From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Thu Oct 16 1997 - 13:39:55 EDT

On Thu, 16 Oct 1997 22:50:05 +1000 Ward Powers
<> writes:
>At 20:41 97/10/12 EDT, Paul Dixon wrote:
>>When Jesus was asked:
>> 1) SU OUN EI hO hIOS TOU QEOU (Lk 22:70),
>>He responded respectively,
>> 2) SU LEGEIS.
>>(Compare Mt 26:64, SU EIPAS and Mt 27:11, SU LEGEIS, respectively).
>>Is this a standard Greek way of saying "yes"? The NASV has "Yes, I
>>(Lk 22:70), "It is as you say" (Lk 23:3), "you have said it yourself"
>>26:64), and "It is as you say" (Mt 27:11).
>>Am wondering if there is possibly more to it than the English
>>translations seem to indicate. Is this a way Christ has of
>>intentionally veiling some of His glory to His nonbelieving accusers?
If He
>>intended to simply answer "yes," then why didn't He say something like,
>>EGW EIMI, or EIMI? Is there not a simpler way of saying "yes" in
<snipping Carl and Jonathan's comments affirming that there are easier
ways of saying yes>

>Fair enough. We have to agree with Carl and Jonathan on this: what
>Matthew and Luke record from the Sanhedrin trial is not the standard
Greek >way of saying "yes". But three things cry aloud for further
>First, from the reaction of the high priest and Sanhedrin members
>(noted above), it would seem pretty clear that they took Jesus's reply
>definitely meaning "yes". So even if there were other ways in which
>Jesus COULD have said "yes" or its equivalent, what he did say was taken
>have that meaning too.
>Second, one cannot but help wondering why Jesus did reply in this way,
>rather than just by saying "yes" or equivalent. This is really not a
>question to pursue at length on b-greek, and the thing to do at this
>point is to turn to the commentaries. For myself, I venture one
>comment: what Jesus said was effectively equivalent to "yes", and
>could actually be translated something like, "It is as you say" (as Paul

>cites from the NASV); but it threw the question of deciding his meaning
>on the high priest and Sanhedrin. THEY had to decide his meaning. Which
>they did. They decided he meant "yes". Which he did.

Good point. Here is just one more tentative thought before relinguishing
this to the commentaries. It is interesting, at least to me, that the
questions asked by Christ's accusers could just as easily have been taken
as declarations, "you are the Son of God," and "you are the king of the
Jews," respectively. So, Christ's answer may simply be taken as an
affirmation of what they said, though they apparently did not mean it to
be taken declaratively. A somewhat humorous play on words here by
Christ? "It is as you say." How could anybody take offense when you
agree with what they say?
>Third: so far the question of what Mark contains in this pericope has
>not been raised by anyone. Now, to me Mark's wording is VERY
>Because Mark records Jesus's answer to the high priest (14:62) as
>being, EGW EIMI, "I am". Wow! No ambiguity there. Apart from this, Mark
>pretty close to Matthew in content.

Yes, very interesting, and thanks for bringing it up. I do notice also
that there is a textual problem here, though not one of such magnitude
that it may cause serious concern. Nevertheless, the fact that certain
manuscripts include SU EIPAS hOTI is interesting. Could it not be
argued that overly zealous scribes, wanting to have Jesus say only EGW
EIMI intentionally omitted SU EIPAS hOTI? But, let's assume, at least
for the sake of argument, the omission.

>Now here is a thought, on the different Greek wording in the three
>Synoptics: if the source for authors Matthew and Luke was the Gospel
>of Mark (i.e., as per the Markan Priority hypothesis), and they found
>EIMI in the text of Mark in front of them, why did they each decide to
>alter it to the somewhat less direct SU EIPAS and hUMEIS LEGETE hOTI
>EGW EIMI respectively? I find that one hard to figure out.

Indeed, this is where my explanation above makes sense.
>But suppose that Mark is the last of the three to write and he has
>Matthew and Luke in front of him (the Markan Dependence hypothesis), and
>finds these differing expressions in Mt and Lk at this point, what does
>do? He is writing for down-to-earth Romans who may not immediately
follow >the subtleties of Matthew's and Luke's wording. The meaning of
what Jesus
>is saying is clear for Mark and he wants it to be clear for his readers
>too. So he leaves out the SU EIPAS of Matthew and the hUMEIS LEGETE
>hOTI in Luke, and just runs with the balance of Luke's wording, EGW
>No problem. Crystal clear for his readers.
>I like that explanation.
Yes, not bad. If the reading in Mk 14:62 stands, then it certainly
serves as an explanation, under my thinking of inspiration, for the other
parallel passages. Yet, this is the very reason scribes may have changed
the reading. Hmm.

Regardless, the meaning of Christ's response seems evident. Thanks for
the stimulating interaction.

Paul Dixon

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