Mark 16:2-While the Sun "Was Rising" or After It "Had Risen"

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Mark 16:2-While the Sun "Was Rising" or After It "Had Risen"

Postby Randwulf » November 3rd, 2012, 2:03 pm

In working with calculations regarding the timing of the Resurrection, I believe it makes a difference whether Jesus rose during the night hours or the daylight hours of the Jewish civil day. I noticed the aorist participle "anateilantos" in Mark 16:2 contains useful data in determining this. I have had some Greek education but not nearly enough to be proficient, so I find an interlinear helpful. I was reading the NASB Interlinear Greek-English New Testament which uses the 21st edition of the Nestle Greek text. In Mark 16:2 Beza reads the present participle "anatellontos", but the variant is extremely doubtful and this edition of the Critical Text recognizes the aorist participle "anateilantos". There is a literal translation beneath it by Alfred Marshall, a British Greek scholar and tutor who also published a Greek primer. Mark 16:2 says the women arrived at the empty tomb "anateilantos the sun". Marshall translated this as "rising the sun" and adds a footnote which says "= as the sun rose". The King James Version of 1611 agrees with this when it says "at the rising of the sun", meaning that the women arrived at the tomb as the sun was crossing the horizon, not after it had already risen.

Many other translations, however, state that the women arrived after the sun had risen. The American Standard Version of 1901 reads "when the sun was risen". The New American Standard Bible reads "when the sun had risen", and the New King James Version agrees with this. Interestingly, going all the way back to John Wycliffe, he reads "And full early in one of the week days, they came to the sepulchre, when the sun was risen".

Can "anateilantos" here be translated either "rising" or "had risen" according to the preference of the translator, or is the correct reading now known to place the action after the participle? If so, why would Wycliffe have done that, but the later King James Translators and Marshall used "rising"? Thank you for any help.

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Re: Mark 16:2-While the Sun "Was Rising" or After It "Had Ri

Postby Barry Hofstetter » November 4th, 2012, 1:02 pm

I have approved this post with the caveat that you need to provide a real name for us – anonymous posting is not permitted on this forum.

Per forum rules also, you need to be posting the text in Greek, like this:

καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου.

I must admit some puzzlement as to why people are interested in the precise timing, but according to this text it is quite early in the morning. The aorist participle, if correct (and the text critical evidence for it is pretty overwhelming) would mean that the sun was in fact already "up," that it was daylight rather than dark. We have to be careful about reading modern definitions back into this. Does it mean that the sun was risen fully above the horizon in the modern sense that we tend to use the terminology, or simply that it was light enough to see? I don't think the text answers that question, nor do I think the ancients were careful at all about such distinctions. But grammatically, yes, the sun was risen prior to the action of the main verb.
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Re: Mark 16:2-While the Sun "Was Rising" or After It "Had Ri

Postby David Lim » November 4th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Randwulf wrote:Many other translations, however, state that the women arrived after the sun had risen. The American Standard Version of 1901 reads "when the sun was risen". The New American Standard Bible reads "when the sun had risen", and the New King James Version agrees with this. Interestingly, going all the way back to John Wycliffe, he reads "And full early in one of the week days, they came to the sepulchre, when the sun was risen".

Can "anateilantos" here be translated either "rising" or "had risen" according to the preference of the translator, or is the correct reading now known to place the action after the participle? If so, why would Wycliffe have done that, but the later King James Translators and Marshall used "rising"?


Besides the ancients, it is also useful to know that the KJV translators also didn't really care for absolute precision or consistency as for the sense, even as they said in their preface. I think the ASV is the most consistent, but it's a personal preference. Anyway the participle focuses more on the situation in which the sun had risen, rather than the rising itself, so I would translate it (woodenly) as "the sun having risen".
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