There is No Comma( Purgatory Apologetics)


#1

One you think you know every Apologetic stance you find out you don’t. I never heard this before till today

Protestants say their can be no Purgatory because of the Thief on the Cross.

New International Version
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

King James Version
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise

Catholic New American
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Now of course we know how to answer this. But what did not occur to me today is that LUKE DID NOT USE COMMAS.

If he did why could it had not been" Amen I say to you today**, **you will be with me in Paradise"

Makes a difference huh. Excuse me if this old news but I have never considered this before.

I found this interersting

Therefore, at least from the fourth century C.E. until well into the twelfth century C.E. there were readers who understood the text at Luke 23:43 as “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” On that very day, when Jesus died, he was in Sheol or Hades, and not in Paradise. (Psalms 16:8-11; Acts 2:22-32) He was dead and in the tomb until the third day and was then resurrected as “the firstfruits” of the resurrection. (Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18) Thus, the word “today” at Luke 23:43 does not give the time of the evildoer’s being
with Jesus in Paradise.

ibiblio.org/bgreek/archives/96-08/0009.html

Much more interesting things at that link and the whole thread

Now this is from a non Catholic source but makes sense to me
The Comma of Luke 23:43

Did Jesus Christ tell the thief on the cross that they would be together in Paradise that very day, or did he say on that day, that they would be together in Paradise? It has been argued that the Greek text is ambiguous on this point, and that the position of the comma (before or after the word “today”) determines the sense of Christ’s statement.

Of course, no one will doubt that commas were introduced into the manuscripts centuries after the authors of the New Testament books had died and that such commas are therefore not authoritative. And there is the question of context. No one can dispute the fact that Jesus and the criminal were dying on the cross, and that their death would be followed by a burial and, in Jesus’ case, by a resurrection from the dead three days later.

It has been argued that, since the context does not allow the conclusion that anyone entered Paradise on that day, and since the position of the comma lacks authority, the punctuation “Today you shall be with me in paradise” would leave the reader with a discrepancy between what had been promised and what actually happened. On the other hand, the alternative punctuation (“Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise”) has been endorsed as free from such problems since it is not stated when they would be in Paradise.

The presupposition behind the two possibilities is in the claim that the Greek text is ambiguous without the comma. Thus, one is obligated to go deeper into the matter to ascertain if that presupposition is legitimate.

Is the Greek text ambiguous?

The first point to note is that Jesus was communicating with the thief verbally. In any language, people converse without commas, semicolons, question marks or exclamation marks. In fact, writers employ such devices only because they believe that the spoken message is clearer and want to approximate it. It is not true, therefore, that what Jesus said was ambiguous. The introduction of the commas into the manuscripts (centuries later) is irrelevant.

One may be tempted to object by saying that it is the position of the written comma that reveals what Christ really said. This is precisely what is not true of the passage in question. The author of the Gospel was not present at the crucifixion to hear Christ’s comment personally. Christ’s comment was recorded from the oral tradition of the disciples. This leads us to the second point: that the oral tradition had preserved this comment in a particular form, with the spoken emphasis already built into it.

Commas have no syntactical value in New Testament Greek. If commas are later introduced by an editor, they would serve only to make the text easier to read —- not to clarify the meaning. Commas, in any edition of the Greek New Testament, are intended only as a help to the reader, not as a means of safeguarding the correct understanding of a passage.

In view of the above details, the presupposition that the text of Luke 23:43 is ambiguous without the comma is not legitimate

wcg.org/lit/prophecy/comma.htm


#2

Interesting. Remember Christ almost certainly would have spoken in Aramaic or possibly Hebrew to the thief, not Greek. Not to say that they had commas either. But could there be any other indication from the grammar of the Greek as to what the intended meaning is?


#3

Interesting. Remember Christ almost certainly would have spoken in Aramaic or possibly Hebrew to the thief, not Greek. Not to say that they had commas either. But could there be any other indication from the grammar of the Greek as to what the intended meaning is?


#4

Interesting. Remember Christ almost certainly would have spoken in Aramaic or possibly Hebrew to the thief, not Greek. Not to say that they had commas either. But could there be any other indication from the grammar of the Greek as to what the intended meaning is?


#5

I have looked around today and I have seen a few Catholic Apologist use the above argument or mention it

I have yet to find a site YET, that is Catholic and hits the Biblical translations of that passage.

