Late in the Sabbath – opse sabbatohn



Refer article, A. T. Robertson Mark 16:2.


The idea of severance is exactly opposite the Ablative’s functional meaning. “Like father like son” is Ablative – not “to differ like day by night”. Ablative indicates connection – like “derivation” of effluent from source. Not repelling “removal” – like between the positive and positive of magnets. So in Mt28:1 the time of day –“Sabbath’s”– and the day –“Sabbath”– is like father like son, “Sabbath’s Day”— Ablative and still, Genitive.   Tyndale sensed this perfectly when he translated Mt.28:1, ‘opse sabbatohn’, “In the end of the Sabbath!


The Ablative “conceives of the whole –“Sabbath”– as the source from which the part –“sabbath’s”– the “late-part” or “end-part”, ‘opse’,  is taken” or is “derived”.   


The concept, or, “sense of “after” ”, implies disconnectedness, separation and unrelatedness.  But in the Ablative, “That which is named in the noun is modified” by it, and “owes its existence in some way to that which is denoted in the Ablative” – in Mt.28:1 in the form (declension) of the Genitive – “Sabbath’s”. That whichthe time, “late”,opse’– is named in the noun modified by the Ablative; and it owes its existence to that which is denoted in the Ablativethe Sabbath– ‘sabbatohn’! The Ablative gives time in, on, during and of the Sabbath Day; not time in, on, during or of the First Day AFTER, the Sabbath!  


Says Dana and Mantey’s Grammar, “To emphasize derivation or source the Ablative with a preposition exactly serves the purpose; to emphasize definition or character would require the use of the Genitive, since the Ablative has no such significance. Therefore we had best regard the partitive construction without the preposition as a Genitive.” In Mt.28:1 both the purposes of derivation or source and definition or character interplay; therefore we had best regard the partitive construction without the preposition in Mt.28:1 as a Genitive.


According to the Collins Dictionary, opse in Mt.28:1 should by definition of the Ablative “indicate the instrument, manner, or place of the action described by the verb”. (“Ablative of means”, Dana and Mantey.)  The idea of “after” is quite irreconcilable with such a meaning in Matthew 28:1. On the contrary, considered as an Ablative the word “Sabbath’s” functions as the “instrument” or “manner” in the sentence, “By being Sabbath’s-time late being-after-noon(light) towards the First Day came Mary … was there a great earthquake … descended an angel. The “manner” and “place of the action described by the verb” are implied and indicated by the Ablative, “Sabbath’s”. A locative though is hardly the case in Mt.28:1.











Opse is said to mean “after a long time”, at length”. Follet series Classic Greek Dictionary This Dictionary gives no examples of opse with such usage. This Dictionary also supplies examples of “late” Greek usage of opse – some of those usually referred to by scholars. Nevertheless the phrases mentioned here mean nothing but “After a long time” within the period intended, be it after a long time within one or several days or only within an hour or several hours or within one year or several years. Whatever happened, happened “at length while being the current period”. It simply was “late” in or on or during the relative time.

Opse in “Late” Greek

Unfortunately”, says Bacchiocchi, TCR 52bsome translations, such as the Revised Version, have ignored the late Greek usage of opse and thus they have translated Matthew 28:1 as “now late on the Sabbath day”. This translation would mean that the women came to the tomb late on a Saturday. This might be the sense of the Greek words used in the classics, but, as R.C.H. Lenski perceptively points out, “in the koine opse is used as a preposition and means “after”, B.-P. 958; B.-D. 164; Stellhorn, “long after something”; Zahn, erst nach; R. 517. Mark agrees, “when the Sabbath was past”.” (Presumably Lenski’s abbreviations stand for Bauer page 958, Blass and Debrunner paragraph 164 and Robertson page 517 respectively.)




