[B-Greek] Luke 11:17 and EPI

Steven Lo Vullo slovullo at mac.com
Sat Jul 19 05:19:34 EDT 2003

On Friday, July 18, 2003, at 06:56  PM, farley wrote:

>     In Lk. 11:17, we read OIKOS EPI OIKON PIPTEI.  Is this to be read 
> "house falls upon house" (as the Douay and RSV read it), or "a house 
> divided against itself falls" (as the NASB reads it, borrowing the 
> verb "divided' from the previous clause?

The RSV actually renders OIKOS EPI OIKON PIPTEI as "a divided household 
falls," clearly understanding OIKOS EPI OIKON to mean "a house against 
a house," i.e., "a house against itself," taking EPI as a marker of 
hostile opposition (see BDAG 12 s.v. EPI). It is the NRSV that, for 
some abstruse reason, translates "house falls on house."  A house 
falling on a house simply doesn't make sense in this context, while a 
household (family; cf. TEV, CEV, Message) divided against itself does. 
(I wonder in what sort of context a house falling on a house WOULD make 
sense. An earthquake scenario?) It seems clear to me that EPI in this 
clause is to be taken in the same sense as EF' in the previous clause.

>   One commentator (I.H. Marshall) seems to suggest that both are 
> grammatically possible; if this is so, which is the most likely?

A lot of things are grammatically possible which would make no sense at 
all in their context.

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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