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No "paradise" in the Greek text of Luke 23:43?


Rob Bowman

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I have a couple of questions concerning Joseph Smith

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Frankenstein,

As I pointed out, Joseph clearly claimed that the KJV translators used the wrong word, "a modern word," not that modern Christians misunderstood the meaning of the word (which is a different claim).

are you sure that means what you think it means as the word "paradeis?" is used in Gen referring to the garden.

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Mola,

Would you also agree with me (assuming I am correct about Joseph getting the point at issue wrong) that it was rather arrogant for him to criticize the translators and modern scholars of his day, when clearly it was Joseph who did not know what he was talking about?

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Mola,

Would you also agree with me (assuming I am correct about Joseph getting the point at issue wrong) that it was rather arrogant for him to criticize the translators and modern scholars of his day, when clearly it was Joseph who did not know what he was talking about?

Sure, but I guess it would depend on if he was really being arrogant or ignorant. Perhaps he read something from a scholar of the day and he ran with it. Perhaps that scholar was not very good.

Of course I would be interested in hearing more about this from people that are versed in Greek.

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The word is a Greek loan word from Persian, where it just means "garden". Are we to assume that the Greek meaning is exactly the same as the Persian? Or do cultures generally modify the meaning of loan words as they adopt them?

In the LXX the word occurs 31 times, generally for either the Garden of Eden (paralleling the NT use in Rev 2:7), or just an ordinary earthly garden. In the OT context it is never used to refer to the final abode of the righteous after death in Heaven.

But JS was not making a linguistic point, but a theological one. The early 19th century Christian concept of entry into Paradise as equated to the final post-resurrection Heaven was incorrect. Paul claims to have entered Paradise as a mortal in 2 Cor 12:4.

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Bill,

If the word "is a Greek loan word from Persian" (which is correct), then it is not "a modern word." Agreed?

I showed very clearly that the issue Joseph Smith raised was in fact a linguistic one. He claimed the KJV translators used a word that in no way corresponded to the Greek word. I gave specific rebuttal to the explanation that he was only making a theological point.

The word is a Greek loan word from Persian, where it just means "garden". Are we to assume that the Greek meaning is exactly the same as the Persian? Or do cultures generally modify the meaning of loan words as they adopt them?

In the LXX the word occurs 31 times, generally for either the Garden of Eden (paralleling the NT use in Rev 2:7), or just an ordinary earthly garden. In the OT context it is never used to refer to the final abode of the righteous after death in Heaven.

But JS was not making a linguistic point, but a theological one. The early 19th century Christian concept of entry into Paradise as equated to the final post-resurrection Heaven was incorrect. Paul claims to have entered Paradise as a mortal in 2 Cor 12:4.

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Bill,

If the word "is a Greek loan word from Persian" (which is correct), then it is not "a modern word." Agreed?

I showed very clearly that the issue Joseph Smith raised was in fact a linguistic one. He claimed the KJV translators used a word that in no way corresponded to the Greek word. I gave specific rebuttal to the explanation that he was only making a theological point.

Acutally I am inclinded to agree with Bill. Why? Because if the word means something similar to the Garden of eden or an earthly garden, then the word "paradise" as we know the word, is not a very good translation. Hence this has some serious theological implications to it.

it seems you agreed with what Bill claimed that the greek word meant.

From Wikipedia

Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. It is often used in the same context as that of utopia.

I would say that the Garden of Eden or an earthly garden doesnt really fit this discription. Esp inlilght that Christ didn't go to a garden or to the Garden of Eden when he died. Or do you disagree?

Further more from Wiki

The word Paradise entered European languages from the Persian root word "Pardis" which was the name of a beautiful garden enclosed between walls.

Like I said though I am no scholar on this stuff.

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Would you also agree with me (assuming I am correct about Joseph getting the point at issue wrong) that it was rather arrogant for him to criticize the translators and modern scholars of his day, when clearly it was Joseph who did not know what he was talking about?

If we grant that this may be an example of Brother Joseph's hubris, will you grant that this does not disqualify him from being the Lord's anointed Prophet any more than Elisha's siccing a bear on some kids for mocking his baldness disqualifies him from the same position?

Yours under the standardized oaks,

Nathair /|\

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Nathair,

Let's get something straight here. Are you claiming that Elisha acted wrongly?

If we grant that this may be an example of Brother Joseph's hubris, will you grant that this does not disqualify him from being the Lord's anointed Prophet any more than Elisha's siccing a bear on some kids for mocking his baldness disqualifies him from the same position?

