[B-Greek] Mark 16:18 AROUSIN

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Feb 4 09:54:17 EST 2003

> Forwarded for Harry Jones:
> From: "Harry  W. Jones" <hwjones2 at earthlink.net>
> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 02:17:57 -0800
> Hello All,
> My question concerns KAI EN TAIS CERSIN OFEIS AROUSIN.
> I have noticed that some translations have AROUSIN translated as *handle*
> and I am wondering if that could an accurate gloss of this word?

According to my little English dictionary, handle has two senses:
1) feel with or move by the hands
2) to deal with or control

I would think that sense 1 is OK for Mark 16:18, but sense 2 is
If one understands "handle" here as a habitual controlling or handling, I
would prefer to just use the more common gloss for AIRW, that is, "pick up"
as NIV has it. Based on the following context of drinking poison, it seems
to me that the picking up of snakes is either unintentional as Paul
experienced on Malta or at least not a normal or habitual event. Normally,
if one had to move a snake, one would use a long stick, so I suppose the
"hands" are meant to indicate an abnormal way of touching a snake. Both RSV
and TEV leave the hands implicit in "pick up", unless they have chosen to
translate without the textually disputed words "KAI EN TAIS CERSIN". It is
interesting to me how the TEV has moved the "if" forward to indicate the
assumed unintentionality: "if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they
will not be harmed".
REB does the same: "if they handle snakes or drink any deadly poison, they
will come to no harm." I think this is probably the intended meaning of the
future "they will pick up".

Iver Larsen

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