nick_lunn at wycliffe.org
Tue Oct 1 08:22:32 EDT 2002
(1) 'I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise'
(2) 'I say to you today, you shall be with me in paradise'
As the early Greek MSS had no punctuation either of these is permissible.
The question is: Does 'today' (SHMERON) begin the second clause or end the
first? Most English versions opt for the first of these two alternatives.
Here are a few considerations which make the second a viable option:
1. 'I X to you today' is a recognised Hebrew/Aramaic idiom, where X is a
verb of speech or declaration. The function of the idiom is to stress the
truth or the certainty of the affirmation that follows these words. The
word 'today' in this case is simply part of the formula and there is no
focus upon the particular day when it was spoken. This idiom is common in
Deuteronomy (e.g. 4:26; 8:19; 30:18), but also appears in other Old
Testament books (1 Sam 12:5; 1 Kgs 1:51). That this idiom was still in use
in New Testament times is shown by the fact that it is attested in certain
Palestinian Aramaic legal documents dating from the 1st century.
2. It is evident that Luke, though a Gentile, knew this idiom, as it occurs
in the book of Acts. In 20:26 the apostle Paul says, 'I testify to you this
day'. In this case the ambiguity of whether 'this day' belongs with what
precedes or follows is removed by the use of the complementizer HOTI, which
Luke places AFTER 'this day' in keeping with the Semitic idiom.
3. In the translation of Luke 23:43 in the Curetonian MS of the Old Syriac
Gospels the Syriac equivalent of HOTI is used - the particle /d/ 'that'.
And the translators, no doubt familiar with a Semitic idiom, placed this
particle AFTER 'today'.
4. The writings of Luke show a preference for adverbial SHMERON in the
final position. Altogether, according to my reckoning, there are 25
occurrences of adverbial SHMERON in the New Testament, in 14 it is initial,
in 11 it is final. And, significantly, of these 11, no less than 9 are in
Luke-Acts. Interestingly, in one synoptic parallel, where Matthew (6:30)
has 'today' + Participle, Luke's version (12:28) has Participle + 'today'.
There is a clear tendency on Luke's part to place this word at the end.
5. According to the teaching of the early church (based on 1 Pet 3:19),
after Christ died on the cross 'he descended into hell'. Equally, a case
could be made that it was to 'hades' that he in fact went (cf. Acts 2:27).
In either case it is not 'paradise'.
If 'today' is taken as clause-final, then the following clause begins with
MET'EMOU, 'with me'. This occupies the prominent preverbal position - 'WITH
ME you shall be in paradise'. This is appropriate as a response to the
request of the thief that Jesus remember him. (Then 'in paradise' would
correspond to 'when you come into your kingdom').
I am not here arguing for the second alternative above. I just present
certain facts for discussion.
Wycliffe Bible Translators
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: [b-greek] Re: Luke 23:43
Author: <kopio at attbi.com> at Internet
Date: 9/30/02 1:15 PM
Carl Conrad wrote;
I'd also note that there are some, perhaps many (myself included), who think
that SHMERON in Lk 23:43 belongs with AMHN SOI LEGW. Of course, this does
indeed run counter to Iver's assertion that there is no final-position
emphasis in Greek word-order, but that's one of the points on which we
continue to disagree.
I'm curious why you preffer SHMERON belonging with AMHN SOI LEGW instead of
met emou esh en tw paradeisw.
I can see that the syntax could really read either way. Can you explain to
me your grammatical/syntactical reasons for preffering the first reading?
Matthew T. Williams
kopio at attbi.com
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