Lectionary Year A
April 4, 1999
I. John 20:1-18 and II. Matthew 28:1-10

Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation

I. JOHN 20:1-18


The NRSV reads more smoothly, to be sure, yet, rather matter of factly. Some of its sentences are still too long (e. g., verses 8f, 15) to be listener friendly in these days when so few pew sitters bring Bibles to worship. It fails to note the three different Greek verbs in Mary's statement in the latter part of verse 15. Although the three verbs convey quite nearly the same meaning in English, differences probably were intended by the bewildered Mary and/or the author(s) and/or copyists of this story. The narrative is certainly more dynamic than the smooth reading NRSV seems to offer.

Raymond E. Brown's translation in his Anchor Bible Commentary, is very helpfully a combination both smooth and particular enough to get some of the gist of the original language. In verse 9, he adds, for the reader, the admonition, "Remember" to the statement, "as yet they did not understand the scripture that Jesus had to rise form the dead". He, as does the NRSV, in verse 10, translates, "the disciples went (NRSV has, 'returned to their homes') back home". He translates verse 11a, "Meanwhile, Mary was standing (outside) the tomb, weeping. Even as she wept". Brown translates, "she peered into the tomb", a very descriptive translation. In verse 14, Brown translates, "she caught sight of Jesus standing there"; another good and descriptive translation. In verse 16 of Brown's translation, Mary asks, "Sir, if you are the one who carried him off, . . ." Brown gets three different English verbs in this sentence as does the original. Verse 17 of Brown's translation reads, "Don't cling to me," Jesus told her. NRSV uses "cling" in a footnote in the New Oxford Annotated Bible. Another clearly expressive way to translate the Greek. Brown also capitalizes the word, "father". In the final verse, Brown has Mary "announcing" to the disciples. Vividly indicative of what she must have been doing. Finally, Brown has a footnote at the end of his translation identifying the verbs in verses 16, 17 and 18 as "in the historical present tense". He translates them into the past tense in English. Brown's translation is accurate and readable. It is a commendable combination of accuracy and smoothness.

In verse 17, the NIV and NRSV have Jesus saying to Mary, "Do not hold on to me". The New English and Jerusalem Bibles have "Do not cling to me." Is the latter the best rendering? In Spanish, the Reina Valera Antigua Version and Reina Valera 1960 revision have "No me toques" ("Do not touch me"), while the New Spanish Bible has Jesus say "Sueltame" ("Let go of me").


1 On the first day of the week, Maria of Magdala made an appearance early while it was still dark to be near the tomb and she saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 Ran then and came she to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved (as a dear friend) and she said to them, "They have taken away the Lord from the tomb and not can we know where they have put him." 3 Then came Peter and the other disciple and they made an appearance at the tomb. 4 Now progressed the two together; yet the other disciple quickly outran Peter and came first to the tomb, 5 and bending over he perceived setting (there) a linen cloth, not, however, did he enter. 6 Then came also Simon Peter following him and he went into the tomb, and he noticed the linen cloth, 7 and the handkerchief, which had been on the head of him, not with the linen cloth but apart from the wrappings in one (single) place. 8 Next then came also the other disciple who appeared first at the tomb and became aware and believed; 9 for as yet did they know that it is written that it is (necessary) for him from death to arise. 10 Then left again unto themselves the disciples.

11 But Maria stood by the tomb outside weeping. Then as she was weeping, she bent over to the tomb 12 and she noticed two angels in white sitting, one toward the head and the other toward the feet, where had lain the body of Jesus. 13 And they said (definitely, directly, specifically) to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" And she said to them that they had taken away the Lord of her, and not did she know where they had taken him. 14 Having said this she turned around back to them and saw Jesus standing (there) and not did she know that it was Jesus. 15 Said to her Jesus, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Thinking that he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have taken away him, tell me where you have placed him, and I will take him (again)." 16 Said to her Jesus, "Maria." She turned around and said in Hebrew; "Rabbi" (it means, "Teacher"). 17 Said to her Jesus, "Do not take hold of me, for not yet have I ascended to the father. But go to the brothers of mine and say to them that 'I go on up to the father of mine and the father of you (plural) and the God of mine and the God of yours'." 18 And went Maria of Magdala saying to the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that these (things) he had said to her.


(v.1) Now on the first of the Sabbath(s), Mary Magdalene is coming, early in the morning of [the] darkness still being, into the tomb and she is seeing the stone taken away from the tomb. (v.2) And therefore she is running and is coming toward Simon Peter and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loves, and she is saying to them: "They have taken the Lord away from the tomb and we do not know where they laid him." (v.3) Therefore, Peter and the other disciple went out, and they were going into the tomb. (v.4) Now the two were running together; and the other disciple ran even faster than Peter and came first into the tomb, (v.5) and after bending down, he is seeing the linen cloths lying [there], however, he did not go in. (v.6) Then also Simon Peter is coming, following him, and he entered into the tomb, and he is seeing the linen cloths laying [there] (v.7) and the facecloth, which was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths but apart from having been folded into one place. (v.8) Therefore, then also the other disciple, the one who had come first, entered into the tomb, and he saw and he believed; (v.9) For not yet did they know [understand] the writing [scripture] that it is necessary for him to rise from [the] dead. (v.10) Therefore, the disciples went away again toward theirs [their homes].

