Luke 18:11 -- Iver Larsen's suggestion

George Blaisdell maqhth at
Mon Sep 10 01:51:31 EDT 2001

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

>From: Chet Creider

>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)

There is a 5th - Which combines both 1&2.

The suggestion that PROS hEAUTON is to be understood adverbially has a lot 
of appeal, for it may simply be describing the Pharisitic way of praying in 
the Synagogue.  And as well, the fact that he is praying the particular 
words that he does, which compares himself favorably to the tax-collector, 
is not a prayer that one would wish to make broadly known, and not 
especially to the tax collector!  So it could be very safe to say that this 
Pharisee prayed "privately" - PROS hEAUTOS - And indeed, perhaps the 
Pharisees generally did pray this way in the normal course of their prayer 
life in the temple.  I am ignorant on this one...

So the Pharisee is perhaps being simply described as praying as Pharisees 
normally do pray, perhaps quietly, praying pretty much within himself, and 
the interesting thing is that Iver's perception that he was as well "stood" 
privately is also well within the limits of this structure of words, for in 
order for him to keep himself from being heard, he would have to be stood 
apart, privately, PROS hEAUTOS.  Which is why the chiastic Hebraic thought 
structure of the sentence provides the way to understand what is primary, 
and what is included:  The basic sentence is hO FARISAIOS TAUTA PROSHUCETO - 
No question!  "The Pharisee prayed these things:"


   C    TAUTA

In this construction, A construes with A', B with B', and C is the core idea 
that carries on into the next sentence.  Thus STAQEIS PROS hEAUTON is the 
primary attribution.  This is standard chiastic form.  [Nothing strange 
about it!]

And the interesting part of chiastic structures is that they work as well in 
the linear order of their hearing when spoken, so that Carl is right to say 
that TAUTA PROS hEAUTON PROSHUCETO makes good sense in Greek.  He prayed 
these things privately...  The PROS plus reflexive acc. construction follows 
a lot of verbs of communication.

The problems we are encountering all seem to resolve fairly well with a 
both-and rather than an either-or approach.  We do seem to be operating on 
the premise that it must be EITHER one OR the other, yes?  Why is there such 
an aversion to both-and?


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