Re: Luke 22:20

From: George Athas (
Date: Sun Mar 15 1998 - 16:36:36 EST


The verse is ambiguous as to whether the cup (POTHRION) or the blood
(AIMA) is the subject of the present passive singular neuter participle
"poured out" (EKCUNNOMENON), since both cup and blood are neuter nouns.
Perhaps a better translation of EKCUNNOMENON is "spilled", and again the
problem is that you can spill both a cup and blood. In the context of
the verse itself, however, if the cup is the subject and the cup
represents the New Covenant, then how can a New Covenant be spilled? I
think it makes more sense to see the "spilled" as referring to the blood
because of this reason.

It is always of paramount importance when translating to consider the
context of the verse, and the whole pericope in which it appears.
However, when a difficulty in translating occurs, and the grammar cannot
be reconciled with the surrounding pericope, you must translate what the
verse says. If, as in the case of Luke 22:20, you have an ambiguous
statement, then carry the logic of each translation option through the
verse and judge its merits. If it is still ambiguous after such a
consideration (and I don't think Luke 22:20 is), then you have to look
at the wider context in which the verse appears. Is there another verse
that helps? If this also fails, then I guess it comes down to personal
interpretation. So, the process is: work from the inside out: word >
clause > sentence > verse > pericope > section > book.

Best regards!
George Athas
 PhD (Cand.), University of Sydney
 Tutor of Hebrew, Moore Theological College
Phone: 0414 839 964 ICQ#: 5866591

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