In true Pharisee fashion he separated himself from the common man and
>> > especially a despised tax collector.
>>
>> The problem with this suggestion is that it uses a highly idiomatic
>> meaning of "by" in English (and perhaps also Danish? -- I don't have
>> any Danish grammars at home, but is something like "staaende ved seg selv"
>> used also in Danish? -- writing "a med ring" with "aa").  If Luke had
>> used PROS hEAUTON in this sense elsewhere, one might be forced to say
>> it was some kind of coincidence that English/Danish and Luke's Greek
>> used the same idiom, but apparently the only other time he uses PROS
>> hEAUTON (see the discussion begun by Mike Sangrey) a very different
>> meaning is intended.
>
>Since my friend, Chet, has learned some Danish let me tell him that in
>Danish we would say "stående for sig selv". The one you mention means
>"standing beside himself."
>But let's move to Greek.
>
>I agree that the English "by, at, near" might fit better with PROS plus
>dative, but it is still appropriate with PROS plus accusative. BADG use
>these glosses in both places, and rightly so. The accusative use has the
>basic meaning of "towards, at, by". In Luke 18:11 the meaning is moving
>towards a place of his own as a place separate from where the tax collector
>was standing. Is it possible in English to say "He stood to himself" for "he
>stood alone, on his own"?
>
>This is not a special usage of PROS. Let me give a few examples. Since you
>like to restrict yourself to Luke, let's do that:
>
>Lk 3:9 hH AXINH PROS THN RIZAN TWN DENDRWN KEITAI
>the axe is placed towards/at/by the root of the trees
>
>Lk 10:39 PARAKAQESQEISA PROS TOUS PODAS TOU KURIOU HKOUEN TON LOGON AUTOU
>She sat down towards/at/by the feet of the Lord and listened to his word
>
>Lk 16:20 EBEBLHTO PROS TON PULWNA AUTOU
>he had been placed towards/at/by his gate
>
>Lk 22:56 IDOUSA DE AUTON PAIDISKH TIS KAQHMENON PROS TO FWS
>A certain servant girl saw him sitting at/by the light
>
>Lk 24:12 APHLQEN PROS hEAUTON
>he went away to his own (place)
>
>All of these involve movement towards something. Sometimes the movement is
>completed so that we see the person sitting at/near/by a place.
>Therefore, the meaning "by/at" in this sense is well attested.
>
>In Lk 18:11 we saw an aorist passive participle of hISTHMI - having placed
>himself. He had already moved to a place where he could stand by himself or
>at his own (place).
>
>I am afraid I don't see the problem with this usage. It seems to be good
>Greek.
>
>If a stative verb rather than a motion verb had been used KATA would
>probably have been used as in
>
>Acts 28:16 EPETRAPH TWi PAULWI MENEIN KAQ' hEAUTON
>Paul was allowed to stay/live by himself (at his own place)
>
>(A few later mss changed PROS to KATA in Lk 18:11. The original hand of
>Sinaiticus forgot PROS hEAUTON and when it was added later, it was
>apparently put in the wrong place.)
>
>I think it is those who prefer to take PROS hEAUTON with "praying" who are
>creating unnecessary complications.

Iver, do you not think that the word-order of hO FARISAIOS STAQEIS TAUTA
PROS hEAUTON PROSHUCETO makes this questionable? It certainly appears to me
that PROS hEAUTON is harder to construe with STAQEIS than with PROSHUCETO.
I don't question at all that PROS + acc. regularly means "near" or
"at"--but the phrase PROS hEAUTON in the sense of "by himself" still seems
strange to me; I would expect rather something like MONOS STAQEIS.
-- 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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