Re: Luke 2:14: en uyistois qew, en anqrwpois eudokias

Carl W. Conrad (
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 08:07:06 -0600

At 7:18 AM -0600 11/19/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>The Greek for this doesn't seem to match the Gideon Bible in my hotel room,
>which says "Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill
>toward men". My Greek text says:
>Luke 2:14 (GNT) doksa en uyistois qew kai epi ghs eirhnh en anqrwpois
>I translate this as "Glory be to the most high God, and peace to men of good
>will". Am I missing something here? I don't know what other translations
>say; my laptop doesn't have an internal CD-ROM, and the external is too big
>to carry, so I trust the Gideons to supply me with an English Bible in the
>hotel room.

The reading EUDOKIAS has the best MS support and has been accepted in
recent versions of the GNT (although perhaps not in the so-called "Majority
Text" which follows the Textus Receptus pretty closely). I won't cite the
MSS in the apparatus which anyone can check, but Metzger's note, which is
very illuminating, says about this.

"The genitive case, which is the more difficult reading, is
supported by the oldest representatives of the Alexandrian and the Western
group of witnesses. The rise of the nominative reading can be explained
either as an amelioration of the sense or as a palaeographical oversight
(at the end of a line EUDOKIAS would differ from EUDOKIA only by the
presence of the smallest possible lunar sigma, little more than a point,
for which it might have been taken ...
"The meaning seems to be, not that divine peace can be bestowed
only where human good will is already present, but that at the birth of the
Saviour God's peace rests on those whom he has chosen in accord with his
good pleasure. Prior argued that 'men of [God's] good pleasure' is an
unusual, if not impossible, expression in Hebrew. Now, however, that
equivalent expressions have turned up in Hebrew in several Qumran Hymns
('the sons of his [Gods] good pleasure,' 1 QH iv.32f.; xi.9; and 'the elect
of his [God's] good pleasure,' viii.6) it can be regarded as a genuinely
Semitic construction in a section of Luke (chaps 1 and 2) characterized by
Semitizing constructions."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR