[B-Greek] Matthew 28:17: hOI DE EDISTASAN

Mike Sangrey MSangrey at BlueFeltHat.org
Sat Apr 8 17:38:28 EDT 2006

On Sat, 2006-04-08 at 09:29 -0400, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> On Apr 8, 2006, at 8:03 AM, Albert & Julia Haig wrote:
> > Where are the translators getting the concept of "some" from? If  
> > the author of Matthew wanted to say "some", couldn't he have used  
> > TINES, as he does in 27:47 for instance? Are we just reluctant to  
> > admit that the disciples might have had their doubts, too?
> Sure, but the key element here is the DE with hOI, indicating a
> shift  
> of focus to another group or sub-group.

This appears to be essentially what Harold Holmyard says:

> DE is contrastive, and hOI can function as a demonstrative 
> pronoun implying "some." If Matthew had wanted to say that everybody 
> doubted who worshipped, he could have left out the hOI.

According to Stephen Levinsohn, DE in a narrative always adds something
DISTINCTIVE.  Something 'distinctive' easily implies that sometimes it
will be contrastive; however, it need not be.  Now, I think there is
something contrastive going on here, but I think there is a better
reading than what has been presented so far.  And this reading is more
easily seen if we think in terms of a distinctive addition to the
narrative given so far.

The issue here is really that hOI, in a discourse, must point to
something sufficiently in the context in order for the reader to get the
connection.  We don't have that in this discourse.   One of the things
that an author uses to develop a narrative in the GNT, is the
participants in the discourse.  There are plenty of times when the
participants are not named; that's true.  And TINES is appropriate in
those cases.  However, using hOI seems very odd to me to do that.  hOI
has to point to something.

So, I would lean toward what Albert is suggesting.  ISTM the referent of
hOI is the group considered as a group.  It wasn't as if there were
individuals within the group that were unbelieving.  It was more like
the group could be characterized as uncertain.  Perhaps they were
asking, "What does this REALLY mean?"  I'd lean toward translating
something along the lines of:  "But, these people were not certain."
Keep in mind that PROSKUNEW was more common then, than now.  That is,
our word 'worship' is not a perfect synonym to PROSKUNEW.  'Worship is
something we would do to ONLY a god, for example.  So, don't immediately
assume that if a person worships someone, he or she will not doubt also.
That's reading the modern definition of 'worship' back into the Greek
definition of PROSKUNEW.

Also, one of the things Levinsohn points out in his discussion of DE is
that it is not only introduces something distinctive, but, he says, DE
introduces something that furthers the development of the narrative.
So, the natural question to ask is, "Does this develop the narrative?
If one assumes a contrastive group or sub-group, then there is no
development.  It just hangs there as new information. Notice the
immediately following context is meant to encourage and assure the
disciples that the task they were about to embark on would not only be
accompanied by Jesus himself, but, that Jesus was given complete
authority to see that it is accomplished.  He was certain!  They were to
be certain, too.  I think that flows very nicely.

Mike Sangrey                               (msangrey AT BlueFeltHat.org)
Landisburg, Pa.
                        "The first one last wins."
            "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."

More information about the B-Greek mailing list