(v.11) Now Mary had been standing near the tomb, outside, crying. Then, just as she kept on weeping, she bent over [to look] into the tomb (v.12) and she is seeing [note the change in verb tenses--present!] two heavenly messengers in white, sitting [there], one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus was lying. (v.13) And those [messengers] are saying to her: "Woman, why are you weeping?" She is saying to them: "They took away my Lord, and I do not know where they laid him." (v.14) Having said these things, she turned into the things behind [turned around on the spot?] and she is seeing Jesus, having been standing [there], and she did not know that it is Jesus. (v.15) And Jesus is saying to her: "Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?" She, while thinking that he is the gardener, is saying to him: "Lord, if you, yes you, have removed him, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him away!" (v.16) Jesus is saying to her: "Mary!" Having turned around, she is saying to him in Hebrew: "Rabbi!" (which means 'Teacher'). (v.17) Jesus is saying to her: "Do not touch me, for I have not gone up [ascended?] toward the father! Go now to[ward] my brothers [and sisters] and tell them 'I am going up [ascending?] to[ward] my father and your [pl.] father and to[ward] my God and your [pl.] God. (v.18) Mary Magdalene is going, bringing the message to the disciples: "I have seen the Lord," and [that] he said these things to her.


(1) But on the first [day] of the week, Mary the Magdalene comes (it still being early darkness) to the tomb and sees (blepei) the stone has been taken out of the tomb. (2) Then she runs and comes to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom loved (ephilei) [by] Jesus and says to them "They took took the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know they put him." (3) Then went out Peter and the other disciple and they are coming to the tomb. They are running, the two of them together. (4) And the other disciple advances faster than Peter and came first to the tomb. (5) And bending down, he sees (blepei) lying the linen cloths, but he didn't enter. (6) Now comes Simon Peter following him and he entered (2nd aorist) the tomb and sees (theorei perceives? ) the linen cloths lying (7) and the facecloth which was on his head but alone, folded in a (hena) place. (8) And then entering also the other disciple, the one coming first to the tomb, and saw (eiden) and believed, (9) for not yet (never?) they knew (in a condition of knowing? 3 p. pl. plupf.act. ind. of oida) the scripture that he must (dei--dealing with divine destiny) from death arise. (10) Thus they went away again to their [home] the disciples. (11) But Mary had been standing before the tomb crying outside. (12) And she sees (theorei) two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet where had been laid(ekeito--3 p.sin.imperf.act.ind) the body of Jesus. (13) And to her, they say, "Woman, why are you crying?" She says to them: "Because they took my Lord and I had not known where they laid him. (14) And having said these things, she turned around and sees (theorei) Jesus standing but she was not knowing (3 p. Sing. Plupf. Act. Ind of oida) that it is Jesus himself. (15) Jesus says to her "Woman, why are you crying? Whom do you seek?" Thinking that it is the gardener, she says to him, "Sir (kurie), if you did carry him off, tell me where you did lay him, and him I will take away. (16) Jesus says to her, "Mary." Turning around she (ekeine-herself (middle voice))says to him "Rabbouni" (that is to say teacher.) (17) Jesus says to her, "Don't touch me, for I have not ascended to my father; but go to my brothers and say to them, "I ascend to my father and your father. And my God and your God." (18) Mary the Magdelene (herself-from middle voice) comes bring word to the disciples that I have seen (perfect tense) the Lord and these things he said to her.

II. MATTHEW 28:1-10


(v.1) Now after [the] Sabbath(s), as the first day of the week was dawning (idiom; cf. Bauer "epifoosko"), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb [grave]. (v.2) And suddenly a great earthquake happened; for a heavenly messenger of [the] Lord, having come down from heaven and having come toward, he rolled away the stone and sat down on it. (v.3) Now his appearance was like lightning and his garment [was] white like snow. (v.4) But for the fear of him the watchmen trembled and they became like dead people. (v.5) But the heavenly messenger answered and said to the women: "You, do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, the one who has been crucified! (v.6) He is not here, for he was raised just as he said; Come, see the place where he lay! (v.7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he was raised from the dead, and indeed he is going before you into Galilee, there you shall see him; here is [what] I said to you."

(v.8) And after going away quickly from the tomb with fear as well as great joy, they ran to bring the message to his disciples. (v.9) And all of a sudden, Jesus met [confronted] these [women] saying: "Rejoice! [Greetings?]" But the women, after coming toward, took hold of his feet and worshipped [fell on their knees to worship] him. (v.10) Then Jesus is saying to them: "Do not be afraid! Go, bring the message to my brothers [and sisters] in order that they might come away into Galilee, there they shall see me!"

| Return to gospel listings | Return to epistle listings |
| Return to Old Testament listings | Return to Psalm listings |
| User response form |