Sure, but not explaining the meaning of "giving what is inside as alms" leaves me in the position of regarding the phrase as somewhat garbled. And, if it is garbled, then surely the translation hypothesis would be the better explanation. Spanish is my second language, and if someone tells me that he or she "has twenty years," I know either (A) that the person is a native Spanish speaker still thinking in his or her own language, in which "tengo veinte años" (= "I have twenty years") is the correct Spanish way of expressing age, or (B) that the person is a native English speaker translating something from Spanish too literally.Ken Olson wrote: ↑Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:35 amBen Smith wrote:
Well, I was writing on the theory of mistranslated words and not a commentary on this pericope in Luke.What I wonder is whether your explanation adequately covers the wording of Luke's admonition: "But give the things within as alms" (πλὴν τὰ ἐνόντα δότε ἐλεημοσύνην). What does that mean, to give "the things within" as alms? The motif of inside and outside works fairly well in Matthew's version: "First cleanse the inside of the cup."
In other words, with the translational hypothesis, everything is explained: both the garbling and the difference between Matthew and Luke, conveniently dependent upon a common word in Aramaic. With the editing hypothesis, however (Luke editing Matthew), one is left wondering why Luke, who apparently made so many other changes to his Matthean source, did not make this otherwise simple sentence come out better. "The things within," if this phrase is in fact a bit garbly, are more easily understood as a translator making do with what he has in another language than as a writer slavishly and unnecessarily retaining a confusing phrase from the same language when he has already decided to rework it pretty thoroughly.
I am not sure whether you saw my attempt to understand this phrase rather differently, as "the things within" your cup, the contents of your dish: the meaning being that to give alms from the very things you would otherwise have eaten or kept for yourself is what purifies.
Luke has already balanced inside versus outside rather neatly:
At this point his text is as balanced and comprehensible as Matthew's is. But now, with a different word, he continues:
Almsgiving as a charitable practice coming from within is not the same thing as giving the things within as alms. Much of this strikes me as a tacit admission that the phrase comes off as at least a bit garbled.I did give a nod to Johnson's theory that, "How a man disposes of his possessions ... can stand as a symbol of the state of a man’s heart before God."
I think Luke is riffing off the suggestion that the outside is determined by the inside. Internal goodness will manifest itself in external goodness, such as almsgiving.
The logical corollary of Mark's statement that "evil things come from within" is that good things (like almsgiving) also come from within.
But I wonder what you make of my suggestion that τὰ ἐνόντα are the contents of one's dish.