Matthew 28:1 Interpretation

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at
Thu Jan 3 14:38:34 EST 2002

on 1/2/02 10:24 PM, Jonathan Owen wrote:

> Hi! I have a question about the interpretation of Matthew 28:1a. The
> phrase "opse de sabbaton" is a bit difficult for me to understand what is
> going on in the Greek. We have an adverb (opse) along with a plural
> genitive (de sabbaton).
> BAGD takes opse as an "improper preposition" with the genitive, so the
> interpretation would be "after the Sabbath." In a later discussion one
> fellow said the phrase should be interpreted quite literally into "latter
> of the Sabbaths." When I pointed out BAGD's use of opse, he said
> Blass/Debrunner (and Thayer too I believe) interpreted opse as "latter" or
> "later," as well as used the plural "Sabbaths." However I don't have
> access to Blass/Debrunner or Thayer. What are the possible interpretation
> options for Matt 28:1? Also,is the "literal latter" interpretation
> considered a valid option by either references or your opinion?


Carlton and George have given useful readings on parts of this question. I
will add that Thayer, while agreeing adamantly with Carlton about Mt 28:1,
also states later that: "OYE followed by a genitive seems always  to be
partitative, denoting late in the period specified by the genitive (and
consequently still belonging to it) . . . ."

Two noteworthy 19th century guys H.A.W. Meyer and H. Alford are strongly in
favor of limiting OYE with the genitive to "late in the period specified by
the genitive." They solve the problem in Mt. 28:1 by reckoning the day
according to the Roman(?) system where it begins at sunrise.

Another 19th century guy, Alfred Schmoller in his Handkonkordanz renders OYE
in Mt. 28:1 as vespere. Agreeing it appears with Alford and Meyer.

CDF Moule (Idiom Book, p.86) waffels on this question. A.T. Robertson has a
good discussion (p. 645-6) where he claims that there are examples of OYE
with genitive meaning "after . . " in Philostratus (3rd cent. AD). Danker
gives other citations supporting this use.

L. Morris (Matt, Pillar) has a significant footnote on this question. He
thinks that Matt. would most probably have reckoned the days according to
the Jewish system and that the context strongly suggests the the sense
"after . . .  . " 

I find myself leaning towards Morris' solution but am left wondering why
Meyer, Alford and Schmoller didn't know about  Philostratus, etc.. Perhaps
they weren't impressed by 3rd cent. data. I haven't looked at all of
Danker's references, some of them are probably earlier than Philostratus.

Anyway, a diversion from my study of 1Enoch which is considered too obscure
to merit discussion by most people.

greetings, Clay

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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