Yours under the standardized oaks,

Nathair /|\

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Mola,

The issue is not whether "paradise" is "a very good translation." It isn't a translation at all--it's the same word, simply spelled in an Anglicized form! The issue is whether Joseph Smith was correct when he stated that "paradise" was "a modern word" and that there was nothing in the Greek that answered to the word paradise.

Acutally I am inclinded to agree with Bill. Why? Because if the word means something similar to the Garden of eden or an earthly garden, then the word "paradise" as we know the word, is not a very good translation. Hence this has some serious theological implications to it.

it seems you agreed with what Bill claimed that the greek word meant.

From Wikipedia

I would say that the Garden of Eden or an earthly garden doesnt really fit this discription. Esp inlilght that Christ didn't go to a garden or to the Garden of Eden when he died. Or do you disagree?

Further more from Wiki

Like I said though I am no scholar on this stuff.

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Mola,

The issue is not whether "paradise" is "a very good translation." It isn't a translation at all--it's the same word, simply spelled in an Anglicized form! The issue is whether Joseph Smith was correct when he stated that "paradise" was "a modern word" and that there was nothing in the Greek that answered to the word paradise.

Right, I see. I will need to respond after work out. Brb.

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No argument here; however, it's unlikely that Jesus spoke those words in the first place. Luke has Jesus chatting away on the cross like he's at a picnic. Mark's account of a Jesus who speaks nothing but to cry out in agony is likely more accurate.

Three short sentences (Luke 23:34, 43, 46) constitute "chatting away on the cross like he's at a picnic"? And did you miss Mark 15:34 (which reports a statement by Jesus prior to his final cry, v. 37)?

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Hagoth7,

With regards to my first question, I'm afraid you have not engaged the evidence of what Joseph Smith actually said. He said there was nothing in the Greek text of Luke 23:43 that answered to the English word paradise in the King James Version. He claimed that the word paradise was "a modern word." Your response ignores what Joseph Smith said and suggests another approach to the topic. You're free to take any approach you like, but the issue I raised has to do with Joseph's actual statement.

With regard to my second question, if Joseph Smith was "expounding" on Luke 23 in the JST, and if the word "paradise" was incorrect (as Joseph later claimed), then why didn't he "expound" Luke 23:43 by using a more correct term?

Hi Rob,

Easy.

1. Simply entertain the possibility that garden = the world of spirit.

2. And dispel the notion that the same has to mean anything other than a place where reality is more fluid - more easily nurtured to bring forth good fruit.

True. But what did Christ mean by its use there?

In a similar vein...what of a similar Hebrew term in Genesis?

Does the above help?

(Or are you of the opinion that I didn't understand your intended point?)

The key is IF.

And IF he isn't? What then?

Who would then be the one at risk of being somewhat presumptuous? (I'm not trying to be rude, it's just a return of your volley in a fair exchange.)

He's not translating in the scientific sense. He's expounding. Conveying truth.

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Hi again Rob,

With regards to my first question, I'm afraid you have not engaged the evidence of what Joseph Smith actually said.

Perhaps. Let's see.

He said there was nothing in the Greek text of Luke 23:43 that answered to the English word paradise in the King James Version.

I hear you. Which could simply mean Joseph is saying that the baggage surrounding the English word "paradise" didn't align with Christ's intended meaning of the parent word in Greek. Likewise, "gay" carries a much different connotation than it did fifty years ago. The meanings of words shift - based on time and context. Wouldn't you agree?

Would it then not be fair to chalk that up as a possibility for what Joseph meant?

He claimed that the word paradise was "a modern word."

It is. The language we call English is a modern language...even though some of its roots go far back in the past.

Your response ignores what Joseph Smith said

I could see how you might feel that way.

It doesn't ignore what he says inasmuch as it intends to focus on what I believe he meant by what he said.

Arriving at that, if I'm not mistaken, was the purpose of your questions. Yes?

...the issue I raised has to do with Joseph's actual statement.

Understood completely. And, to be fair, the issue you raised was within the framework of what **you** think Joseph meant by such a statement.

After close examination, I'm not required to accept that framework. And am free to posit another alternative for what Joseph meant. And you're not required to accept that framework - although I would appreciate your fairness in acknowledging it as a viable alternative. Fair enough?

With regard to my second question, if Joseph Smith was "expounding" on Luke 23 in the JST, and if the word "paradise" was incorrect (as Joseph later claimed), then why didn't he "expound" Luke 23:43 by using a more correct term?

Because his hearers spoke English. :P

Which more correct English term would you suggest?

