re: Questions on EIS

From: Mike Phillips (
Date: Fri Jul 26 1996 - 15:02:05 EDT

        Luke's rendition occurs in a collection of sayings; Only Mark provides
us with any context (Mk 3:20-30). I read Mark as suggesting that anyone can
say bad things about Jesus, but to say that the works Jesus did were the works
of Beelzebub (or by means of Beelzebub) is an offense against the God working
God's own works in Jesus. See v. 30, he said this because they were saying,
"He has an evil spirit."
        Given the context, I would suggest the EIS as being hostile (against)
because the contrast is being drawn between (to put it in a neighborhood lingo)
knocking Jesus personally (no problem per Jesus) and knocking the God working
in Jesus, i.e., the Holy Spirit of God (not sure we should distinguish this as
a trinitarian element at this juncture) doing God's works in Jesus. You have
to read Luke 11:14-23 to find the same pericope as Mark uses, but Luke uses a
different saying here, i.e., vs. 23, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and
whoever does not gather with me scatters." Nothing here about offenses against
Jesus or God (comes later in an unrelated way in Luke 12:10 as noted).
        This is an interesting example of the "quilting" patterns of sayings
being "stitched" into the gospel narratives by their various authors in order
to interpret events at the same time they relate them (or allude to them).
Stephen Carlson has already said both authors are presumed by some to draw upon
Q sayings in constructing their varied accounts. At any rate, I don't think I
can say any more without getting into conjecture -- which, by the way, is how I
read your interpretation, i.e., how important is it for you that Jesus be
saying "a person is saved by confessing the name of Christ?" Please, this is a
rhetorical question, only asked to cause reflection (I don't presume to be able
to answer this for you, but I do admit to considering this as a factor in
reading your offering -- and I don't mean by stating this to throw a blanket
value judgment over its worth). The context seems to dictate a comparison
(elipsis of thought, if you will) as I have attempted to interpret.
        Your mileage may vary.

        Grace and peace,

Mike Phillips
Hebrew Union College - JIR

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging;
it is the skin of living thought and changes from day to day
as does the air around us. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes.

> From: Leo Percer <>, on 7/26/96 9:03 AM:
> My thanks to David Moore and Carlton Winbery for pointing me to the proper
> lexical versions of EIS as "against." I admit that in my cursory glance
> at BAGD I missed the section David pointed out. After looking a second
> time, I have one further question. Does EIS obtain the hostile sense
> primarily from the verb used with it? In other words, is it the hostile
> nature of the verb "blaspheme" that causes the EIS to carry the meaning
> of against, or is there some other explanation? If it is the verb that
> determines the friendly or hostile sense of EIS, then how does that
> effect the reading of our current passage of discussion, Luke 12:10?
> It certainly seems to me that "speaking a word" (EREI LOGON) is not
> necessarily hostile and may require a friendly interpretation (i.e.,
> "speaking a word for the son of man"), which I think is how the original
> poster on this thread read the passage. Any suggestions?
> Regards,
> Leo Percer
> Waco, TX

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