Monday, April 16, 2012
Mindfully Minding the Meaning
Here is my exegesis and raw translation of Luke 24:36-48, the gospel reading for the second Sunday after Easter. I am captivated by v.45. Hence, the title of this blog entry. I welcome your comments.
36 Ταῦτα δὲ αὐτῶν λαλούντων αὐτὸς ἔστη ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν.
Yet while they were speaking these things he stood in the midst of them and says to them, “Peace to you.”
λαλούντων: PAPart gpm, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound 2) to speak
ἔστη: AAI 3s, ἵστημι, 1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set 1a) to bid to stand by, [set up] 1a1) in the presence of others, in the midst,
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω 1) to say, to speak 1a) affirm over, maintain
37 πτοηθέντες δὲ καὶ ἔμφοβοι γενόμενοι ἐδόκουν πνεῦμα θεωρεῖν.
Yet being terrified and becoming fearful they were supposing to be viewing a spirit.
πτοηθέντες: APPart npm, πτοέω, to terrify; pass. to be terrified
γενόμενοι: AMPart npm, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being 2) to become,
ἐδόκουν: IAI 3p, δοκέω, 1) to be of opinion, think, suppose 2) to seem, to be accounted, reputed 3) it seems to me
θεωρεῖν: PAInf, θεωρέω, 1) to be a spectator, look at, behold 1a) to view attentively, take a view of, survey
The appearances of Jesus continue to be mystical in nature. The two on the road to Emmaus do not recognize him until he breaks the bread. Here, they seem to know that it is Jesus, but fearfully reckon that it is a spirit. Each gospel (except perhaps Mark’s enigmatic ending in 16:8), struggles to identify what the risen body of Jesus is, exactly. The terror and surprise here may be due to the fact that they witnessed Jesus die; but they had just been hearing that he is risen.
38 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τί τεταραγμένοι ἐστέ, καὶ διὰ τί διαλογισμοὶ ἀναβαίνουσιν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν;
And he said to them, “Why are you having been troubled and on what account are deliberations arising in your heart?
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, , λέγω 1) to say, to speak 1a) affirm over, maintain
τεταραγμένοι: PerfPPart, npm, ταράσσω, 1) to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro) 1a) to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity
ἐστέ: PAI 2p, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
ἀναβαίνουσιν: PAI 3p, ἀναβαίνω, 1) ascend 1a) to go up 1b) to rise, mount, be borne up, spring up
I know that “Why are you having been troubled” is very awkward, but I want to point out that there are two verbs, “are” (ἐστέ in the present tense) and “having been troubled” (τεταραγμένοι in the perfect tense) together.
39 ἴδετε τὰς χεῖράς μου καὶ τοὺς πόδας μου ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι αὐτός: ψηλαφήσατέ με καὶ ἴδετε, ὅτι πνεῦμα σάρκα καὶ ὀστέα οὐκ ἔχει καθὼς ἐμὲ θεωρεῖτε ἔχοντα.
See my hands and my feet that I am he; touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bone just as you view me having.
ἴδετε: AAImpv 2p, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes 2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
ψηλαφήσατέ: AAImpv 2p, ψηλαφάω, 1) to handle, touch and feel 2) metaph. mentally to seek after tokens of a person or a thing
ἔχει: PAI 3s, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
θεωρεῖτε: PAI 2p, θεωρέω, 1) to be a spectator, look at, behold 1a) to view attentively, take a view of, survey
ἔχοντα: PAPart asm, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
Most translations have “as you see I have” at the end of this verse. I want to show that there are two different verbs here: “see” (ἴδετε) and “view” (θεωρέω). Technically, θεωρέω could be translated as “see,” but then the English would lose the distinctions that are in the Greek.
40 καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας.
And while saying this he showed to them the hands and the feet.
εἰπὼν: AAPart nsm, λέγω 1) to say, to speak 1a) affirm over, maintain
ἔδειξεν: AAI 3s, δεικνύεις, to show, exhibit;
41 ἔτι δὲ ἀπιστούντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς καὶ θαυμαζόντων εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ἔχετέ τι βρώσιμον ἐνθάδε;
Yet while they were disbelieving from the joy and were wondering he said to them, “Do you have something edible here?”
ἀπιστούντων: PAPart gpm, ἀπιστέω, 1) to betray a trust, be unfaithful 2) to have no belief, disbelieve
θαυμαζόντων: PAPart gpm, θαυμάζω, 1) to wonder, wonder at, marvel 2) to be wondered at, to be had in admiration
Ἔχετέ: PAI 2p, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
It seems that we have a pair here, “disbelieving (from joy) and wondering” (ἀπιστούντων ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς καὶ θαυμαζόντων) to answer for “terrified and becoming fearful” (πτοηθέντες καὶ ἔμφοβοι γενόμενοι) in v. 37.
42 οἱ δὲ ἐπέδωκαν αὐτῷ ἰχθύος ὀπτοῦ μέρος:
Yet they gave to him a piece of cooked fish;
ἐπέδωκαν: AAI 3p, ἐπιδίδωμι, 1) to hand, give by hand 2) to give over 2a) give up to the power or will of one
43 καὶ λαβὼν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ἔφαγεν.
and taking he ate in front of them.
