Re: Mark 16:12

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 18 1998 - 06:50:23 EST

At 10:14 AM -0600 2/17/98, Cooper Greg wrote:
>I would like to ask for feedback on Mark 16:12 (realizing that some
>manuscripts include those verses, some do not and some early Church
>Father's quote them and others do not re: Bullinger, Lexicon and
>Concordance, page iii).
>What struck me was the apparent sudden change in Christ between verses
>and 12. The Greek,EFANERWQH EN hETERA MORFHi, is translated in
>Marshall's Interlinear Greek-English translation, page 216, as:"he was
>manifested in a different formů." Does this strike anyone like it did
>Would it not, perhaps , lend some insight into if and when and what
>happened relative to an ascension(s)?
>Zodhiates, in his Hebrew-Greek Study Bible, 1988 edition, page 1223,
>"appeared," rather than "manifested." And in his Bible Lexicon, 5319,
>1737, states that this appearing by Christ involved divine revelation:
>APOKALUPTO: "to remove a veil or covering exposing to open view what
>before hidden" (Lexicon, 601, page 1667).
>Bullinger, in his Lexicon and Concordance, page 59, states that this
>appearing means: "to make manifest, make apparent, show forth."
>What was Christ, IF I understand these sources correctly, wanting to
>reveal/unveil for us by appearing in this specific way?

The references you cite are accurate enough, but what they don't make clear
is that EFANERWQH is occasionally an alternative to the more normal aorist
passive of hORAW, WFQH, which is regularly translated as "appeared"
although it could also ben translated as "was seen" (the Latin Vulgate
usually makes it VISUS EST). FANEROW does indeed mean "reveal" or "make
manifest," and is generally used in the aorist passive in the GNT as the
verb indicating revelation of a mystery or of God's will or the like, but
there are a few instances, such as Mk 16:12, where it is unquestionably a
synonym or alternative to the regular verb for appearance of a person in
other than a flesh-and-blood manifestation, particularly for the risen
Christ. I think that is what EN hETERAi MORFHi means here. My Accordance
check showed 17 instances of WFQH (you might look at the Greek text of the
Transfiguration passages in the Synoptics) and 11 of EFANERWQH, but only a
few of these latter were of appearances.

I don't want to get into controversy here about the nature of Christ's
resurrection body, but personally I take the view that it is conceived as a
"glory body" -- like a flesh-and-blood body in appearance, but also coming
and going freely (Luke's story has the risen Christ eating, but it also
says that he came through locked doors and appeared before them). I think
that is all that is meant here by EN hETERAi MORFHi. You might also
consider Paul's discussion in 1 Cor 15 about the nature of resurrection
bodies and the general conception that "we shall be made like him" at our

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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