From: Mark ARMSTRONG (
Date: Tue Sep 03 1996 - 21:17:58 EDT

Brian Wilson asks:

> Has anyone any thoughts, please, on ANABLEPSAS, in Mark 8.24 ?
> Does it here mean, "he regained his sight", or "he looked up" ?
> It seems to me that whether the cure took one, or two, stages, may hinge on

The argument for either translation must be from context. I think the
translation that suits the natural flow of the pericope is "he looked up"
because the full regaining of sight comes in verse 25b with the aorist
DIABLEPSEN, which translates "seeing clearly" or "having one's eyes come into
focus". This favours a two-stage healing with verse 24 being the delimiter
between first and second stages. The broader context also seems to support
this. In Mk 8:11-12, the Pharisees display a remarkable absence of spiritual
vision over the feeding of the four thousand - they look but do not see
properly. This lack of vision is also displayed by the disciples in verses
14-21. So Jesus takes the opportunity with the blind man to illustrate their
lack of "vision" in verses 22-26, before healing the man properly.

If we were to translate the participle ANABLEPSAS as "he regained his sight" I
really don't think it alters the above reasoning, simply because the blind man
does regain sight, albeit flawed. However, this rendering tends to move the
climax of the pericope prematurely back into the account. He doesn't really
regain his sight until his vision is cleared of people looking like trees!

I would therefore suggest that ANABLEPSAS in Mark 8:24 be translated as an
aorist participle and ELEGEN as an inceptive imperfect. Hence, "When (or
after) looking up, he began to say..........". This translation may be a
little wooden, but draws out the significance of the Greek construction. The
NIV has a suitable translation.

Hope this helps (my first humble contribution to b-greek).

(Pastor) Mark Armstrong Assoc. Dip. D.M., B.E., Th.L. (hons), B.Th. (hons)
Hay, NSW, Australia.

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