Philostratus, Dionysius and Modern Lexicons

Dionysius (d. 265) uses the word opse several times every time with the meaning of “late in”. (e.g. De Ausurio 15,6, opse tou kairou; 1,18, hohste opse pote epi tohn kladohn idohn methallomenehn autehn. He tries to explain opse in Mt.28:1 with this meaning. (Par. Dionysius also wrote a treatise against the Life of Apollonius by Philostratus (d. 217). Philostratus’ alleged usage with the meaning of “after” never occurred to Dionysius?  Not even in his attempt to explain its meaning in Mt.28:1? Obviously not! Then why does opse’s use with the meaning of “after” so conspicuously increase in Commentaries and Dictionaries of the twentieth century?





The word opse is used by late Greek writers as a preposition meaning “after”. Standard Greek lexicons and modern translations recognize that this is the sense in which the word is used in Matthew 28:1”, says Bacchiocchi, TCR p. 58c.

Dionysius of Alexandria A.D. 200–265 Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol.  6 p. 94/95 Eerdmans a later writer than Philostratus who died 217 A.D., writes, (Emphasis and bracketed comments added.)

Dionysius to Basilides ..... Now this phrase “in the end(opse) ..... denotes slowness and length of time. ..... then when they reach the LAST two days, viz., the preparation and the SABBATH fast .... THROUGH THE TIME .....”.     

 “Late” Greek identified with “Koine”

From the above quotation (TCR 52b) it is clear that the scholars referred to accept the notion that Philostratus wrote “koine” Greek, and because the New Testament is written in “koine” Greek, it also uses the term opse with the meaning it, allegedly, has in Philostratus’ writings, namely, “after”. In Mt.28:1 it would translate, “After the Sabbath at dawn on the First Day”. Use of opse in the “koine” accordingly would differ in meaning from its use in the “classics”, where, as the scholars admit, opse would be found to mean “late”. It is questionable though whether the “koine” Greek employed by Philostratus, can be identified with the “koine” Greek employed in Matthew. Of the “koine” Greek written by Philostratus, it can be said, and must be said, that it was “late Greek”. That can not be said, and may not be said, of New Testament Greek. Of the “koine” Greek written by Matthew, it can be said, and must be said, that it was “Hellenistic Greek”. That can not be said, and may not be said, of the Greek Philostratus wrote. Despite its close(r) resemblance with “late” Greek, Hellenistic Greek is determined by “classic” Greek of about six centuries’ establishment. The Greek Philostratus used developed over two centuries after the composition of the New Testament. If a precedent for the meaning of opse during the first century should be found, it has to be found from the Greek of preceding times and not from the Greek of later times. The total appeal of scores of scholars who use “examples” of opse’s use with the meaning of “after” from “later Greek” in order to justify their interpretation of this word in Mt.28:1, should be ignored. It is an invalid argument. We shall nevertheless pay more attention to it.


The quote above reflects (1) scholars’ total dependence on one another when it comes to this crucial point in the interpretation of the term opse for its understanding in Mt.28:1 where it is (2) CLAIMED to mean “after (the Sabbath)”. It also reflects their mutual dependence on (3) one writer specifically, “Flavius Philostratus of Lemnos, representative of the Second Sophistic School, author of “The Life of Appolonius of Tyana” and “Heroicus”, edited in 1870 by C.L. Kayser”. Kittel  It reflects, most importantly, the scholars’ dependence on (4) a few references from a single Greek author of (5) another and later era. They treat the relevancy of “later Greek” to the problem of the meaning of opse in Mt.28:1 in such a way as to (6) completely minimise the significance contemporary and earlier Greek must have had for the meaning of opse in Mt.28:1. Refer authoritative Lexicons like Sophocles’ Gr. Lex. Of the Roman and Byzantine Period, 1914 (Harvard Cambridge) and Liddell and Scott, Gr. Eng. Lex, Oxford, for many contemporary and earlier instances. They presume the “later” Greek the only factor that determined the meaning of opse in Mt.28:1. In fact only earlier and contemporary Greek could have exerted influence while later Greek of course could not. While treating on the “later Greek”, these scholars, ignorantly or deliberately, (7) fail to acknowledge the use of opse with the meaning of “late” in their specific and only source – Philostratus. (See p. 37.)