λαβὼν: AAPart nsm, λαμβάνω, 1) to take 1a) to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it
ἔφαγεν: AAI 3s, ἐσθίω, 1) to eat 2) to eat (consume) a thing 2a) to take food, eat a meal 3) metaph. to devour, consume
44 Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου οὓς ἐλάλησα πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἔτι ὢν σὺν ὑμῖν, ὅτι δεῖ πληρωθῆναι πάντα τὰ γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Μωϋσέως καὶ τοῖς προφήταις καὶ ψαλμοῖς περὶ ἐμοῦ.
Yet he said to them, “These my words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that it is necessary for all the writings in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the psalms concerning me to be fulfilled.
ἐλάλησα: AAI 1s, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound 2) to speak
ὢν: PAPart nsm, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
δεῖ: PAI 3s, δέω, 1) to bind tie, fasten 1a) to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains
πληρωθῆναι: APInf, πληρόω, 1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
The phrase “these my words” is awkward. One can supply a verb ‘to be’ (“are”) here and treat ‘these’ as the nominative subject and ‘my words’ as the nominative predicate, which is what most translations seem to be doing.
The ὅτι could be translated as ‘that’ or it could simply introduce a quote: “These my words which I spoke to you while I was with you, ‘It is necessary …’.”
45 τότε διήνοιξεν αὐτῶν τὸν νοῦν τοῦ συνιέναι τὰς γραφάς.
Then he made open-minded their mind to the like-mindedness of the writings/scriptures.
διήνοιξεν: AAI 3s, διανοίγω, 1) to open by dividing or drawing asunder, to open … to open one's soul, i.e. to rouse in one the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning
συνιέναι: PAInf, συνίημι, 1) to set or bring together 1a) in a hostile sense, of combatants 2) to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived 2a) to set or join together in the mind 2a1) i.e. to understand: the man of understanding 2a2) idiom for: a good and upright man (having the knowledge of those things which pertain to salvation)
This is a very awkward translation, I admit. But, I want to pick up on the duplicity of the words “open one’s mind” (διήνοιξεν) and “mind” (νοῦν). I think the word “meaning” (συνιέναι) is also in this vocabulary family – especially considering that one definition is “to join together the mind”.
As it happens, I was discussing the Great Command with a group yesterday, and the phrase that is typically translated to “love God with all your … mind” has the noun διάνοια, which is the nominal version of this verb “open the mind” διήνοιξεν. Young’s Literal Translation comes close to what I’m aiming for: “Then opened (διήνοιξεν) he up their understanding (νοῦν) to understand (συνιέναι) the Writings,”
46 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὕτως γέγραπται παθεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ ἀναστῆναι ἐκ νεκρῶν τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ,
And he said to them “Thus it has been written the Christ to suffer and to rise out of death on the third day,
γέγραπται: PerfPI 3s, γράφω, 1) to write, with reference to the form of the letters 1a) to delineate (or form) letters on a tablet, parchment, paper, or other material 2) to write, with reference to the contents of the writing
παθεῖν: AAInf πάσχω, 1) to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo 1a) in a good sense, to be well off, in good case 1b) in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight 1b1) of a sick person
ἀναστῆναι: AAInf. ἀνίστημι, 1) to cause to rise up, raise up 1a) raise up from laying down 1b) to raise up from the dead
Grammatically, what has been written is described with the noun in the accusative case “the Christ” and an infinitive verb “to suffer”. The pattern is repeated in the second part of this sentence in v.47 with the noun “repentance” and the verb “to be preached”
47 καὶ κηρυχθῆναι ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ μετάνοιαν εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλήμ:
and repentance into release of sins to be preached in his name into all the nations which are beginning from Jerusalem;
κηρυχθῆναι: APInf, κηρύσσω, 1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald 1a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald 1b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed … 3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers
ἀρξάμενοι: AMPart npm, ἄρχω, 1) to be chief, to lead, to rule
48 ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες τούτων.
you [are] witnesses of these things.
This sentence has no verb, so I supplied one.
This resurrection appearance moves from convincing “the eleven and their companions” (including now Cleopas and the other Emmaus road traveler) that he really is the risen Christ and not a spook, to opening their minds to understanding. I really wish we had an English word that could make v.45 work as well as it does in Greek, with Jesus mind-blowing their minds to mind the scriptures. (See, it just doesn’t work with “mind.” Got a better option?)
The content of what Jesus reveals to them is given in this way:
A: v.44: The words that Jesus spoke before the crucifixion came to this: “It is necessary for all the writings in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the psalms concerning me to be fulfilled.”
B: v.45: Then, after the resurrection, he opened their minds to the meaning of the Scriptures.
A1: v.46-8: What the Scriptures mean is this: “Christ is to suffer and to rise out of death on the third day, and repentance into release of sins is to be preached in his name into all the nations which are beginning from Jerusalem.”
B1: v.48: The community’s commission is this: You [are] witnesses of these things.”
Posted by From Mark Davis