Dead/not dead?

From: John M. Moe (
Date: Tue Jun 24 1997 - 13:41:03 EDT

In all three synoptic accounts of the raising of Jairus' daughter,
Matt. 9:24, Mark 5:40, and Luke 8:52 we have the aorist OUK APEQANEN
followed by the present ALLA KAQEUDEI. The natural understanding of
this seems to me to be something like "she's not dead (or didn't die)
but she's sleeping." Commentaries seem to be eager to maintain this as
an account of a resuscitation from death such as the raising of the Son
of the Widow of Nain, or the Raising of Lazarus. They are quick to
point to the Biblical circumlocution "sleep" meaning death. However,
here Jesus not only says she sleeps (KAQEUDEI) He says she did not die
        Jesus uses the Sleep=death Circumlocution At John 11 when he tells the
disciples of the death of Lazarus. When they fail to understand and say
that Lazarus will be ok if he is sleeping Jesus told them plainly that
Lazarus died (APEQANEN John 11:14). With the daughter of Jairus he says
        My question is this. Is there anyting in the Gr. text that would
require a figurative intrupritation of the words of Jesus? Couldn't it
be that this is not an accout of resuscitation from death, but from a
         This is not to diminish the miraculas, surely, raising someone from a
coma (the current "brain death?") so that they get up and walk around is
a miracle. I do'nt want to start that type of off topic discussion.
I'm merely trying to get at the most natural understanding of the Gr.


John M. Moe

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