Inscription on the cross

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Pennsylvania Jim, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
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    I am curious about the inscription that Pilate placed on the cross above Jesus. The inscription is described in Matt. 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19.

    Each gospel gives slightly different wording, but in John 19:20 we learn that Pilate wrote it three times, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

    It would be a good guess that Matthew would have quoted the Hebrew version, Mark the Latin, and John the Greek.

    I am curious as to why the inscription is written in all caps in our English bible.

    Does anyone have ideas or information pertaining to the inscription?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    All Caps was because it was his 'crime' or his 'title' such as theif, etc.

    Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible
     
  3. rsr

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    "I am curious as to why the inscription is written in all caps in our English bible."

    I suspect it is a typgraphic convention; the original manuscripts would have contained only "capital letters" throughout, not just in those places.

    Several modern Bibles, such as the ESV and NET, have dispensed with the capital letters.
     
  4. Phillip

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    Boy, Mathew Henry must have had a sore wrist. Did he have a secretary?
     
  5. IveyLeaguer

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    [​IMG] For real.
     
  6. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Thanks, Diane. rsr, can you elaborate?
     
  7. rsr

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    The ancient manuscripts would have been written in uncial or majuscule letters (equivalent to our capital letters.) Miniscule script, which developed into our "lower case" and cursive writing, did not appear in literary works until the 10th century or so. The uncial texts also contained no spaces and probably little or no punctuation.

    Here is a link to a photo of a papyrus Gospel of John in uncials (it does take a bit of time to download.)

    PAPYRUS 75
     
  8. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Yes, I understand that part, rsr, but it is curious to me that this inscription came down to us in capitals when the rest of the text did not. There had to be a reason, Diane touched on a possibility, but I wonder if there's more.
     
  9. rsr

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    I don't think there IS any more, except to explain it as a modern typographical device to make it stand out from the rest of the text. Tyndale didn't do it; it apparently began with the Geneva.

    The Holman explains its formatting option:

    "A written inscription that was posted for people to read, such as the sign above Jesus on the cross (Mt. 27:37), is placed inside a box and centered in the text."

    Again, it is a typographical convention provided by the translators that is not found in the text.

    [ February 16, 2005, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  10. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Thanks, rsr and everyone.
     
  11. robycop3

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    I've seen titles or proclamations in all caps in several other pieces of 16th-17th century literature. It coulda been a grammatical custom of the time.
     

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