[B-Greek] Matthew 24:30 - The sign of the Son of Man in heaven

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Sep 9 05:58:43 EDT 2007


On Sep 8, 2007, at 10:46 PM, Jerry Austin Reimer wrote:

> Greek is ambiguous. The son or the sign can be in heaven as far as  
> the Greek
> construction is concerned. If it is apposition (the son is the  
> sign) then
> both are one and the issue is resolved. However, there is no mark for
> apposition so that would be a judgment call just as is the case  
> with the two
> versions (ESV and KJV) you mention. KJV has opted for Greek word  
> order thus
> conveying the ambiguity in the Greek text. The ESV has decided that  
> the
> prepositonal phrase modifies sign rather than son. Modification  
> decisions
> are often translator opinions according to understanding and  
> preference.
> Subjectivity cannot be avoided. Maybe primacy of position  
> (prepostional
> phrase comes after man) should prevail here but if this is simply  
> standard
> Greek word order and no decisive significance should be assigned to  
> word
> order then position would not disambiguate the situation.  
> Translation is
> decision; the impossible art.
>
> Jerry Reimer
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Calvin  
> Lindstrom
> Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:02 PM
> To: B-Greek
> Subject: [B-Greek] Matthew 24:30 - The sign of the Son of Man in  
> heaven
>
>
> The first part of Matthew 24:30 reads:
>
> KAI TOTE FANHiSETAI TO SHMEION TOU UIOU TOU ANQRWPOU EN TWi OURANWi

There's no iota subscript in FANHSETAI.

> Two English translations:
> ESV: Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man
> KJV: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven
>
> My question is this. Could the Greek be understood as meaning that
> the sign that will appear is that the Son of Man is in heaven or is a
> translation like the ESV's the proper way of understanding the Greek.
> Could it be ambiguous?
>
> Calvin Lindstrom

I think that any ambiguity lies more in the word-order of the English  
translations than in the Greek text's formulation. Although Koine is  
not as strict about this as Classical Attic, (a) one would expected  
EN TWi OURANWi as an adverbial phrase to construe with the verb  
FANHSETAI and indicate WHERE the sign will appear, or (b) if EN TWi  
OURANWi is intended to be attributive to TOU hUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU, one  
would expect that attributive status to be indicated by an additional  
article in agreement with the noun with which it is to be construed,  
i.e. TO SHMEION TOU hUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU TOU EN TWi OURANWi.

Compare the usage in
Mt 5:45 hOPWS GENHSESQE hUIOI TOU PATROS hUMWN TOU EN OURANOIS
Mt 6;1 MISQON OUC ECETE PARA TWi PATRI hUMWN TWi EN TOIS OURANOIS
Mt 6:5 PATER hHMWN hO EN TOIS OURANOIS

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Ret)




More information about the B-Greek mailing list