Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Apodotic kai and the Lucan Use of Hebrew Sources

A number of scholars have investigated the writings of Luke in an attempt to ascertain whether Luke imitated the Septuagint. Recently I wondered whether or not there were any published studies of common word usage such as kai. My preliminary search located a 1982 article published in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament by Fr. Wm. Most, bearing the title, “Did St. Luke Imitate the Septuagint”?

Most noticed that Luke “uses a very odd Semitic structure that in no case at all is found in the parallel passages in Mark. It is the apodotic kai. Here is an example, from Lk 5:1: ‘And it happened, when the crowd pressed on Him to hear the word of God, and He stood by the lake of Gennesaret.’ The and does not fit in English, Latin, Greek or even Aramaic. But it is common in Hebrew.”

Most concluded that Luke used “Hebrew documents in a slavish fashion, i.e., he brought a Hebrew structure into Greek, where it does not belong. The fact that Luke uses this structure only from 20 to 25% of the time he would have used it if he were translating an all Hebrew document, shows he was using Hebrew only at points. At other points, he writes a good quality of Greek.”

Most has identified seventeen examples of the apodotic kai used by Luke in his gospel only one of which is discussed in detail in his article. I plan to review the other sixteen examples and comment further on this Lucan phenomenon.

Copyrighted 2006


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