[B-Greek] Luke 6:42 partial

Steven Lo Vullo slovullo at mac.com
Sun Jun 22 02:34:57 EDT 2003

On Saturday, June 21, 2003, at 10:38  PM, Timothy Gaden wrote:

> We are dealing here with two imperatives, both aorist, one 
> bog-standard and
> the second "hortatory" (i.e. "let me...").
> Porter, Idioms of the Greek NT, comments "the singular form of the 
> hortatory
> subjunctive is uncommon, and usually follows an imperative, as in other
> Hellenistic Greek". (p.58).  He cites Lk 6:42 as one of the examples, 
> adding
> the following trans - "permit me to remove the speck".

Though the description "hortatory subjunctive" is conventionally 
applied to the subjunctive verb in the construction in question, I 
think this is a questionable designation on a couple of counts.

(1) The basic idea of the hortatory subjunctive is representatively 
defined in Wallace (p. 464) thus:

"The subjunctive is commonly used to exhort or command **oneself and 
one’s associates**. This use of the subjunctive is used 'to urge some 
one to unite with the speaker in a course of action upon which he has 
already decided' [Chamberlain]. Since there is no first person 
imperative, the hortatory subjunctive is used to do roughly the same 
task. Thus this use of the subjunctive is an exhortation **in the first 
person plural**. The typical translation, rather than we should . . . 
is let us . . . ." (emphasis mine)

It seems strange to me that, after defining the hortatory subjunctive 
in this way, Wallace later goes on to include the first person singular 
subjunctive in the construction we are discussing as an example of a 
the hortatory subjunctive. But using Luke 6.2 as an example, one 
immediately realizes that EKBALW cannot possibly be an exhortation to 
oneself **and** one's associate(s) to perform the action indicated by 
EKBALW or to urge someone to unite with the speaker in that action, 
since the request is for the subject of EKBALW and **him alone** to 
remove the speck. The person addressed is not being asked to join in 
with the removal indicated by EKBALW; he is not urged to be a 
**remover**, but a **removee.** :-) The only exhortation to the 
addressee is to **allow** the removal.

(2) Though the first person singular subjunctive is usually found in 
this construction, it should be pointed out that the third person is 
also found, and, though rare, also the second person (see BDAG 5.b. 
s.v. AFIHMI). Certainly the second or third person cannot be considered 
as hortatory.

In light of the above, I think it best to view EKBALW TO KARFOS TO EN 
TWi OFQALMWi SOU as an object clause dependent on the imperative AFES 
and as expressing the content of the request. This is similar to 
constructions like that found in Luke 4.3, where we have EIPE TWi LIQWi 
TOUTWi hINA GENHTAI ARTOS, where hINA and the subjunctive GENHTAI are 
used in an object clause dependent on the imperative EIPE and express 
the content of the exhortation. Though hINA is not used in the 
construction we are discussing, I think the syntactic relationship is 
the same.

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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