[b-greek] Re: Luke 23:43 - the punctuation of the verse

From: Dave Washburn (dwashbur@nyx.net)
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 21:51:37 EDT

> Below I am quoting from several Greek sources, in transliteration and
> providing an English translation. I would appreciate if improvements would
> be offered for the English renderings.
> hypostizousin* eita epipherousin, hotiet' emou ese e to paradeiso._
> ("Some indeed read this way: 'Truly I tell you today,' and put a comma;
> then they add: 'You will be with me in Paradise.'"--Hesychius of
> Jerusalem, an ecclessiastical writer who died about 434 C.E. Greek text
> found in Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 93, columns 432, 1433.
> Alloi de ekbiazontai to rhema, stizontes eis to <<Semeron,>> hin' e to
> legomenon toiouton* <<Amen ego soi semeron*>> eita to, <<met' emou ese
> en to paradeiso,>> epipherontes. ("But others press upon the saying,
> putting a punctuation mark after 'today,' so that it would be said
> this way: 'Truly I tell you today'; and then they add the expression:
> 'You will be with me in Paradise.'")--Theophylact, an ecclessistical
> writer who died about 1112 C.E. Edition: Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 123,
> column 1104.
> alloi -- to rheton ekbiazontai* legousin gar dein hypostizontas (254:
> hypostizantas) anaginoskein* amen lego soi semeron*>> eith' houtos
> epipherein to* met' emou ese etc. ("Others press upon what is spoken;
> for they say it must read by putting a comma thus: 'Truly I tell you
> today,' and then adding the expression this way: 'You will be with me'
> etc.")--Scholia 237, 239, 254. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece,
> editio octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869,
> under Luke 23:43.

These of course do not necessarily tell the whole story because
they are badly out of context. We need to know whether the writer
cited what these "others" do approvingly or disapprovingly, who
they were and whether they had theological axes to grind, whether
the church at large recognized them as qualified to make such
comments, and a host of other questions. Did Theophylact accept
this placement of the comma? Or was he discussing why he
didn't? We need the contexts of these quotes for them to be of
any real use in discussing this topic. When we cite something like
this out of its context we can make it say pretty much anything we
want, but that may or may not be what the writer actually intended
to say.

> kai eutys eipen moi hoti amen amen semeron lego soi, met' emou ese en
> to parad[eiso]. ("And immediately he said to me: 'Most truly today
> I tell you, You will be with me in Paradise.'")--Descent into Hades,
> an apocryphal writing of the fourth century C.E. Text found in Novum
> Testamentum Graece, editio octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol.
> I, Leipzig,869, under Luke 23:43.

This of course rearranges the words, moving SHMERON forward
and adding another AMHN, so there are several ways this reading
could have originated and it may or may not be useful.

> ho de eipen auto* semeron lego soi aletheian hina se ekho eis ton
> parad[eison] met' emou. ("And he said to him: 'Today I tell you the
> truth, that I should have you in Paradise with me.'")--Gospel of
> Nicodemus (=Acts of Pilate)b287, an apocryphal writing of the fourth
> or fifth century C.E. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece, editio
> octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869, under
> Luke 23:43.

This also moves SHMERON. The question is, why? Paraphrase?
Faulty memory? Support of a preconceived idea? Simply citing it
tells us little or nothing about its value for the discussion.

> Therefore, at least from the fourth century C.E. until well into the
> twelfth century C.E. there were readers who understood the text at Luke
> 23:43 as "Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise."

Irrelevant. The question is, who were they and why did they
understand it this way? What did the other fathers say about it?
See the questions above. Unfortunately, at least for exegetical
purposes, most of this information is fairly useless.

> that very day, when Jesus died, he was in Sheol or Hades, and not in
> Paradise. (Psalms 16:8-11; Acts 2:22-32) He was dead and in the tomb
> until the third day and was then resurrected as "the firstfruits" of the
> resurrection. (Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18) Thus, the
> word "today" at Luke 23:43 does not give the time of the evildoer's being
> with Jesus in Paradise.

The texts above do not establish this. We have gone far beyond
the text at this point, and we're building theology on a comma that
is still questionable at best. At worst, these "other writers" may
have been heretics for all we know, finagling the placement of the
comma for their own purposes. So for all these extensive citations,
we've really gotten nowhere, and with the above paragraph we have
descended into the forbidden realm of theology.


Dave Washburn
"You just keep thinking, Butch. That's what you're good at."

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