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

Albert & Julia Haig albert_and_julia at yahoo.com.au
Sun Apr 16 10:05:46 EDT 2006


> [RB] In the example DE would signal a change of subject/topic.

Thanks for this, Randall. I think I'm coming to understand the point at issue. Briefly, here are three relevant examples of the use of DE in Matthew. There doesn't seem to be any change of subject/topic in any of these cases except for the shift in speaker/actor (i.e. person(s) A say something, and then person(s) B reply). Is this enough to constitute a shift in terms of the use of DE?

Mt. 2:4-5 KAI SUNAGAGWN PANTAS TOUS ARCIEREIS KAI GRAMMATEIS TOU LAOU EPUNQANETO PAR AUTWN POU hO CRISTOS GENNATAI. hOI DE EIPAN AUTWi, EN BHQLEEM THS IOUDAIAS ...

Mt.4:19-20 KAI LEGEI AUTOIS DEUTE OPISW MOU, KAI POIHSW hUMAS hALIEIS ANQRWPWN. hOI DE EUQEWS AFENTES TA DIKTUA HKOLOUQHSAN AUTWi.

Mt. 14:16-17 hO DE EIPEN AUTOIS OU CREIAN ECOUSIN APELQEIN, DOTE AUTOIS hUMEIS FAGEIN. hOI DE LEGOUSIN AUTWi OUK ECOMEN hWDE EI MH PENTE ARTOUS KAI DUO ICQUAS.

> [RB] Just the opposite, the LXX choose KAI as its conjunction to match vav, since both KAI and VAV could be used to join nouns together as well as clauses. It takes extra energy for someone to add DE to a text when the default was KAI. That means that they do it for a reason.

This seems to be generally true but not always. Looking through Genesis, I came upon 2:6:

LXX: PHGH DE ANEBAINEN EK THS GHS KAI EPOTIZEN ...

Heb: ve'ed ya`aleh min-ha'aretz vehishqah ...

In one case vav is translated as DE, and in the other as KAI. Presumably the translators thought that vav was used to shift the topic in the first case but not the second? If so, then the semantic range of vav in Hebrew seems to encompass both meanings. If this is true, it would seem possible that a native Hebrew speaker writing in Greek might confuse the meanings or not appreciate the distinction (since the distinction is lacking in Hebrew). Indeed, isn't this what I've done because I'm a native English speaker, in which language the distinction is also lacking?

> [RB] So how would Greeks have heard Mt 28:17? OI DE 'and others' DE marks a change and OI means a different group.

OK, I see the point now. So is it impossible that the DE marks a change of topic from faith to doubt? Why?

The other thing that is puzzling about Mt. 28:17, compared to the other examples, is that the preceding context presents only two actors. The actors are "Jesus" and "the eleven disciples". I can understand the use of DE to alternate between previously established actors (whether groups or individuals) in the context. But it seems strange to use it to introduce a new group of actors by means of a pronoun without specifying who they are. It is even stranger when the new group is a sub-group of one of the established groups, and not a distinct group. In this respect, Mt. 28:17 is not even analagous to 26:67, where the group which is introduced by means of a pronoun and DE is at least arguably distinct from the preceding group.

But, OK, I'm convinced, it should read "but some doubted". Mea culpa, mea culpa. Though this use, in which a pronoun and DE are used to introduce an otherwise unspecified and elsewhere unmentioned group, does seem to be rare.

> [EK] Are we confusing Matthew with Dostoevsky?

Is that worse than confusing him with Athanasius, or Augustine, or Calvin? Seems to me a common human frailty.

All the best,

Albert.


Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com 


More information about the B-Greek mailing list