Schmidt also compares Plutarch who died AD 120, opse tohn basileohs chronohn – “after the times of the king”. Refer New Testament Studies, Matthew, Chapter 28, p. 309. The reference has bearing on the rule of various kings (plural) and must pertain to the later stages during monarchical “times”. Despite Schmidt, this Commentary concludes, “But it rather means here, literally, late in the Sabbath, that is, at its close; though by strict Jewish reckoning, it ended the evening before.

These scholars do not (8) present the isolated “examples” of their case from Philostratus in context because they merely copy one another. (9) These modern researchers and commentators and translators get their exemplary phrases of Philostratus’ use of opse from Walter Bauer’s “Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament” and make it the norm for the meaning of “after” for opse in Mt.28:1. (10) Even Bauer refers to Philostratus and the others by way of these excerpts only, while he in turn depends on Kayser who only edited Philostratus’ works. (11) The first consideration of these excerpts with reference to Mt.28:1 were made by scholars like Blass, Bauer, and Moulton. That indicates that the argument from “later Greek” for the meaning of “after” for opse is recent and is raised because of its fashionableness rather than for its scientific value.

Scholars’ Views

Stellhorn, Beckwith, Goodspeed, Bacchiocchi

The two phrases in M.28:1, (opse sabbatohn and tehi epifohskousehi eis mian sabbatohn), “Late in the Sabbath” and “at dawn on Sunday”, constitute “what many scholars view as two apparently contradictory statements”, according to Samuele Bacchiocchi.The contradiction lies in the fact that the end of the Sabbath at sunset does not mark the dawning of the first day, since the two events are about 12 hours apart.TCR 49b (On page 52 par. b Bacchiocchi quotes R.C.H. Lenski who refers to Stellhorn, who describes opse as meaning, “long after something. The Old Afrikaans Translation has “Late after the Sabbath at dawn on the First Day” in Mt.28:1.)


The source of the idea of “long after the Sabbath” comes from the extract from Philostratus, opse trohikohn, interpreted as “long after the Trojan War”. Follet Classic DictionaryLong after” the war would imply months or years after. Such an interpretation of opse supposes a marked interval between detached periods. See Par. p. 248-249.Long after the Sabbath” – supposing a complete break in connection – cannot be immediately after the Sabbath and just as Sunday started. Surmising like this is the result obtained for taking extra Biblical, secular, and much later sources as basis for interpreting opse in Mt.28:1 while ignoring the Bible’s own use and earlier or contemporary use of the term – just to accommodate the traditional concept of a Sunday resurrection.

If the day were reckoned from sunset to sunset, “long” after the Sabbath, or, “late after” the Sabbath, must be late on Sunday which contradicts the idea that the resurrection occurred early on Sunday. The whole issue thus becomes more confused. The number of hours between the two times of day indicated by the phrases (“about 12 hours” according to Bacchiocchi) do not determine their contradictory nature. The ascent as the decline of the sun – or day or “light” for that matter – lasts for twelve hours respectively. Twelve hours can thus separate the beginning and the end of either the morning or the afternoon while it still is either morning or afternoon. (Compare the Genesis story, “It was evening and it was morning the first day”. Only these two divisions constituted the whole day.) The end of day, measured against the earth’s rotation in relation to the sun begins at noon while the dawning of the day can be as late as about seven o’clock (depending on season and degree of latitude). If the day is reckoned from sunrise to sunrise it in fact “could be in the end of the Sabbath and morning at the same time” while the number of hours in between could be even more than twelve. But the phrases under consideration are irreconcilable because one, momentary event can not happen on different days. If the day is reckoned from sunset to sunset the resurrection could not occur “in the end of the Sabbath” which is “on the Sabbath” and “at dawn” which would be “on the First Day”. “According to one interpretation, the verse (Mt.28:1) states that the women came to the Lord’s tomb “late on the Sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week”. If this is right (and opse with the Genitive certainly can mean “late on ...”), what Josephus says implicitly of the Passover is here said explicitly of the Sabbath, that it ends at daybreak”. Roger T. Beckwith quoted in TCR 85a 


