THE OPTATIVE MOOD
174. The Optative Mood is much less frequent in the New Testament, and in Hellenistic writers generally, than in classical Greek. Cf. Harmon, The Optative Mood in Hellenistic Greek, in J.B.L. Dec. 1886.
It is mainly confined to four uses, two of which are in principal clauses.
175. The Optative of Wishing. The Optative is used without a;n to express a wish. HA. 870; G. 1507.1 Pet. 1:2; ca,rij u`mi/n kai. eivrh,nh plhqunqei,h, grace to you and peace be multiplied.176. The Optative of Wishing occurs thirty-five times in the New Testament: Mark 11:14; Luke 1:38; 20:16; Acts 8:20; Rom. 3:4; 3:6; 3:31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; 15:5, 13; 1 Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14; 1 Thess. 3:11, 12; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:17; 3:5, 16; 2 Tim.1:16, 18; Philem. 20; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:2; always, except Philem. 20, in the third person singular. It most frequently expresses a prayer. Mark 11:14 and Acts 8:20 are peculiar in being imprecations of evil.
2 Thess. 3:16; auvto.j de. o` ku,rioj th/j eivrh,nhj dw,|h u`mi/n th.n eivrh,nhn, now the Lord of peace himself give you peace.
177. The phrase mh. ge,noito is an Optative of Wishing which strongly deprecates something suggested by a previous question or assertion. Fourteen of the fifteen New Testament instances are in Paul’s writings, and in twelve of these it expresses the apostle’s abhorrence of an inference which he fears may be (falsely) drawn from his argument. Cf. Mey. on Rom. 3:4, and Ltft. on Gal. 2:17. On Gal. 6:14 cf. 1 Macc. 9:10.
178. The Potential Optative. The Optative with is used to express what would happen on the fulfilment of some supposed condition. It is thus an apodosis correlative to a protasis expressed or implied. It is usually to be translated by the English Potential. HA. 872; G. 1327 ff.Acts 8:31; pw/j ga.r a'n dunai,mhn eva.n mh, tij o`dhgh,sei me, how should I be able unless some one shall guide me?179. The Optative with a;n occurs in the New Testament only in Luke’s writings: Luke *1:62; *6:11; *9:46; [*15:26; 18:36]; Acts *5:24; †8:31, *10:17; †17:18; [26:29]. Of these instances the six marked with * are in indirect questions; the two marked with † are in direct questions; those in brackets are of doubtful text ; others still more doubtful might be added. In only one instance (Acts 8:31) is the condition expressed.
Acts 17:18; ti, a'n qe,loi o` spermolo,goj ou-toj le,gein, what would this babbler wish to say?