hOI for some in Mt 28:17?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue May 21 07:20:31 EDT 2002

At 10:29 PM -0700 5/20/02, Mark House wrote:
>Manolis Nikolaou wrote:
>>>As Mr. Conrad has written, this is a standard and really old usage of the
>definite article + DE in Greek. A few examples drawn from NT have been
>stated, as well. So your way of understanding is not really sound,
>>>". but struggled with their uncertainty" would be "EDISTASAN DE" not "hOI
>DE EDISTASAN". The article hOI (before DE) is what makes all the
>difference here.<<
>Isn't it true, though, that the "really old usage" implies (without always
>explicitly stating) a "hOI MEN . . . hOI DE . . ." structure? If the meaning
>here really is "some worshipped, but others doubted," shouldn't we expect to
>have seen "hOI (MEN implied) PROSEKUNHSAN AUTWi, hOI DE EDISTASAN"?
>Wallace seems to imply as much when he states:
>"The article is often used in the place of a third person personal pronoun
>in the nominative case. It is only used this way with the MEN. DE
>construction or with DE alone. (Thus, O MEN. O DE or simply O DE.) These
>constructions occur frequently in the Gospels and Acts, almost never
>elsewhere." (211)
>It strikes me that there's a third alternative that could be thrown into the
>hopper. What if the sentence really ends after PROSEKUNHSAN AUTWi? ("And
>when they saw him, they worshipped.") The new sentence would then closely
>link the doubting with Jesus' promise of authority: " "But they (still)
>doubted, and when Jesus had come he spoke to them, saying . . . " In this
>case the hOI DE serves not so much as a contrast (either of subject or of
>verbal action) with "worship," but simply as a narrative link, much like the
>beginning of v. 16 (hOI DE hENDEKA . . . ), with a note of mild contrast.
>The hENDEKA is not repeated because its closeness to the preceding context
>renders it unnecessary.


(1) I don't think that Wallace is saying that hO DE is a truncated hO MEN
... hO DE construction; he's simply indicating constructions in NT Greek
wherein the article is used as a demonstrative pronoun. In fact, the hO DE
+ verb construction very likely antedates the development of MEN ... DE
antithetical phrasing in historical Greek usage; I think Wallace is simply
listing pronominal usages of the article.

(2) I think your third alternative is awkward and really rather difficult
to understand. You are suggesting that those indicated by the hOI DE are
the same as those who worshipped, but in fact hO DE traditionally in Greek
usage indicates a shift of focus to a different individual or group. If the
text should be understood to mean, "... they  (the Eleven) worshipped him.
But they still doubted," I think I would expect (a) a stronger pronoun than
hOI or some clearer indication that it is hOI hENDEKA who continued to
doubt; (b) an imperfect EDISTAZAN rather than the aorist EDISTASAN.
Moreover, it really does strike me as odd that those who worshipped would
be here characterized as doubting. Certainly the new departure in vs 18,
to the doubt at all, so why would hOI DE EDISTASAN be indicated in an
isolated sentence?

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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