But I find this curious from the above thread

Tines men houtos anaginoskousin* Amen lego soi semeron* kai
hypostizousin* eita epipherousin, hotiet’ emou ese e to paradeiso._
(“Some indeed read this way: ‘Truly I tell you today,’ and put a comma;
then they add: ‘You will be with me in Paradise.’”–Hesychius of
Jerusalem, an ecclessiastical writer who died about 434 C.E. Greek text
found in Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 93, columns 432, 1433.

Alloi de ekbiazontai to rhema, stizontes eis to <<Semeron,>> hin’ e to
legomenon toiouton* <<Amen ego soi semeron*>> eita to, <<met’ emou ese
en to paradeiso,>> epipherontes. (“But others press upon the saying,
putting a punctuation mark after ‘today,’ so that it would be said
this way: ‘Truly I tell you today’; and then they add the expression:
‘You will be with me in Paradise.’”)–Theophylact, an ecclessistical
writer who died about 1112 C.E. Edition: Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 123,
column 1104.

alloi – to rheton ekbiazontai* legousin gar dein hypostizontas (254:
hypostizantas) anaginoskein* amen lego soi semeron*>> eith’ houtos
epipherein to* met’ emou ese etc. (“Others press upon what is spoken;
for they say it must read by putting a comma thus: ‘Truly I tell you
today,’ and then adding the expression this way: 'You will be with me’
etc.”)–Scholia 237, 239, 254. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece,
editio octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869,
under Luke 23:43.

kai eutys eipen moi hoti amen amen semeron lego soi, met’ emou ese en
to parad[eiso]. (“And immediately he said to me: ‘Most truly today
I tell you, You will be with me in Paradise.’”)–Descent into Hades,
an apocryphal writing of the fourth century C.E. Text found in Novum
Testamentum Graece, editio octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol.
I, Leipzig,869, under Luke 23:43.

ho de eipen auto* semeron lego soi aletheian hina se ekho eis ton
parad[eison] met’ emou. (“And he said to him: ‘Today I tell you the
truth, that I should have you in Paradise with me.’”)–Gospel of
Nicodemus (=Acts of Pilate)b287, an apocryphal writing of the fourth
or fifth century C.E. Text found in Novum Testamentum Graece, editio
octava critica maior, by C. Tischendorf, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1869, under
Luke 23:43.

Further it appears Christ might have been using an Idiom there or a common type expression as when he said “'Truly I tell you today”. I ran across a site that had examples of that type od idom else where in scripture but alas I can’ find the page again

For example


#6

Is a Man that is literally minutes (or maybe hours) away from death going to stress that He is telling you something “Today”??? Remember, it was a struggle just to get up on his feet and relieve the fluid buildup in his lungs just to say the words.

I don’t think He’s going to waste time by saying, “Today, I’m telling you this…”.

That arguement seems to ignore the seriousness of Jesus’ agony.


#7

Luke wasn’t at the foot of the Cross so he must have received his second-hand account from Mary, many years later. John, who was there, doesn’t record it.


#8

I don’t think it has anything to do with ignoring the seriousness of Jesus’s agony.

I just find it interesting because forever I have been reading this and thinking Jesus meant it like 'Truly I tell you ,today You will be with me in Paradise"

In other words I have never considered how that verse is viewed without commas. I just find it something to explore because this verse is used often to drive to disprove Purgatory

Of course we know how to respond to that without going into this with the usual proofs about Jesus going to Sheol or hades etc and that Jesus could not have seen the Theif yet in Paradise(Heaven) in a literal 24 hour day since he had not rose and I suppose he might not have seen himn in heaven for 43 mores days till the Ascension.

Just something I have never contemplated before


#9

"Denial of Immortality

The doctrine of annihiliation at death leads to the problem of the nature of the human soul. According to Russell and his followers, man has not “got” a soul; he “is” a soul. And his soul is his body. When a man’s body dies, his soul just ceases to be. There is no spiritual soul, immortal of its very nature. “Death,” says Russell, “Means total annihiliation. There are no souls anywhere awaiting a resurrection. No human being who has ever lived and died exists any longer.”

Russell was not impressed by any of the references in Scripture to the living reality of the Patriarchs and Prophets after death, such as Abraham, Moses, Elias, Samuel, and others. When confronted with the words of Christ to the dying theif…he said that the proper Greek reading of the text is, “Amen I say to thee this day-thou shalt be with me in paradise.” With all the Greek scholars of the world against him, this man who did not know even the Greek alphabet, tells us that the Greek meant that!"

-Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C.
-The Incredible Creed of the Jehovah Witnesses, Tan Books.

Basically, Charles Taze Russell interpreted that verse like you are to some how support his point that the soul is not immortal, but somehow recreated at the end of time.

The traditional Catholic view point is that the theif bypassed purgatory. One reason this can be is that he was fully resigned to the will of God even unto death.

A Sixth Means of avoiding Purgatory is given us by some great saints: They say that when a sick person becomes aware that he is dying and offers to God his death with perfect resignation it is very likely that he will go straight to Heaven.”

-Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.
-How to Avoid Purgatory, Tan Books
Emphasis his.


#10

Well, he found time to quote part of the Psalm - ‘My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?’

obviously he wasn’t utterly incapable of speech.


#11

Oh yeah, it soes appear the JW and others have put the Coma after today to get at a preconcieved doctrine. But that doctrine is unrelated to this one.


#12

I didn’t say he was incapable of speech. The quotes from Psalms 22 and 31 were some of the most beautiful words He could have uttered from the Cross, for they bring to mind the confidence that God’s Will shalll prevail no matter how dire our situation may be.

But with all the agony He was in, it seems he wouldn’t want to waste words, such as, “Today, I’m telling you this… I’m not going to wait til tomorrow, but you will be with me in Paradise”.

I don’t see how it could be anything else but, “…, Today you will be with me in paradise”.


#13

Or maybe that*** “All things are possible with God***”.


#14

The theif on the cross in no way disproves the existence of purgatory. The only thing it does prove is that there exists divine privlage; that is, that this is an example of salvation being attainted outside of the normative course. The theif wasn’t baptized in the normative manner, presumably did not keep the commandments, etc., etc. But, because he experienced a last minute conversion, Christ saved him. That is all that this demonstrates. Some things take place outside of the normative course. Mary for instance, was born free of the stain of original sin through divine privlage. God so chose to preserve her without having her go through water baptism to remove the stain.
The other thing here is that the thief most certainly could have, and most likely did, experience purgatory after he died, and still entered the kingdom “that day.” There is no doctrine anywhere that sets human time limits on purgatory. His cleansing in purgatory may have been what we we experience as only a few hours; therefore, he made what we would consider a brief stop in purgatory for his final cleansing before enter into the kingdom “that day” with Christ.


#15

Amen!!!


#16

I’m definitly not an authority here, I am actually pretty new to the faith still. But, I am thinking that Jesus could have meant TODAY and still gone to hades?

If god is father, son, AND holy spirit and also omnipresent, couldn’t Jesus be in hades and the theif be in paradise with him (as father or holy spirit? at the same time?

Does this make any sense? It’s sounding great in my head, but when I type it out, I’m not too sure…


#17

If God is everywhere (except for Hell, which is the absence of God), then I’d say you are spot on!


#18

THis is the problem. Christ was not ion Heaven literally that day or the the next. Could he had been? Where I guess if he wanted to but that does not appear to be how God set the “rules” up.

I think Traditional Catholic and Christian teaching has been that Paradise refers to Sheol and Hades and no one was entering Heaven till Jesus Rose. Because in reality it ahd not been finished yet. Without the resurrection our faith is useless


#19

Well I certainly think being crucified with the added punishment of having your legs broken is more of a purification in regards to atonement than most. Not to mention the good thief defended Christ. The other criminal was mocking Jesus like the rest and the good thief defended Jesus. There are many ways to obtain a plenary indulgence and I assume that defending Jesus while everyone else was mocking him would surely be grounds to receive one and as I mentioned, while being brutally crucified, the conditons required for the indulgence surely could be met by the good thief.


#20

Well I certainly think being crucified with the added punishment of having your legs broken is more of a purification in regards to atonement than most. Not to mention the good thief defended Christ. The other criminal was mocking Jesus like the rest and the good thief defended Jesus. There are many ways to obtain a plenary indulgence and I assume that defending Jesus while everyone else was mocking him would surely be grounds to receive one and as I mentioned, while being brutally crucified, the conditons required for the indulgence surely could be met by the good thief

I totally agree. Again my point not to assume that the word today modifies Paradise or that even Paradise even means heaven perhaps


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.