Luke 23:43 - LEGW SOI SHMERON, (comma)
WesWilliams at usa.net
Wed Dec 22 01:08:13 EST 1999
You asked about the placement of the comma after SHMERON:
> Luke 23:43 "KAI EIPEN AUTW AMHN SOI LEGO, SHMERON MET EMOU ESH EN TW =
> Yet, another translation that I once stumbled upon placed the "comma" =
> after SHMERON which then gives a time of the statement and leaves the =
> evild doer's enjoyment of paradise indefinite--just a future promise.
> My question is simple: "Does anyone have access to the oldest documents =
> to check this?"
> Has anyone researched this before? It seems that the simple placement =
> of the comma is very important. Does this translation have any merit in =
> deviating from the majority based on this understanding?
> Grant Polle
I believe that the translation does indeed have merit, not because of its
relation to any alleged majority position, which may or may not be an
arbiter of accuracy due to the influence of theology, but on its history. I
am not the author of the post I enclose, but I stored it from when this
subject was discussed some years ago.
For the punctuation marks in Luke 23:43, three possibilities have been
offered: to put a comma before the word "today," to put it after "today," or
to put a comma both before and after "today."--See "Understanding and
Translating 'Today' in Luke 23.43," by J. Hong, published in "The Bible
Translator," Vol. 46, 1995, pp. 408-417.
Early Greek manuscripts had no punctuation, but occasionally it is found in
some MSS, and this is the case here, where B (the Vatican 1209) has a lower
point ((hypostigme) after semeron. Regarding the punctuation used by this
MS, it was noted that in general "B has the higher point as a period, the
lower point for a shorter pause." (A. T. Robertson, "A Grammar of the Greek
New Testament," Nashville, 1934, p. 242) The ink of the uncial letters in
codex B was at one time a faded brown color, and in a later century a scribe
traced over many of the letters and punctuation marks.
However, in Luke 23:43 the ink of the lower point is the same as the letters
of the text, and thus it can be traced back to the fourth century C.E.The
Vatican 1209 uses punctuation marks also in other places. Thus, at Romans
9:5, ABCL and 26 cursives have a point after sarka. Does anybody know any MS
that displays some kind of punctuation in Luke 23:43, beside the Vatican
The Curetonian Syriac (fifth century C.E.) renders Luke 23:43: "Amen, I say
to thee to-day that with me thou shalt be in the Garden of Eden.'"--F. C.
Burkitt, "The Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels," Vol. I, Cambridge,
Below I am quoting from several Greek sources, in transliteration and
providing an English translation. I would appreciate if improvements would
be offered for the English renderings.
Tines men houtos anaginoskousin* _Amen lego soi semeron*_ kai hypostizousin*
eita epipherousin, hotiet' emou ese e to paradeiso._ ("Some indeed read this
way: 'Truly I tell you today,' and put a comma; then they add: 'You will be
with me in Paradise.'"--Hesychius of Jerusalem, an ecclessiastical writer
who died about 434 C.E. Greek text found in Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 93,
columns 432, 1433.
Alloi de ekbiazontai to rhema, stizontes eis to <<Semeron,>> hin' e to
legomenon toiouton* <<Amen ego soi semeron*>> eita to, <<met' emou ese en to
paradeiso,>> epipherontes. ("But others press upon the saying, putting a
punctuation mark after 'today,' so that it would be said this way: 'Truly I
tell you today'; and then they add the expression: 'You will be with me in
Paradise.'")--Theophylact, an ecclesiastical writer who died about 1112 C.E.
Edition: Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 123, column 1104.
alloi -- to rheton ekbiazontai* legousin gar dein hypostizontas
(254:hypostizantas) anaginoskein* amen lego soi semeron*>> eith' houtos
epipherein to* met' emou ese etc. ("Others press upon what is spoken; for
they say it must read by putting a comma thus: 'Truly I tell you today,' and
then adding the expression this way: 'You will be with me' etc.")--Scholia
237, 239, 254. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece, editio octava critica
maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869,under Luke 23:43.
kai eutys eipen moi hoti amen amen semeron lego soi, met' emou ese en to
parad[eiso]. ("And immediately he said to me: 'Most truly today I tell you,
You will be with me in Paradise.'")--Descent into Hades, an apocryphal
writing of the fourth century C.E. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece,
editio octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig,869, under
ho de eipen auto* semeron lego soi aletheian hina se ekho eis ton
parad[eison] met' emou. ("And he said to him: 'Today I tell you the truth,
that I should have you in Paradise with me.'")--Gospel of Nicodemus (=Acts
of Pilate)b287, an apocryphal writing of the fourth or fifth century C.E.
Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece, editio octava critica maior, by C.
Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869, under Luke 23:43.
Therefore, at least from the fourth century C.E. until well into the twelfth
century C.E. there were readers who understood the text at Luke 23:43 as
"Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise." On that very day,
when Jesus died, he was in Sheol or Hades, and not in Paradise. (Psalms
16:8-11; Acts 2:22-32) He was dead and in the tomb until the third day and
was then resurrected as "the firstfruits" of the resurrection. (Acts 10:40;
1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18) Thus, the word "today" at Luke 23:43
does not give the time of the evildoer's being with Jesus in Paradise.
The death of Jesus Christ on that day was a most important event in human
history. It opened to mankind the prospect of gaining everlasting life in
Paradise conditions. A few hours before on that very day, during a simple
ceremony, Jesus used wine and unleavened bread as symbols of his loving
human sacrifice; then he told his disciples: "Keep doing this in remembrance
of me." (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) It was only as a result of
Jesus' impending sacrificial death on that day that such promise to the
evildoer was possible.
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