THE USE OF THE OPTATIVE IN LUKE-ACTS: GRAMMATICAL CLASSIFICATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR TRANSLATION

Gerhard P V Du Plooy

Abstract


In view of the restricted use of the optative since the time of Homer and especially in the New Testament (68 occurrences in all), the article addresses the question: What is the central, most elementary feature of qualification by which the optative can be characterised? After discussing the various issues related to this question, a short classification of the optative in the New Testament as a whole is offered. It appears that it is impossible to give on definition of the optative that would work in every instance. Each example should therefore, be considered on its own merit and in its own context. As a general rule, however, it can be said that the optative is more concerned with qualitative time (type of action) than quantitative time. The latter can only be determined by the context and in conjunction with another verb. In terms of these guidelines, every example of the optative in Luke-Acts is subsequently analysed in more detail and the implications for the translation of the various sections are pointed out.

Keywords


Optative; Homer; New Testament; Qualitative time; Luke-Acts

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/19-0-1934

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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