Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part Two (Luke 9:51-56)

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Rather than looking at isolated words or expressions that appear to be Hebraisms, or, examining a category, or type, of Hebraism, let’s take a complete story from the life of Jesus: Luke 9:51-56, a story found only in the Gospel of Luke. This approach will allow us to gain an impression of the density of Hebraisms that often exists in gospel passages. I followed this approach in writing " Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part One," pointing out the density of Hebraisms in Matthew 13:16-17.

Revised: 19-Dec-2012 

Rather than looking at isolated words or expressions that appear to be Hebraisms, or, examining a category, or type, of Hebraism, let’s take a complete story from the life of Jesus: Luke 9:51-56, a story found only in the Gospel of Luke. This approach will allow us to gain an impression of the density of Hebraisms that often exists in gospel passages. I followed this approach in writing “Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part One,” pointing out the density of Hebraisms in Matthew 13:16-17. Relatively few of the suggested Semitisms underlying the Greek New Testament constitute clear-cut proof for a Hebrew undertext, but a high density of Hebraisms in a given passage increases the probability that it is “translation Greek,” perhaps a descendant of a Greek translation of a Hebrew source, and raises the chances that any purposed Hebraism in such a passage was translated from a Hebrew source at some point in the transmission process rather than having been originally composed in Greek. Here is a literal English translation of Luke 9:51-56:

And it came to pass in the fulfilling of the days of the going up of him and he the face put of to walk to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers before face of him. And going they entered into a village of Samaritans so as to prepare for him. And they did not receive him because the face of him was walking to Jerusalem. Seeing and the disciples James and John said: “Lord, do you want we may say fire to come down from the heaven and to destroy them?” Turning and he rebuked them. And they went to another village.

This is certainly unusual Greek. Just how unusual, we will now see as we detail the Hebraisms in this passage:

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To read the next article in this series, click here.

Comments 2

  1. Pingback: Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part One (Luke 10:23-24) | JerusalemPerspective.com Online

  2. I agree about the frequency of hebraisms in the gospels. But I have a question. If Luke uses hebraisms with a gentile audience, why doesn’t he explain them? How would he expect his readers to understand the background idiom?

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