Re: Matthew 5:17-18

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Mon Apr 13 1998 - 17:58:30 EDT

On Mon, 13 Apr 1998 11:12:51 EDT Watt1997 <> writes:
>I would be interested in the views of those in the group on the
>point at which verses 17 and 18 of Matthew chapter 5 are split.
>Is there any *grammatical* or *linguistic* reason why the split should
>take place after hO OURANOS KAI hH GH which is traditionally included
>in verse 18 i.e. the first part of traditional verse 18 is rather a
>point regarding the content of verse 17?

What sense would we make of it, if the split is after the hO OURANOS KAI
hH GH? It would then be something like, "for I say unto you, until
heaven and earth pass away." Then what? Are you suggesting an
ellipsis here? If so, of what?

It does seem more natural to take IWTA hEN ... NOMOU as introducing the

>I would be particularly interested in comments on the following points:
>1. the unusual double use of hEWS AN in traditional verse 18
>2. the use of AMHN GAR as introducing a concluding statement, bearing
>in mind the conclusive use of GAR.

It we take the second hEWS AN phrase as parallel to and epexegetical to
the first, then the sense would be something like: until heaven and earth
pass away, that is, until all things come to pass, then one jot or one
tittle will not pass away from the law. This is not to say, of course,
that after all things come to pass and heaven and earth are destroyed,
then the law will pass away (invalid inference). The most we can make of
it, for sure, is that nothing in the law will not pass away before then
(reminds me of the use of ACRI in Rev. 20:5). But, it may be that the
law never will pass away.

If this is the best explanation, then the GAR is probably and simply
explanatory of v. 17.

Paul Dixon

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