Gospel of the 32nd Sunday of the Year

Continuing from Luke (20:27-38), we have a rather complicated passage about the Resurrection.

Approaching, some of the Sadducees, that is, the ones who say the resurrection is not to be, questioned him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies,’ who has a wife, ‘and she is without child, that brother should take the wife and he should resurrect a seed to his brother’.  So then, there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, but died childless.  And the second, and the third took her likewise until all seven  had married her without leaving behind a child when they died.  And at last the woman died.  In the resurrection, then, to which of them does she become wife?  For all seven had her as wife!”  And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age are born and they give birth.  But those deemed worthy of the age to come and to attain the resurrection out of death do not marry nor are given in marriage.  They are like the angels and to die is no longer possible for they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  But that the dead are raised, even Moses revealed at the bush as he says, ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, and God of Isaac and God of Jacob.’  God is not God of the dead, but of those who live, for all in him are alive.”

I found this quite difficult, especially Jesus’ speech “The sons of this age…”.  I chose a variant reading “are born and give birth” which is found in one or two of the Fathers.  I should say, it is not well attested, but adds a bit of flavour.  In the earlier section, the bit from the Saduccees, I really wanted it to be clear that the word for “resurrection” and the word used by them to indicate Moses’ teaching about why a man should marry his brother (to give his brother, at least symbolically, a child and therefore to continue his existence) are more or less the same.  I think this is important, as the Saduccees are inferring that the continuance of personal existence – impossible for them as they denied the resurrection – was really only continued in the family line.  The quotation they choose almost seems to be mocking the idea of “resurrection” except in this natural sense.  Also, I try to avoid continuing tenses in translating (the “ing” in English), partly because they often don’t really get at the meaning of the tense in Greek (although I am no expert in tenses) and they convey something in English which isn’t always appropriate.  For example, many modern (and not so modern) translations have “for God is God of the living” but the Greek says “God is of the ones who live”.  Anyway, I hope the translation is of interest!


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