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The Enthymeme (a translation of Matthew 9:1-8 NA28 Greek)

December 28, 2012

He embarked onto a craft
He passed over
He entered into his own city-state

Dear reader, look:
They bore to him a cripple
Upon a cot discarded

He looked:
Joshua at their credibility
He said to the cripple
Be audacious, child,
Be forgiven, your sins.

Dear reader, look:
Some of the Scripturemen
They said,
Entangled in themselves,
Behold he profanes

He looked:
Joshua at their enthymeme in themselves

He said
Why do you enthymeme such crimes
In those hearts of yourselves

Is it a lighter load to carry
If I’d said
Be forgiven, your sins
Or’d said
Rise and commence with the Peripatetics

Yet do look:
You at the exercise of authority of
The Son of Mortals
Upon the Earth to forgive sins

— therefore: this statement to the cripple —
Rise, bear your cot,
So get along into that household of yours
So he rose and entered into that household of his.

They looked yet:
The crowds so awestricken
So they gave glory to God
Who’d given this authority to mortals.

1 Καὶ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον
καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν.

2 καὶ ἰδοὺ
προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν
ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον.
καὶ ἰδὼν
ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν
εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ•

θάρσει, τέκνον,
ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι.

3 Καὶ ἰδού
τινες τῶν γραμματέων
ἐν ἑαυτοῖς•
οὗτος βλασφημεῖ.

4 καὶ ἰδὼν
ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν
ἱνατί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ
ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;

5 τί γάρ ἐστιν εὐκοπώτερον,
ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι,
ἢ εἰπεῖν•
ἔγειρε καὶ περιπάτει;

6 ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε
ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει
ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας

– τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ•
ἐγερθεὶς ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην
καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου.
7 καὶ ἐγερθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.

8 ἰδόντες δὲ
οἱ ὄχλοι ἐφοβήθησαν
καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν θεὸν
τὸν δόντα ἐξουσίαν τοιαύτην τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.


2 Joshua is used (not Yeshua), since this is a Greekified transliteration of the name given to Moses’s assistant in the Septuagint. The Greek phrase πίστιν is rhetorical, is the proof, the certitude, the credibility, or incarnated or embodied by the enthymeme according to Aristotle.

4. ἐνθυμήσεις and ἐνθυμεῖσθε are taken as forms of the rhetorical enthymeme – a rhetorical syllogism with implied or even missing premises. The reader looking should just understand. The enthymeme works somewhat like an inside joke. To explain it publicly for all is to ruin it. To “get it” as one of the insiders (wink wink) is half the fun.

5. περιπάτει. This is Matthew’s play against παραλυτικὸν. In other words, someone who walks around is not someone who cannot walk as a cripple. And I’ve transliterated it as Peripatetics, since it’s how Aristotle’s students came to see things he taught them. They learned as they followed him, literally, walking around his academy with him. Matthew’s readers would have gotten this. Well, if they didn’t, then they do now (don’t we?).

6. and 8. ἀνθρώπου and ἀνθρώποις – I’ve translated these as “mortals” because the context shows these “on these earth” and in relation with τὸν θεὸν (God) who is above and has power and authority.

This poem and this post rely on some of the information in the previous post, where I discussed the NA28 Greek and the enthymeme of the German Bible Society that has made it so freely available as the Word of God.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2012 5:17 pm

    Keep on laughing – I love your wordplay. Particularly in a society that demands ‘proof’. (Psalm 4:7. Prove to us the light of your face, יהוה!)

  2. December 28, 2012 10:50 pm

    This was delightful. Thanks.

  3. December 29, 2012 8:13 am

    You made me laugh: with that allusion to Ps 4:7 (not the Hebrew 4:6). The Hellene, of course, has highly rhetorical Greek words such as δείξει (showy or epideictic rhetoric literally) and ἐσημειώθη (or the signal stuff, that rhetoric scholar George A. Kennedy alludes to when writing about ARistotle writing about rhetoric. The end of this snippet shows that.)

    Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading here while on sabbatical! Thanks earlier in the year for interacting with Suzanne’s series on Junia with your own series. Today again, I especially appreciated your look at the dialectic syllogism in some of the arguments. (Translations, like mine of Matthew and Matthew’s of Jesus, sometimes can be more purposefully enthymematic, can make use of the theorized rhetorical syllogism.)


  1. Interpretive Spins in the Ψαλμοὶ: the enthymeme « BLT
  2. WWJD on Hanukkah? – Odd Gospel Greek | BLT

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