Related: - In Luke 22:16: Does the Syntax Indicate if Jesus Was not Going to Eat THAT Passover?

1. Question:

In Mark 14 and Luke 22, how should "Prepare" and "Eat" be translated from the Aorist Subjunctive into English, especially the Negative Aorist Subjunctive?

What would be a consistent way to to piece together a literal translation from the Aorist Subjunctive - into English.

2. The Texts:

Mark 14:12, Luke 22:9 - Ποῦ θέλεις, (Present Tense) ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν, (Aorist / Subjunctive) ἵνα φάγῃς, (Aorist / Subjunctive) τὸ πάσχα;

Problematic Translation(??): - Where do you want - to have been going - to have been possibly preparing - to have been possibly eating, - the Passover?

How Should the Triple Negative Subjunctive be Translated?

Luke 22:16 - οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ φάγω ἐξ αὐτοῦ

Problematic Translation(??) - No longer, no i cannot eat of it.

  • Does the triple negation imply emphasis?

  • Does the Negation just reverse the Subjunctivity, (i.e., "it is not uncertain")?

  • If it is emphatic, is it emphatic uncertainty? Or, does it move it from Subjunctive to Certainty?

1 Answer 1

  1. The second of the two subjunctive verbs in Mark 14:12 is unproblematic: in classical and post-classical Greek the conjunction ἵνα is always followed by a verb in the subjunctive mode if the verb in the principal clause is in the present tense (as it is here). This is simply a rule of Greek grammar.

    The first of the two subjunctives is slightly more interesting: the verb θέλω is usually followed by an infinitive (just like English "I want to go"), but it can also govern a subordinate verb in the subjunctive (in effect: "I desire that I might go"); a classical example is Soph. El. 80: ϑέλεις μείνωμεν αὐτοῠ κἀνακούσωμεν γόνων.

    In both instances there is no hidden agenda, no need to read between the lines. This is the way that Greek works.

    For a literal translation you could say: “Where do you want that we, departing, might make preparations so that you might eat the Pascha.”

  2. οὐ μὴ can be followed either by the aorist subjunctive (as it is here), or by the future indicative. It is an idiomatic expression for “certainly not”. So here we have simply: “I certainly do not eat”. Again, this is an established idiom already in classical Greek.

  • - fdb - Thank you: and I am very sorry for not including the references to Luke - which is the core issue: A.) Are you saying that the Greek Syntax rules render the subjunctive meaningless - if it follows ἵνα? B.) What about in Luke 22:16, where ἵνα isn't used - and φάγω seems to sit in a negative subjunctive construction? C.) Could you help with a literal translation for Luke 22:16 as well? D.) Is it correct that "Might" is the subjunctive element? And if so, should it be added if ἵνα negates the "subjunctivity"? Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 12:11
  • It is not meaningless, it is modal. It indicates something that has not yet happened.
    – fdb
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 12:13
  • - fdb, A.) I updated the question - to emphasize the issue with the "Negative Subjunctivity"; B.) Would you mind adding a reference to the grammatical rules you are relying on? C.) Thank you again. Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 23:18
  • Thanks - It wasn't the intended to be separate questions; A.) You have made two claims though - could you add references? Specifically, for the idiomatic claim that you are making; B.) Wouldn't "I certainly do not fear to eat" be the exact opposite of "I will not eat" ? C.) Because it is the opposite of every translation - I feel the burden of proof is a little higher, (which is why I am hoping for grammatical references, or examples of it used as an idiom in other Greek texts; D.) With references, they would certainly be the answer; Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 19:27
  • Sorry, "fear" was a mistake for "eat" (now corrected). Very literally it means "I do not (fear) lest I eat", a verb of fearing being implied, but not expressed. You can find this is any good Greek grammar; I checked it in my old copy of Kaegi/Bornemann, paragraph 174 B 2.
    – fdb
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:46

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