[B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios and Mark 2:19

Dr. Don Wilkins drdwilkins at verizon.net
Fri Apr 30 16:38:09 EDT 2010

On Apr 30, 2010, at 9:48 AM, Randall Buth wrote:

>> "wedding guests" is too inclusive. But the phrase οἱ υἱοὶ  
>> τοῦ νυμφῶνος
> (lit., “the sons of the wedding hall” or “sons of the bridal  
> chamber”) has been
> translated by some scholars as “the wedding guests” and by  
> others as
> “the groomsmen.”>
> SHouldn't one engage the original culture?
> Yes.
> Was the idiom 'sons of the bridechamber' a Jewish idiom?
> Yes.
> What was it?
> bne-Huppa
> What did it mean?
>    attendees at a wedding, the wedding guests.
> not the 'best men', for which a different word existed 'shoshbin'.
> nor the offspring of the couple, (that would have caused a serious  
> reduction in
> bridal price, at least half price)
> but
> the wedding attendees.
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

Note that I did not venture to define the term "sons of the bridal- 
chamber" (the lit note), I just said that "wedding guests" is too  
inclusive. I could also have called it vague.

It is true that the term is often translated "wedding guests" in  
English, but so is the Hebrew term "mesubin," which refers to the  
ordinary guests. Shoshbin is the best man (or friend/agent of the  
bride), not the "best men." "Best man" is attested in tractate  
Sanhedrin 27b and elsewhere. There is also a story in the Midrash on  
Numbers (xviii.12) that a guest cursed the Shoshbin of a king's  
daughter, claiming that she was not a virgin. The Shoshbin had  
evidence of the girl's virginity at hand and replied as the  
accusation deserved. Shoshbinim (plural) were companions of the  
groom, to whom they brought wedding gifts (shoshbinuth). So the  
singular Shoshbin has special significance.

As for Bne haHuppa (the term in question), Jacob Mann in HUCA 1 p.  
355, commenting on the term in Sukkah 25b where it is rendered  
typically as "wedding guests," states: "Lit., ‘the sons of the  
bridal-chamber’, denoting more strictly the friends of the  
bridegroom who prepared for him the bridal-chamber and attended on  
him at the wedding."

So one almost needs a program to keep the cast of characters  
straight. For those who don't especially care, "wedding guests" may  
be adequate for Bne haHuppa, but for others who want more than a  
simplification of the scenario, a lit note not only "covers sins,"  
but can serve as a vector to further study.

Don Wilkins

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