Luke 18:11

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Sun Sep 9 20:47:51 EDT 2001

Before responding directly to Mike's suggestion, I want to offer an
apology, especially to Iver, for failing utterly to note his careful
discussion of the reading adopted by NA27/UBS4, namely hO FARISAIOS STAQEIS
PROS hEAUTON TAUTA PROSHUCETO, as opposed to the word-order previously
accepted by the committee: hO FARISAIOS STAQEIS TAUTA PROS hEAUTON
PROSHUCETO. Of course that means that my objections to his understanding of
PROS hEAUTON on the basis of word-order were out of place.

Nevertheless, I still am inclined to believe that the traditional
understanding of PROS hEAUTON as meaning "to himself" and construing with
PROSHUCETO rather than with STAQEIS is probably right. I think Metzger's
note, to which Iver has referred, is instructive indeed, particularly in
view of the fact that the probability level assigned to the word-order
adopted by the committee is marked as "{C}"--i.e., relatively uncertain.
Here's what Metzger says (_A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament_
Second Edition, on Lk 18:11, p. 143:

"External evidence (P75 B Theta Psi f1 892 Origen) favors reading TAUTA
PROS hEAUTON, but internally the more difficult sequence seems to be PROS
hEAUTON TAUTA. The latter was ameliorated to read KAQ' hEAUTON TAUTA (D
it.d geo.2), "[standing] by himself ..." Because of the difficulty of
construing PROS hEAUTON (especially when the words stood next to STAQEIS),
several witnesses (Sin* l.1761 it.b,c,ff2,i,l,q,r1,ach eth geo.1
Diatesseron) omit the phrase entirely."

He further notes that C.C. Torrey, _Our Translated Gospels_, p.79, and M.
Black, _Aramaic Approach_, 3rd ed., p. 103, argue that "the words PROS
hEAUTON immediately after STAQEIS are to be understood as the Aramaic ethic
dative, meaning, 'The Pharisee, taking his stand, prayed ...'"

My own understanding of the meaning of Metzger's note is that the committee
accepted the marginally greater probability of the phrasing STAQEIS PROS
hEAUTON TAUTA over the phrasing STAQEIS TAUTA PROS hEAUTON on grounds that
the changes to KAQ' hEAUTON TAUTA and to TAUTA PROS hEAUTON probably were
intended as scribal improvements over the reading thought more likely to be
original. But what that means, for one thing at least, is that the
difficulty of understanding PROS hEAUTON with STAQEIS rather than with
PROSHUCETO TAUTA was recognized very early--i.e. that there's something
unnatural about it. Even the the suggestion of Torrey and Black that PROS
hEAUTON with STAQEIS may represent an Aramaic ethic dative so as to yield
the sense for STAQEIS PROS hEAUTON, "taking his stand" strikes me as quite
unconvincing, partly for reasons that are part of my response to Mike
Sangrey's message:

At 3:20 PM -0400 9/9/01, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>On 09 Sep 2001 06:40:11 -0400, Chet Creider wrote:
>> Mike Sangrey wrote:
>> > Seriously, I don't have an answer, but maybe Luke 24:12 offers some
>> > insight.
>> >
>> > Louw & Nida state that APHLQEN PROS hEAUTON (different verb from
>> > question but the same PROS hEAUTON construct) as an idiom meaning
>> > return to one's place" as in "place of residence." (cf L&N 15.92)
>> >
>> > Luke 24:12 is the only other case of PROS hEAUTON I could find in
>> > GNT.
>> >
>> > I wonder if it is too large a step to think of this as "prayed
>> > concerning his position in society."  We, in English, use the word
>> > `place' to signify the two ideas of `place of residence' and
>> > in society':  "I got my self a place in the city, it's not much, but
>> > it's home."  And, "Well!, guess I know my place around here, now."
>> I think this is indeed too large a step -- if possible one doesn't
>> an analysis which depends on an idiomatic sense of place in English.
>O! yes, certainly.  I wouldn't want an interpretation of a Greek
>constituent to be dependent on an English sense.  I was merely offering
>it to simply say that at least one other language group (namely English
>speakers) THINK this way.  There very well may be no correlation
>> However, the suggestion from Louw & Nida is interesting when applied
>> here: The Pharisee, standing in his own place (i.e. the temple),
>> these things:
>I've been thinking more about this phrase, especially in the light of
>L&N statement regarding APHLQEN PROS hEAUTON.
>Taking Iver's suggested text:
>What about a rather wooden translation such as:
>   "The Pharisee, stood up in his [special] place, these things was
>Observations to consider:
>1.  "stood up in his special place" sets up a very (IMO) appropriate
>contrast between Pharisee in his "special place" and the `sinner'
>standing "far off".  The parallelism is strengthened.  I note BDAG on
>the aorist form of ISTHMI and the apparent emphasis on `standing firm'.
>This is in contrast to the imperfect sense (cf 18:13) which has less
>emphasis on standing and more on simply being.
>2.  We know that there were special places in their gatherings (cf Mat.
>23:6, James 2:1-13--I've included this whole section because it's
>message appears to me to be so similar to the Luke 18 paragraph.)
>3.  I wonder if the idiom that SHOULD be recorded in L&N is NOT `APHLQEN
>PROS hEAUTON', but `PROS hEAUTON'.  That is, that PROS hEAUTON refers to
>"by, at, or near his own place."  If that is true, then we can easily
>explain this use in Luke 18.  Perhaps `special' is too strong; but I can
>easily picture a Pharisee, standing up in a synagoge meeting, praying to
>be heard by men (Mat 6:5).  Then a translation something like:  "The
>Pharisee, who stood up by his place in the meeting, was praying these
>things..." would be appropriate.
>4.  So, in that regard, I wonder whether this is a shortened form of
>PROS hEAUTON TOPON or PROS hEAUTON KANONA[1]. It makes sense to me for a
>language to shorten a form (and idiomatize <smile> it) when that form is
>used frequently.  People in this culture were VERY position oriented--it
>was a strongly caste oriented society.  `Place' and `position' generally
>track one another.  That's why some people have corner offices with nice
>windows and...ummmmm...well you get the picture.  If your territory was
>something that was talked about frequently, then the language would tend
>to make the expressions surrounding that topic more efficient.
>5.  This understanding of the phrase is perfectly consistent with the
>meaning of the paragraph.
>6.  It also supports Iver's text critical observation. Greek would use
>this word order to naturally express the parenthetical thought of
>"standing in his place" while English uses a comma delimited clause.
>What I'm saying here is this:  We have a nominative (which establishes
>the subject of the sentence), immediately followed by a particple and a
>prep. phrase, followed by the accusative of the sentence.  The
>accusative doesn't "sound" like it goes with the participial clause, so
>it naturally brackets the end of the participial cluse.  And the verb
>completes the sentence.  So, we have:
>       hO FARISAIOS                   TAUTA PROSHUCETO
>                 STAQEIS PROS hEAUTON
>STAQEIS PROS hEAUTON is naturally parenthetical.  Carl, does the above
>way of looking at it answer your objection?

