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Who Was Actually Shorter?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by TCGreek, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    We all grew up with the Sunday song, "Zaccheus was a whee littleman, a whee little man was he..." But the text doesn't say clearly that he was actually shorter than Jesus. In fact, the text is a bit ambiguous.

    Here is the Greek:καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τίς ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν. (Luke 19:3).

    1. "And He was seeking to see Jesus; who he is, and was unable because of the crowd/from the crowd (ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου), because he was of a small stature."

    2. KJV:"And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature."

    3. NASB: "Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature."

    Can you really determine from this verse, who was smaller in stature? Was it Jesus or was it Zaccheus?

    Remember, Zaccheus climbing a tree doesn't prove conclusively that he was smaller than Jesus. It could mean that Jesus was smaller in status and because of the crowd that surrounded him, Zaccheus was unable to see him, so he had to climb a tree to get a better view. And neither does it mean that Zaccheus was taller than everyone else and therefore could see over them and therefore didn't need to climb a tree.
     
    #1 TCGreek, Jul 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2007
  2. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I agree , he wasn't a "whee little man" as in yippee . He was , rather a wee little man . He was short ( "of stature" the KJV adds superflously ) . I suspect that Jesus was of average height . Therefore the Z-man was shorter . ( Isn't this too controversial ?)
     
  3. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    I too would like to believe that Jesus was of average height, but should this text decide that issue?

    I don't think it is too controversial, if we are interested in translation issues. This is not to challenge the divinity of Christ, "For in him the whole fullness of Deity dwells bodily."
     
  4. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O. Well-Known Member
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    It's been a long time since I've looked at phrases and clauses, but don't phrases and clauses modify/refer to the subject or object closest to it?

    Example: Marian called her sister on the phone because she is sad. Well, who is sad? Marian or her sister? If we follow that rule, it would have to be the sister, because "sister" is closest to the phrase, "she is sad."

    Example: Marian called her sister on the phone and she did that because of sadness. In this case, it would be Marian who is sad and needs cheering up because "she" (Marian) is closest to the phrase.

    I might be way off base, but I think it's Zaccheus that is small in stature for that very reason.

     
  5. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    TC-G , I forgot to add smiley-faces . No , this is not a controversial subject . It's certainly not a C vs. N-C issue . ( Someone would have to be highly imaginative to do that ! ) .
     
  6. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    True, certainly for English syntax, but not necessarily for Greek syntax.
     
  7. EdSutton

    EdSutton New Member

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    Personally, I do not know that it matters one whit. Especially since the two shortest individuals, who were certainly far shorter than either Jesus or Zacchaeus, and even "James, the Less" (which term BTW, speaks to his physical stature), spoken of in Scripture are "Knee-high-miah" and the shortest, "Bildad the Shoeheight" :D

    And besides that, it was because of the media there, that Zacchaeus could not see Jesus. In fact, I'll quote that.
    "Nyuck! Nyuck! Nyuck!"

    Ed
     
    #7 EdSutton, Jul 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2007
  8. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    I agree, it doesn't matter one wit. But I just thought it would make for interesting discussion since I ran into the passage in my Greek reading.

    I like those clever lines.:thumbs:
     
  9. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    We don't know how deep the crowd was...the placement of the road in proportion to any incline or decline surrounding it...site lines / angles,...other factors. Zach could have been 6'3" for all we know, or he could have been a "little person" (formerly called midget or dwarf).
     
  10. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    No , WB , Zack was definitely short .
     
  11. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    You have his medical records? :)
     
  12. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    Yep , but it's a short account . Your 6'3" estimate is way off .
     
  13. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    ...and you know this...how?
     
  14. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    I was obviously joking about having his medical records . ( You took me seriously ? ) But I tend to take the Bible 's word for it when the English translations call him "short" or use other synonyms . Short is the opposite of tall -- case closed .
     
  15. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    No, I didn't take you seriously.

    "Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature."

    How do we know "he was small in stature" was not referring to Jesus and not Zach?
     
  16. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

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    Didn't Luke 2:52 say specifically that Jesus advanced in stature?

    It seems pretty clear from context that it's Zaccheus who was short. It's an oti clause so it is somwhat ambiguous. But I think that Luke would have made Jesus the subject of the oti clause (instead of just using a pronoun) if that were the intended inference, especially since there is another clause in between the oti clause and the reference to Jesus.
     
  17. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member
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    What Charles said . (It sounded good anyway .)
     
  18. TCGreek

    TCGreek New Member

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    καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τίς ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν

    1. I would have to agree with you that the hoti clause is the clincher.

    2. The hoti clause serves as the grounds for the previous clause καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου.

    3. I know someone would be able to crack the code from the original language. Yes, and given that this is a narrative genre one would expect the pronoun to make a clear reference to Jesus.
     
  19. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    If Jesus had been shorter than average(or taller) it woulda been noted somewhere in Scripture, I believe. Remember, Isaiah said in so many words that there'd be nothing unusual about His appearance.
     
  20. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

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    Just a note to Ed,
    Remember that Peter was so small he slept on his watch.:laugh:
     
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