By suggesting the possibility85b Roger T. Beckwith acknowledges no more than that “late” may be an alternative for “after”. It “can mean” “late” but actually, according to him, means “after” in Mt.28:1. “Late” is also just “one”, “interpretation”. There should be the other, and correct interpretation, the real meaning being, “after” the Sabbath – and “daybreak” Sunday! Beckwith’s conclusion rests on a supposition merely: If this is right” (that Matthew uses the sunrise reckoning of the day with the inference that opse would mean “after”), it “is here said explicitly of the Sabbath”! What logic is this? For this supposition, Bacchiocchi says, “Beckwith finds in Matthew indications for the sunset reckoning, and thus concludes by suggesting the possibility that the two reckonings were not in rivalry ... but co-existed.” Based on these suggested possibilities – and they indeed are nothing but suggested possibilities of “indications”, Beckwith “concludes” “an explicit endorsement” of the sunrise reckoning”  84d  in Matthew 28:1 – and consequently of the meaning of “after” for opse. This truly is amazing reasoning and even Bacchiocchi finds it “astonishing”. 85c

Edgar J. Goodspeed, another renowned Greek scholar ... explains “the adverb opse is sometimes used in the sense of “late”, with a Genitive of time ... which would mean “late on the Sabbath (in Mt.28:1). ... But opse has another sense; it is also used by late Greek writers [he mentions none] ... as a preposition meaning “after”, followed by the Genitive ... This is the sense of the word in Mt.28:1 and (it) at once clears up any difficulty ... The plain sense of the passage is: “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning”.” Quoted in TCR p. 51c


Goodspeed uses the same technique as Beckwith to mention the meaning “late” in such a way as to make it only the improbable alternative:Late does occur as the meaning for opse, yes, but, only “sometimes.The plain sense of the passage is:After ... This is the sense of the word in Mt.28:1 ... (that) at once clears up any difficulty”. The identical subtle technique of understatement and overstatement is employed in Bacchiocchi’s reference above to R.C.H. Lenski, “(“Late”) might be the sense of the Greek words used in the classics”.  But, “perceptively”, “in the koine opse is used as a preposition and means “after” . Bacchiocchi in this passage refers to Blass and Debrunner in connection with the use of “after” in Philostratus. But he seemingly deliberately keeps silent on their conclusion that Philostratus “also uses opse with the meaning of “late on”.(Robertson) See below under “Walter Bauer”.  Or Bacchiocchi never took the trouble to look up the reference.


One thing is clear, however, opse shall in each instance where it is found translated “late”, be from the classic or Hellenistic Greek, and its occurrence shall always be in the sense of “late on / in never in the sense of “after”. When claimed to “also mean”, “after”, the occurrence of opse in “late Greekparticularly Philostratus is meant. To say that opseis sometimes used in the sense of “late” ”, is misleading. Goodspeed “explains” nothing at all.


Bacchiocchi takes advantage of Goodspeed’s insinuating reasoning. On Goodspeed’s remark that “After the Sabbath”, “is the plain sense of the passage”, Bacchiocchi immediately continues, “The same explanation (for the meaning of opse in Mt.28:1) is given in several standard Greek lexicons of the New Testament.51d That creates the impression that “several” “Greek lexicons” that set the “standard” beyond doubt, give the “same explanation” that “the plain sense” of opse in Mt.28:1 is “after (the Sabbath)”. Putting it this way provides impressively persuasive style, but no content.



