Fri, 02 Aug 1996 12:36:32 +1000

Dear friends
On the question of whether to place the comma to the left or to the right
of 'today' in Luke 23:43, I have a good quality French translation (TOB)
which some of you might know, which places the comma both to the left and
to the right: "je te le dis, aujourd'hui, (it's in the middle too!) tu
seras avec moi dans le paradis." I really amounts to placing the comma to
the right of or after 'today'. However, there seem to be but few trans-
lations which favor this rendering, for whatever that implies.

>From my point of view, as I read the Greek passage under consideration, there
would seem to be a couple of additional questions which might need to be
sorted through if we are to come to any sort of reliable decision on what
Jesus might have meant by these words. One is whether Jesus would have gone
to the park or garden that day (se Xenophon's Anabasis re Cyrus, for example,
for the use of the term in this sense--and probably the more correct sense).
The other question I have--and here someone might be able to help me--is
whether the thief would have died on that day. I fully realize that the
answers to these questions one way or another do not necessarily bring any
conclusive evidence with regard to the problem of the placement of the comma,
but I do think they would somewhat influence our understaning of the offerr
by Jesus to the thief and, not the least, of the Greek text itself.

I have followed the discussion carefully and with interest and it seems to me ththat there is good Greek syntactical evidence for either point of view. At
the same time I would see the evidence presented--and from my own study and
research of the same--as weighing on the side of placing the comma after
'today' -- or on both sides of it! That's just how I--and others--see it.
Of course, I respect the other point of view.

I guess I also come at it somewhat from being influenced by Gerhard von Rad's
brilliant research--and other German scholars along with him--into the Hebrew
thinking on death and the personality. In fact, I wrote an MA paper on this
when I was in Michigan. There can be no doubt tt von Rad influences my
thinking with regard to this Lukan passage. At the same time it is obviously
difficult to read Greek in a vacuum.

I have to say that I like the French translation quoted abovefor I consider that it well reflects the Hebrew--or Aramaic--thinking of the time. I would be
most interested in your comments and evidences--pro or contra--with respect
to what I have but briefly portrayed and addressed.

John Oaklands