Re: MENOUN in Luke 11.28

From: Stephen C. Carlson (
Date: Thu May 06 1999 - 00:41:17 EDT

At 11:19 AM 5/5/99 -0700, wrote:
>Mark Goodacre wrote:
>> I would be grateful for any help on the translation of the following:
>I think a translation as positive or affirmative "indeed" would be far
>more in keeping with the general thought of St Luke than a disjunctive
>"rather" (as we tend to read it, really out of an anti-Catholic polemic):

Interestingly, two common Roman Catholic translations, the Rheims Bible
and the New American Bible, both render MENOUN with "rather" as in "Yea
rather" and "Rather" respectively. Indeed, the "Yea rather" of the
Rheims agrees with the Authorized (KJV).

I suppose that both MENOUN and English "rather" are ambiguous, expressing
both affirmative and negative (or at least contrastive) meanings, depending
on the context. The translations have chosen different ways to handle this:
the KJV and the Rheims resolve MENOUN affirmatively ("Yea rather, blessed ..."),
the NAB ambiguously ("Rather, blessed are thou..), and the leading modern
Protestant versions contrastively ("On the contrary, blessed ..." NASB;
"Blessed rather ..." NIV, NRSV, Amplified). My translational preference is
for the translation that is just as ambiguous as the source text, but my
exegetical preference is for the affirmative meaning, as argued by Mark and

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson              
Synoptic Problem Home Page
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35

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