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Mark 16:9


I rejected the following message originally on grounds that it was a translation question posed by a poster who doesn’t read Biblical Greek. After giving it some thought, however, I think that the question itself is worthy of some discussion by you B-Greekers. Here’s the text:

Ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ …

While it seems most likely to me that the two adverbial elements here, PRWI PRWTHi SABBATOU and PRWTON, must construe respectively: PRWI PRWTHi SABBATOU with the initial participle ANASTAS, PRWTON with the finite verb EFANH, A. T. Robertson has argued (“Word Pictures”) that PRWI PRWTHi SABBATOU could conceivably be construed with EFANH, and I note that at least a couple versions either convert the Greek text as ambiguous (NET) or do in fact read PRWI PRWTHi SABBATOU with EFANH (Peterson’s Message). If list-members take that possibility seriously, what reasons might be offered in defense of its probability?

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
From: Boele Gerkes
Date: February 3, 2011 5:11:37 AM EST
To: href=””>
Subject: Newbie: question about Mark 16:9

Hi all,

(Boele Gerkes, 47, from the Netherlands)

Just joined the list and did that to try to find the answer to a question I have about the mentioned passage in Mark 16:9 which I can not find an answer for in all the commentaries I have (they all focus on the question if Mark wrote verse 9-20 or not… :-))
I also have to say that I have no knowledge to Greek at all, but that’s why I ask here 🙂

My question is this: the translation of this 9th verse is in most Bibles like this:
ASV: Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
King James: Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
And also various Dutch translations give the same idea, i.e. that the time-part of this verse (early the first day of the week) is linked to Jesus’ ressurection rather then the appearence to Mary.

My question is: is there a possibility that the “early on the first day of the week” can be attached to the first appearence to Mary, instead of the ressurection of Christ? Are there any Greek language related objections for that?

In other words: why is the comma placed after “week” and not after “risen”? Is there a definite reason for that? If not, is it legitimate to place the comma after “risen”? It’s not a theological question but a pure Greek grammar/style question.

I have a lot of bible commentaries and no one says anything about it, except one: the Robertson’s Word Pictures. This one writes about it, and actually even about my specific question:

“When he had risen early on the first day of the week (anastas proi protei sabbatou). It is probable that this note of time goes with “risen” (anastas), though it makes good sense with “appeared” (ephane)…” Italic from me.

Well, I hope to get some insight on this question here.

Thanks in advance!!