Monday, April 17, 2023

Luke 24.13-35

Caravaggio (Wikipedia CC:
Luke 24.13-35 Jesus and the Travelers to Emmaus: 

This is the appointed text for the coming Sunday, 23 April 2023. I've composed an introduction to the passage and also am sharing my translation of the text. The translation stays close to the Greek text, but it is intended to be 'performed' and heard. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Cleopas is named, but who was the other person? It could well have been his wife.
  2. Why didn't the two recognize Jesus? The text says that their eyes were 'held back' from recognizing him. Similarly, after Jesus breaks the bread, their eyes were opened to recognize him. I.e., in/sight are withheld or given by God. It is not simply a matter of a person having the right understanding.
  3. While Luke in general has a higher literary standard than the other gospels, this Emmaus story 'sounds' more like an oral telling. (E.g., there is a much higher use of και / "and" as compared to δε than is usual for Luke.) This is a fun story to tell, and the biblical storyteller should be able to lean into it with a range of expression.
  4. Luke twice uses a 'biblisch' type of Greek that imitates the Hebrew > Greek style of the Septuagint. In the KJV, it gets rendered with "And it came to pass..." (verses 15 and 30) Most modern English versions think that sounds old-fashioned, so it usually gets translated as "When..." That totally misses Luke's intent of wanting the story to sound scriptural. In my translation, I use, "And so it happened..." Not as 'biblisch' as the KJV, but it does reflect the Greek well.
  5. When I translate the gospel of Mark, I find that the 'casualness' of the Greek reflecting its oral background leaves room for a lot of differences between English translations. Even in this Lukan story in which I hear oral echoes, Luke's better grammar does make for more consistency between my translation and other ones.
  6. I think it is a disservice to have a gospel reading without providing some context. I also think it is unhelpful to have an introduction that tells you what the reading is 'about.' (After all, if you tell me what it's about, why should I bother to listen to the reading?) You can see how I try only to set the stage for the reading.

I hope this helps. Anything you find striking in my translation? Let's have a discussion here!

Download the file here: