Re: A witness ?

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sat Apr 03 1999 - 00:41:42 EST

At 3:47 PM -0500 4/1/99, wrote:
>This question recently came up.. and I wanted to run it by the
>majors here :)
>2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning
>were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
>So is Luke declaring himself a witness in verse 2? or a receiver of
>information from the witnesses ?

Since writing the following response, I received Carl's response to the
same post. I am sending mine anyway only because it takes a different angle
from Carl's response (though not one which disagrees).

------------MY RESPONSE TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION---------------
While the KJV is ambiguous here, the Greek text is really not in any way
which would allow the reader to see Luke as an eye-witness. A nominative
case article introduces "those who from the beginning were eye-witnesses"
(OI AP ARCHS AUTOPTAI...), linking this phrase clearly to the subject of
"delivered", not to its indirect object "us" (UMIN, dative case).

1:2 is better translated "just as those who were from the beginning
eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us..."

Luke is saying he is *not* an eye-witness, but has done his homework. He
has carefully gone over what was handed on to him by those who were

------------MY RESPONSE TO CARL'S RESPONSE--------------

As Carl pointed out, the phrase "those who were from the beginning
eyewitnesses" does not have to refer to the same people as "ministers".
Even if they are distinct groups, however, they are both distinct from "us"
(UMIN), and the translation I provided above remains valid since both
"eyewitnesses" and "ministers" are nominative case and must be taken as the
subject(s) of PAREDOSAN (delivered), not as modifiers of UMIN (us).

Micheal W. Palmer
North Carolina State University
Philosophy and Religion (New Testament)
Foreign Languages (Ancient Greek)

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