Re: Which was in the east?
David L. Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 15:16:46 -0500
At 05:57 PM 12/23/96 -0000, Vincent Broman wrote:
>About this time of year, astronomers always write up their speculations
>about the star of Bethlehem. In describing the candidate events
>that might have been referred to by Matthew, some events are described
>as being visible in the east before dawn, others in the west after sunset.
>This brings up a question on which the greek language has a bearing.
>In these citations,
>Mt 2:2 EIDOMEN GAR AUTOU TON ASTERA EN TH ANATOLH KAI HLQOMEN PROSKUNHSAI AUTW
>Mt 2:9 O ASTHR ON EIDON EN TH ANATOLH PROHGEN AUTOUS
>which interpretation was intended:
> A. the magi looked eastward to see the star, or
> B. the magi were located east of Jerusalem when they saw the star?
>Choice A is much more natural on first reading the verses and is
>the interpretation found in many Christmas songs. The problem is that
>verse 1 says IDOU MAGOI APO ANATOLWN PAREGENONTO EIS IEROSOLUMA.
>This means that they traveled westward to Jerusalem.
>And although the PROHGEN AUTOUS refers to their travel after the
>interview with Herod, not necessarily before, still it seems natural
>to suppose that this sky event occurred on the Jerusalem-side
>of whatever location they started their journey at.
>Of course, I realize that natural _astronomical_ events do not move
>in the fashion required by verse 9, but I still wonder whether
>Greek Grammar permits both the A and B interpretations equally well.
There may be another possiblity that you are not considering. That
is, EN THi ANATOLHi of vv. 2 and 9 may mean "in its rising" or "in
ascendance." The use of the plural of ANATOLH for the direction east is
more common than the singular. We should notice that in v. 1, when the
place of origin of the Magi is being mentioned as background to the events
in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, we have the expression APO ANATOLWN as a
reference to the east. This phrase is definitely a reference to direction
and conforms to the more common usage of the plural of ANATOLH mentioned above.
David L. Moore Director
Miami, Florida, USA Department of Education
email@example.com Southeastern Spanish District
http://members.aol.com/dvdmoore of the Assemblies of God