MARANATHA: Our Lord Has Come!/Come, Lord!

μαρὰν ἀθά/μαρανα θα

 

מרנא תא                 מרן אתא

μαρὰν ἀθά                   μαρανα θα

maran ‘athâ                maranâ thâ

Our Lord has come!      Come, Lord!

 Textually, you can’t get more interesting than this. Depending on the biblical translation you rely upon, you will find the verse above from  1 Corinthians 6:22 written either in the preterite or the imperative sense. Doctrinally, it makes very little difference as I found when looking up the original transliterated term “maranatha,” little realizing the bird’s nest of textual criticism I had stumbled upon.

As usual, it all started with Wikipedia and this interesting comment:

“In general, the recent interpretation has been to select the command option (“Come, Lord!”), changing older decisions to follow the preterite option (“Our Lord has come”) as found in the ancient Aramaic Peshitta, in the Latin Clementine Vulgate, in the Greek Byzantine texts, Textus Receptus, critical Greek texts like Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf, Cambridge, etc., and in the English translations like the King James Version, the Finnish Raamattu, etc. One reason the change from the previous scholarly view has occurred is that the P46 papyrus (ca. A.D. 200) divides it as μαρανα θα (“marana tha”).”

You see, the extant manuscripts of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians all provide a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic for this particular expression, so that depending on how the translator chooses to split the transliteration, maran ‘athâ or maranâ thâ, the meaning will be strikingly different.

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