Luke 18:11 -- Iver Larsen's suggestion

Chet Creider creider at
Sun Sep 9 20:00:02 EDT 2001

> > Assuming I am now understanding you correctly if I say you are suggesting
> > that the meaning is something like "standing next to himself", I can only
> > say that to me that makes no sense at all, and I don't see how it could
> > make sense in any language, Greek included, as it implies being in two
> > places at the same time.
> The comment about "standing beside himself" which you rephrase as "standing
> next to himself" was a translation of your attempt to speak Danish. It does
> not make much sense. It had little to do with what the Greek text is saying.
That was my point.  I was asking you if a literal translation of "by himself"
into Danish could have the same idiomatic meaning as your "by himself" in
English, viz. "alone".  Apparently not.  This means that "ved sig selv" is
just as bad in Norwegian/Danish as "by himself" _in its literal sense_ is
in English (and also "near himself", "at himself").

> What I was trying to say is that I understand STAQEIS PROS hEAUTON to mean
> "standing (having placed himself) towards/at/by his own (place)". A literal
> translation of this into English is a bit awkward. The meaning is that he
> separated himself by standing at a distance from the tax collector - and
> other ordinary people and especially sinners, I presume, just as v. 13 says
> the tax collector was standing at a distance. Is it not fitting that a
> Pharisee (the word deriving from those who set themselves apart from others)
> should separate himself?

I understand you now, but it is critical to your interpretation that
PROS hEAUTON not be understood literally (as referring to the Pharisee)
but rather that there be an understood TOPOV (as Mike Sangrey has
suggested).  This may be plausible and is perhaps the only way to make
sense of the phrased if, as you argue, it is to be construed with
STAQEIS.  At this point I'm at the limit of my own knowledge as I
don't know enough to choose between the two placements of TAUTA. 

To attempt a rather weak and incomplete summary: at this point there
seem to be 4 competing analyses:

(1) yours and Mike's
(2) Carl's (assuming a different placement of TAUTA and construing
PROS hEAUTON with PROSHUCETO) that the Pharisee's speech is directed
to himself.
(3) my suggestion (BDAG sense 3, subsense "circled e") "about himself"
(4) Ward's suggestion (pointing to Isaiah 59.2)

> That is why most modern translations - except the NIV - say something
> similar to the NRSV:
> "The Pharisee standing by himself was praying thus..."
> This may be an English idiom, but it is a perfectly good translation of the
> Greek text.

I think that it is a terrible translation since it suggests that the 
Greek is MONOS rather than PROS hEAUTON, but I admit that I know
next to nothing about translation and perhaps this is the best that
can be done.

> Actually, there is not a lot of difference between this and Carl's
> suggestion that he stood and prayed to himself, in the sense that since he
> stood by himself his prayer was not heard by other people, even though
> clearly directed to God.
Agreed.  This may be a good note to end the discussion on.  Not completely
resolved but definitely worthwhile to have discussed the possibilities.

Chet Creider

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