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Old Jan 25, '07, 6:59 am
Dominic Brother Dominic Brother is offline
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Join Date: January 27, 2006
Posts: 731
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Default Bible Passages On Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Pardon my ignorance but how are the following three accounts reconciled with each other?

Here are three accounts from the Acts of the Apostles.

TEXT 1 - ACTS 9:3-7
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" He said, "Who are you, sir?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.

TEXT 2 - ACTS 22:6-9
"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' I replied, 'Who are you, sir?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.' My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.

TEXT 3 - ACTS 26:12-14
"On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with the authorization and commission of the chief priests. At midday, along the way, O king, I saw a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions. We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

TEXT 1 seems to contradict TEXT 2.

In TEXT 1, the men did hear the voice.
In TEXT 2, his companions did not hear the voice.
TEXT 3 does directly contradict TEXT 2 or 3 but has been included here for discussion.

One difference is the word men in TEXT 1 whereas the word companions is used in TEXT 2.

Thanks for any replies.
"Everyday is Easter Sunday"
Old Jan 25, '07, 2:05 pm
Verbum Verbum is offline
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Join Date: January 5, 2005
Posts: 2,153
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Bible Passages On Conversion of St. Paul

Hi Dominic,

The traditional apologetic response is this :

The Greek verb "to hear" is "akou˘". It can take the genitive case or the accusative case. In the first instance (ch. 9) it is constructed with the genitive, and in the second instance (ch.22) with the accusative. One the meanings of the verb constructed with the accusative is "understand" in the sense of interpreting.

So, the way to reconcile the two texts would be that they could hear the voice but could not understand.

But there are cases in which akou˘ means to understand with the accusative. And in a general way, the genitive construction is used with persons (voice?) and the genitive and accusative with things AND persons.

Are you sufficiently confused?

The various translators of the Bible don't seem to have been impressed by these explanations. It is a perhaps a contradiction that we will never be able to explain. And what is most surprising to me is that there are no manuscript variations. All of them say the same thing.

But all in all, it does not matter much, does it?

In principio erat Verbum
Old Jan 26, '07, 6:05 am
Ferdinand Mary Ferdinand Mary is offline
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Join Date: October 28, 2005
Posts: 1,638
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Bible Passages On Conversion of St. Paul

This topic is currently being discussed here. Thank you to all who participated, this thread is now closed.

Mane Nobiscum Domine,
Ferdinand Mary
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