I've already responded at the top that I can't really object to the
word-order that a majority of the committee deemed (rather more than less)
likely to be original.

If I understand Mike's suggestion aright, it is that PROS hEAUTON may
perhaps itself be an idiom meaning "in/at/near his own special place."

I can't see that this squares with the NT evidence at all, unless the
meaning claimed for it in Lk 18;11 be said to be sufficient proof of such
an idiom. But I don't think it's sufficient.

Apart from our text, Lk 18:11, I've found 12 instances of PROS + an
accusative form of the reflexive pronoun; generally it's the plural PROS
hEAUTOUS, but there's also a PROS hEAUTAS. What I find remarkable is that
the greater number of the examples show the phrase used with a verb of
	7x with LEGW or equivalent: Mk 1:27, 10:26, 11:31, 12:7, 16:3;
		Lk 20:5; Jn 7:35, 12:19
	2x with SUZHTEW (ptc.): Mk 9:10; Lk 22:23
	1x with AGANAKTEW (ptc): Mk 14:4
The other instance seems a bit ambiguous to me: Lk 24:12 ... KAI APHLQEN
construe with APHLQEN here in the sense "s'en est alle' chez soi," I think
a case might be made out that PROS hEAUTON should construe with QAUMAZWN,
inasmuch as SUZHTEW and AGANAKTEW indicate mental responses to an observed
event that are not actually verbalized but internalized in the
participants' pyches; I would think it would be reasonable to suppose that
PROS hEAUTON QAUMAZWN could mean "marveling to himself/without vocalizing

The instances seem to me to indicate that PROS + the accusative reflexive
pronoun is used essentially of INTERNAL DIALOGUE--to show what's going on
in the minds of the participants--or private discourse of a small group. My
own thinking is still that the words of the Pharisee's prayer, although the
prayer addresses God, are meant for his own self-gratification.
Consequently, whether or not the phrasing puts PROS hEAUTON before or after
TAUTA (and it certainly looks like that's where the majority of the
copyists thought it ought to be and what it ought to mean), the sense must
be: "The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself (= in his own mind)."
>[1] 2 Cor. 10:12-17 uses KANWN three times.  What I find interesting
>about this passage is that Paul uses this word in a context which ALSO
>contains the concept of `boasting'.  Was there a sense which "one's
>KANWN" was something one could BOAST about?  I don't know; but just as
>we tend to use `restaurant' and `menu' in context with each other, I
>wonder whether `boasting' and `KANWN' are used together.
>I didn't look at the 94 uses of TOPOS to assess the likelihood that PROS
>hEAUTON is a shortened form of PROS hEAUTON TOPON.

I suppose that you mean PROS hEAUTOU TOPON or PROS hEAUTOU KANONA. I'm
unaware and can't find any instances of such a phrase in the GNT. It's
worth noting too that the phrase in 2 Cor 10:15 is KATA TON KANONA hHMWN,

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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