[B-Greek] LInguistic question on Luke 1:1

mark lama markosl80 at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 21 19:19:03 EDT 2003


While I think Carl and Ann are right on the money in what they have said about lexicography and lexicographers, I can't help but wonder if this discussion would be more meaningful if we were discussing the specific example that (ostensibly, at least) gave rise to it. Mr. Litwak was not very clear in his original post exactly what his question about the meaning of PEPLHROFORHMENWN in Luke 1:1 was, and so far Luke 1:1 has not been discussed at all on this thread, regardless of the subject headers. Without an explicit statement of the question at hand, discussing the principles that ought to be brought to bear to answer it is difficult. I really think that the discussion, if it is to be continued at all, should be brought back to the concrete-- to the issues involved in interpreting the word PLHROFOREW in Luke 1:1. What exactly is Mr. Litwak's question about the word?
 I will throw out a lead here. In my understanding, PLHROFOREW is being used here rather like PLHROW, of the fulfillment (accomplishment) of deeds foretold in prophecy, so that to say TWN PEPLHRWMENWN EN hHMIN PRAGMATWN instead of TWN PEPLHROFORHMENWN EN hHMIN PRAGMATWN would not significantly alter the sense of the passage. Compare the recurring use of PLHROW in Matthew in reference to the Messianic events that Luke is about to embark on his recounting of. 
It is always an assumption, is it not, that we are trying to understand the meaning of a word in context  in the same sense as it was aimed at the original audience? Whether we are arguing in favor of taking a word in one sense or another, this is the criterion that we have all agreed to. Otherwise, discussion would be meaningless, since we would have no common end in sight. What I cannot see is why Mr. Litwak's question is any different than the myriad other questions that are posted here on the meaning of specific words in specific contexts in the Greek NT. In my view, we are all asking the same linguistic question when we ask "How should I understand this word in this passage?" the standard that we imply in the word "should" being, of course, the best attainable approximation to the sense in which it was originally intended and would have been understood. I would like to have an indication, ideally from Mr. Litwak himself, of the arguments that he sees for taking PEPLHROFORHMENWN
 here in one sense or another, and then one can discuss the principles that should be used in judging between them. Without this, little clarity is likely to be attained. I know that what I have said in this post may not be very profound, but the air is getting too rarified for me. 
Mark Lama

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