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hagoth7,

On the one hand, you suggest that Joseph Smith's remarks in History of the Church may have meant "that the baggage surrounding the English word 'paradise' didn't align with Christ's intended meaning of the parent word in Greek." On the other hand, when I ask why Joseph didn't use another term in the JST at Luke 23:43, you ask, "Which more correct English term would you suggest?" I'm having trouble believing you're serious. How about the expression "world of spirits" that he claimed in History of the Church was the correct translation?

As for your suggested explanation of his remarks, you can believe anything you want, but he explicitly said that there was nothing answering to the word paradise in the original Greek. Here's the oddity: In this instance, I am letting Joseph Smith mean what he said, and (frankly) you are not. The reason is obvious: It is more important to you that Joseph be cleared of an obvious mistake than that you accept that he meant what he clearly said.

Hi again Rob,

Perhaps. Let's see.

I hear you. Which could simply mean Joseph is saying that the baggage surrounding the English word "paradise" didn't align with Christ's intended meaning of the parent word in Greek. Likewise, "gay" carries a much different connotation than it did fifty years ago. The meanings of words shift - based on time and context. Wouldn't you agree?

Would it then not be fair to chalk that up as a possibility for what Joseph meant?

It is. The language we call English is a modern language...even though some of its roots go far back in the past.

I could see how you might feel that way.

It doesn't ignore what he says inasmuch as it intends to focus on what I believe he meant by what he said.

Arriving at that, if I'm not mistaken, was the purpose of your questions. Yes?

Understood completely. And, to be fair, the issue you raised was within the framework of what **you** think Joseph meant by such a statement.

After close examination, I'm not required to accept that framework. And am free to posit another alternative for what Joseph meant. And you're not required to accept that framework - although I would appreciate your fairness in acknowledging it as a viable alternative. Fair enough?

Because his hearers spoke English. :P

Which more correct English term would you suggest?

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Approach it from the other side. Biblical context shows that "paradise" was not the place or condition of salvation for the thief because John 20:17 shows that the Father was not there. So for sure, what "paradise" means to the rest of the christian world is incorrect. Salvation cannot be attained by deathbed repentance or faith confession and there is a space between death and salvation.

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On the one hand, you suggest that Joseph Smith's remarks in History of the Church may have meant "that the baggage surrounding the English word 'paradise' didn't align with Christ's intended meaning of the parent word in Greek." On the other hand, when I ask why Joseph didn't use another term in the JST at Luke 23:43, you ask, "Which more correct English term would you suggest?"

OK.

I'm having trouble believing you're serious.

I get that a lot. Not sure why.

I am, however, quite serious. (Although in a very good mood.)

How about the expression "world of spirits" that he claimed in History of the Church was the correct translation?

Methinks we have different interpretations of the word "translation."

1. You apparently think it means something akin to flipping to a place in a bilingual dictionary.

2. I think it instead means conveying the gist of what that passage was intended to mean.

The two often overlap. But not always.

As for your suggested explanation of his remarks, you can believe anything you want, but he explicitly said that there was nothing answering to the word paradise in the original Greek.

You choose to take that literally. I'm OK w/that.

But I don't see the need to do so.

Here's the oddity: In this instance, I am letting Joseph Smith mean what he said, and (frankly) you are not.

I can honestly see why you might feel that way.

The reason is obvious: It is more important to you that Joseph be cleared of an obvious mistake than that you accept that he meant what he clearly said.

Actually, there is another reason you might not have considered (since I don't have an issue with a true prophet sometimes sayings things that simply ain't so). There was no voice recording. Joseph's comments are, at best, a stitching together of what people remember of what he said...often after the fact. Because of that, I give him the benefit of the doubt, and don't see the need to pin him to the wall with literal meanings. When's the last time you took notes of a college lecture - and either left much out (because you couldn't write Reformed Egyptian quickly enough) OR tried to stitch it back together much later based on assumptions? So I try to reconstruct what he might have meant - which is precisely what subsequent editors have done - and which you are also doing here. Yes?

Like you, I'm a reasonable guy.

And I understand full well the limitations of note taking when a dynamic speaker is talking freely.

Do you feel there's anything unreasonable in such an approach?

And do you still feel that I haven't considered or understood your concern?

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The worst case that can be made here is that Joseph missspoke, that he should have said the word "paradise" as referenced was "a modern concept" rather than a "modern word".

Isn't it interesting to note that our friend from the I.R.R. (also known as IRReligious) is LITERALLY trying to make Joseph an "offender for a word"?

Perhaps Dan Peterson should sue for copyright infringement?

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Nathair,

Let's get something straight here. Are you claiming that Elisha acted wrongly?

Well, what would you think if I did something like that?

Yours under the fallible oaks,

Nathair /|\

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