Re: SHMERON in Luke 23:43

Date: Fri Jan 14 2000 - 10:42:33 EST

In a message dated 01/14/2000 6:30:34 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< My own sense is that the preponderance of judgment in those discussions was
 that SHMERON should be understood to construe with ESHi--but this was by no
 means a unanimous judgment, and anyone seriously interested in the question
 ought to consider the arguments on both sides. >>

Dear Carl:

You make a few significant comments regarding the basis for your view, which
I would like to consider a bit further:

<< My own view: (a) It should be realized that punctuation of the Greek text
 is supplied by an editor and is absent from the oldest MSS, so there is not
 really any clear indication in the formatting of the sentence; >>

It is true that a good deal of early NT manuscripts and papyri do not contain
punctuation, but this is not true in every case. In fact, there is
punctuation in P45, P46, P66, Codex A and Codex B. Indeed, Codex B has the
equivalent of a pause, in the original brown ink, after SHMERON in Luke
23:43. Additionally, the Syriac versions of this text present early
conflicting views. The Curetonian places the equivalent to hOTI ("that")
before "with" ("Truly I say to you today that with...") while other Syriac
mss. place "that" before "today" ("Truly I say to you that today..."). So, it
would seem to me that the early manuscript evidence should be given closer
attention, and favors the view that the comma should be placed after SHMERON.

<< (b) I haven
 just checked my gut feeling that adverbs more generally (although certainly
 not without exception) PRECEDE what they qualify in the case of NT usage of
 SHMERON, and this is what I've found (using AcCordance 4.1):
 There are 41 instances of SHMERON in the GNT; 8 of these are to be
 discounted as within prepositional phrases (e.g., MECRI THS SHMERON, EN THi
 SHMERON), 3 more are to be discounted as substantives used as subject or
 objects of verbs; apart from the verse with which we are concerned (Lk
 23:43) there are 29 instances of the adverbial SHMERON, 11 of them used
 emphatically AFTER the verb, 18 BEFORE the verb. I don't think that's
 really conclusive, although I would still say that the preponderance favors
 taking the SHMERON in Lk 23:43 as construing with ESHi. >>

The question I think we should be concerned with here is how SHMERON is used
with a verb of speech. It seems likely that we are dealing with an OT idiom
where SHMERON is used for emphasizing the words spoken (compare Genesis
25:33; 22:14; Deuteronomy 30:6; and many others). Such usage would seem to be
a much better point of comparison. As an example, consider Paul's words in

I submit that Luke 23:43 is the only example where a verb of speech is used
with SHMERON and where hOTI does not separate it from that verb, except for
Luke 22:34 where the proper name "Peter" serves a function similar to hOTI,
in that it ends the clause with the speech verb (LEGW SOI, "I tell you"),
making it impossible to sensibly take SHMERON with the same clause.

<< However, it strikes
 me that the word-order of Mark 14:30, despite the intervening hOTI which
 could be understood in Lk 23:43, is remarkably similar and seems to me to
 be a pretty good indicator that we should understand SHMERON in Lk 23:43
 with ESHi: >>

The fact is Luke 23:43 does not use an intervening hOTI and Mark 14:30 does.
Additionally, Mark 14:30 uses "today" in reference to what would be done on
that day, namely, Peter's disowning of Jesus before a "cock crows twice," not
in reference to what is being said. The use of hOTI in this verse disconnects
"today" from "truly I say to you." Again, this is not the case in Luke 23:43,
and therefore Mark 14:30 can hardly be used as a guide for the proper
interpretation of Luke 23:43.

Indeed, one might argue that if Luke had wanted to communicate Jesus' use of
"today" as referring to the time when the criminal would be "with him," then
he could simply have placed hOTI before SHMERON, as we find in Mark 14:30.

Best Regards,

Greg Stafford

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