Re: Mt 7:28

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Mon Aug 03 1998 - 15:58:15 EDT

At 11:58 03/08/98 +0000, jwest@Highland.Net wrote:
>Most English translations of Matthew 7:28 translate the Greek word
>exeplhssonto by "and they were amazed". Properly, however, an English
>translation using the word "amazed" would require the Greek word qaumazw,
>which means "to be amazed, to be delighted". The Greek word that the
>writer of the Gospel uses, ekplhssw in its lexical form, means "to be
>overwhelmed, overcome with fright, horror".

Which lexicon?

I see that the middle L & S. provides:
" to drive out of one's senses, to amaze, astound,"
and the big LSJ expands on this with:
'generally, of any sudden, overwhelming passion'

BAG goes for:
2. pass. be amazed, overwhelmed w. fright (Dio Chrys. 80[30], 12) Mt 19:25;
Mk 10:26;

..........or wonder (Dio Chrys. 71[21], 14; Dit., Syll.3 1168, 46 [IV bc];
Jos., Ant. 8, 168; 17, 110; 142) Mt 13:54; Mk 6:2; 7:37; Lk 2:48 (perh. joy);

.......W. the reason given: at someth. or someone (X., Cyr. 1, 4, 27 ejpiv
tw`/ kavllei; Dio Chrys. 29[46], 1; Aelian, V. H. 12, 41) Mt 7:28;
>It is my contention that the crowd hearing the "sermon on the mount" was not
>amazed in a positive sense, but appaled, disgusted, horrified, by the things
>Jesus had said.

There are 13 occurrences in the N.T, all of which, as in the LXX, are
passive in form -- as noted in the EDNT ( ed. Balz, Schneider ),
Mt. 7:28
 Mt. 13:54
 Mt. 19:25
 Mt. 22:33
 Mk. 1:22
 Mk. 6:2
 Mk. 7:37
 Mk. 10:26
 Mk. 11:18
 Lk. 2:48
 Lk. 4:32
 Lk. 9:43
 Acts 13:12

The EDNT notes that in Mt. it always appears in association with Jesus'
The only exception to the general meaning of " be besides oneself, be
overwhelmed, be astonished ", it is stressed, is Mt. 19:25 (par. Mk. 10:26)
 which is rendered as:
"they were very frightened".

As against the RSV, NRSV ( 'astounded' ), the NJB , NAB ( 'astonished' ),
maybe the EDNT is right to opt for 'frightened' --- it is all in the ear of
the weathy listener ?

But surely _this_ is the pericope deserving " appaled [sic], disgusted,
horrified"., rather than thet the message of the Sermon on the Mount.?

Additionally, Harrington ( "Gospel of Matthew" Sacra Pagina series,
Collegville, 1991) makes the point that 7:28b taken with 29, " has the
effect of distancing Jesus' teaching from that of 'their scribes' " --so
the 'astonishment' of the audience _is_ surely the right reading here?


Maurice A. O'Sullivan
[Bray, Ireland]

" With computers we can now mistinterpret Scripture at speeds never before

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