RE: Matthew 5:22---"sanhedrin"

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Wed Feb 02 2000 - 19:09:41 EST

On 2 February 2000, Grant Polle wrote:

<< While reading Matthew 5:22, I came across the word "SUNEDRIO
(transliteration ?) " which means "Sanhedrin.">>

Yes and no; in this context yes, almost certainly. But what does
"Sanhedrin" mean to you? (BTW, I'd probably transliterate SUNEDRIW, with
the lexicon form being SUNEDRION.)

<<Now, I have read variant readings that read "Supreme Court (NWT; NASB; WE;
etc)" or "council (KJV; RSV).">>

NAB (with unrevised New Testament) has "Sanhedrin"'.
Those are variant ways of expressing the sense of the Greek word SUNEDRION,
not variant readings *in the Greek*.

In the general case, the word connotes "council; tribunal"; when used
specifically it

<<First, why isn't Sanhedrin just translated as is?>>

Translated from SUNEDRION to *what*? Do you mean *transliterated* (that is,
translate SUNEDRION as "Sanhedrin")? Some do. Would you prefer
"Synedrion"? I'm not sure that's any better. Would yu prefer "... will be
accountable to the (Jewish) council (of seventy-one members usually presided
over by the High Priest and having religious, civil and criminal
jurisdiction); whereas..."? That strikes me as quite clear, but I'm not
convinced that it helps all that much; footnotes would work much better, I

<< I'm NOT trying to raise a translation issue.>>

OK ...

<<MY POINT: I'm trying to see if the translators chose different words
based on the meaning that the Greek word can imply.>>

I'd guess some translators chose to translate using a *title* whose meaning
has no application in our society, but whose meaning can easily be
explicated through footnotes or a dictionary, and others chose to translate
using a *descriptive term* that would have more direct meaning to the casual
reader today.

<<Is it a change because of "word preference" or a change because of

Which change? What single word or term exactly conveys all that a
first-century resident of Jerusalem would understand by the term "SUNEDRION"
to the average speaker of Modern English (now or in 1607)? I don't know of
one offhand.

<<Is Sanhedrin referring to the actual group of men or religious
leaders--the Supreme Court, >>

Yes, I think so, but the term doesn't map exactly to our "Supreme Court" on
several grounds, including membership qualifications, group size and
jurisdiction at least.

<<or does Jesus imply something different that the Greek word itself
suggests? Was Sanhedrin a term specifically for that group or does it
embrace more in meaning?>>

I think it means *the* Sanhedrin, and pretty much by extension *a* group
with comparable authority. Not sure what you mean by "embrace more". What
do you have in mind as a possibility?

<<Essentially, I am asking one question, but I wrote more than one to help
clarify my "confusion." I hope my question is specific and clear.>>

Ummm ... no ... It's not clear to me why the distinction matters all that

        -Chuck Stevens

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