Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sun Oct 25 19:11:15 EDT 2009

On Oct 25, 2009, at 5:56 PM, John Wilking wrote:

> I'm trying to get a handle on the semantics of PROELABEN MURISAI  in  
> Mk 14:8.
> BDAG under PROLAMBANW refers to BDF 392,2 which seems to reduce  
> PROELABEN to the function of an adverb "beforehand."  But BDAG 1b  
> provides another sense: "undertake", and provides the example  
> PROELABON PARAKALEIN hUMAS from IEph 3:2 (I don't have access to  
> this for context).
> Is there a problem with seeing "undertake" as a possible sense?

A closer look at the evidence for this verb make it clear that BDAG  
has it right. It is also clear that LSJ is in this instance as in many  
as important to probe usage of words in teh GNT as is BDAG.

Actually BDAG 1b makes perfectly clear that the PRO- element is still  
significant here:

	b. w. temporal force of προ [PRO] still felt take it upon oneself,  
undertake (in the sense ‘anticipate mentally’ in Polyb. and Plut.;  
EpArist 206; w. inf. foll. Hippocr., Ep. 27, 41) προέλαβον  
παρακαλεῖν ὑμᾶς [PROELABON PARAKALEIN hUMAS] IEph 3:2.

And what BDF 392,2 actually says is that PROLAMBANW in Mk 14:8 is a  
usage that is comparable to classical Greek FQANW (a verb that always  
gives English-speakers something of a headache inasmuch as it means  
"do X in advance of someone" but construes as "anticipate someone +  
infinitive). BDF refers to this in a section that makes it look like a  
Semitism, but it clearly is not one, as reference to LSJ makes clear;  
it is in fact used very much like FQANW and is well attested in older  
as well later Greek. Here's LSJ  (Note: I won't endeavor to  
transliterate these instances; it is clear where our passage PROELABEN  
MURISAI comes in:

προλαμβάνω [PROLAMBANW]
to be beforehand with, anticipate,
c. acc. pers., get the start of, τὰς κύνας X.Cyn.5.19, v.  
infr. 3; π. τῷ λόγῳ τινάς D.Prooem. 29; βραχὺν  
χρόνον π. ἡμᾶς, i.e. in dying, Plu.2.117e; π. τῇ  
ῥιζώσει τοὺς χειμῶνας Thphr. HP8.1.3, cf.  
CP3.24.3: c. gen. pers., προλαβών μου ὥστε  
πρότερος λέγειν D.45.6; ἵνα μὴ - 
λημφθῶμεν (i.e. by death) Diog.Oen.2.
c. acc. rei, π. γόους, μαντεύματα, E.Hel.339 (lyr.),  
Ion407; τὸν καιρόν Plb.9.14.12, cf. Plu.Cam.34, etc.; τὸν  
ὄρθρον Luc.Am.15; of mental anticipation, π. ὡς οὕτως  
ἔχον πρὶν γινόμενον οὕτως ἰδεῖν Arist.  
GA765a28; τὰ συμβησόμενα ταῖς ἐννοίαις Plb. 
3.112.7, cf. 3.1.7; τὰ πολλὰ εἰκασίᾳ Luc.Am.8; π.  
ὅτι . . Plu.2.102e, etc.
c. gen. spatii, π. τῆς ὁδοῦ get a start on the way, Hdt. 
3.105; πολὺ τῆς ὁδοῦ π. Polyaen.7.29.2 (but just above,  
π. ὡς πλείστην ὁδὸν τοὺς διώξοντας);  
π. ῥᾳδίως τῆς φυγῆς Th.4.33; π. τῆς  
διώξεως get a start of the pursuers, D.S.16.94: metaph.,  
μύθου προλαβοῦσα speaking first, Philicus in Stud.Ital. 
9.44, cf. 46.
generally, π. τῶν κηρύκων anticipate them, Arist.Rh. 
1408b24; τοῦ χρόνου π. precede in point of time, Id.Metaph. 
c. dat. modi, π. τῷ δρόμῳ get a start in running, X.Cyn.7.7;  
τῇ διανοίᾳ Arist.Fr.660; τῇ φυγῇ Plu.Alex.20, Cic.47.
c. inf., προέλαβε μυρίσαι Ev.Marc. 14.8.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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