The present research as an exegetical attempt at solving the question of opse’s meaning in Mt.28:1 confirms that the old scholars were correct. Translators and commentators like Tyndale and Wycliffe, the committee for the translation of the Authorised Version, the committee for the translation of the Revised Version, Lightfoot with his translation, Young and Webster, are all in the same company. The “host of scholars” who favour a rendering of opse in Mt.28:1 with “late on” need not retreat one bit for Bacchiocchi’s “host of scholars” favouring the “after” meaning.


Before the second world war a debate was started in certain circles on the meaning of the word opse in Mt.28:1. At that time Dr. Young (His Concordance was first published 1879) and Dr Knoch’s translation of Mt.28:1 formed the core of contention. Blass was the authority called upon for support for the meaning of “after” for opse . Walter Bauer’s Wörterbuch was published in 1958. It instantly was regarded “a standard Greek lexicon” and was extensively used. Bauer’s work became the “classic” work of reference also in this ongoing debate.


W.E. Howell, in an article that “appeared in the Review and Herald” of August 1939, (quoted from Answers to Objection by Francis D. Nichol, 1952, p.798) wrote, “This interpretation (“after the Sabbath”) is further supported by Friedrich Blass, Ph.D., Th.D. Litt.D., in his Grammar of New Testament Greek, in which he says on page 97:Opse sabbaton Matthew 28:1, but not “late on the Sabbath”, since the next clause and Mark 16:1 show that the meaning must be “after the Sabbath”.” In his appendix, Dr. Blass cites two instances in the Life of Apollonius, by Philostratus, a philosopher of Roman Imperial Period (A.D. 193–211. Sic.), in which opse with the Genitive has the meaning “after”; namely, opse musterion, “not till after the mysteries”, and opse touton, “after these”.


From these ... considerations” says Powell, “we must conclude, either – 1. To follow blindly the literal and usual meaning of opse, that it denotes the last part of the Sabbath, and therefor make the passage mean that the Sabbath continued till daylight on the first day of the week, which view would be absurd; or, 2. To interpret opse in the light of its context and of the confirming testimony of three other Gospel writers, and give it the obvious meaning of “after the sabbath” ... which is entirely rational.

Confirming testimony of three other Gospel writers” … We would like to see this claim substantiated!


To follow the literal and usual meaning of opse is no “blind” act but sound hermeneutic principle and “entirely rational”. Opsedenoting the last part of the Sabbath”, does notmake the passage mean that the Sabbath continued till daybreak on the first day of the week”. It is of course “absurd”, “that the Sabbath would continue on the first day”. The idea as such is entirely irrational and results, not from the concept that opse should mean “late”, but from the concept that it should mean “after”. Therefore Mt.28:1 should read “Late the Sabbath’s afternoon against the First Day”. “Daybreak” is irrelevant and arbitrarily involved. Opse in Mt.28:1 implies the “Sabbath’s” “late” part – not daybreak the morrow following.


Blass chooses for “after” as the meaning of opse in the case of Mt.28:1. “After” is not what Blass supports as its predominant meaning. Blass chooses for “after” as the meaning of opse in the case of Mt.28:1 not because “after” is the real meaning of opse, but, as he says, “Since the next clause (“at dawn on Sunday”) and Mark 16:1 (“when the Sabbath has passed”) show that the meaning must be “after the Sabbath””. Blass’s reason is nothing but inference from a preconceived meaning of “the next clause”, tehi epifohskousehi, and an abstract association between the women’s “going to look at the grave” (of Mt.28:1) and their purchase of spices (according to Mk.16:1). It is “shown”, Blass alleges, “that the meaning must be “after the Sabbath”.” It is only to accommodate tradition and a biased personal conviction that it “must beafter the Sabbathwhen the angel descended from heaven to open the grave. Only tradition further demands that it “must not only be “after the Sabbath”, but also “at dawn on Sunday”. By saying it “must be”, Blass reveals the same biased preconception betrayed by Bauer’s remark, “our literature”.


Blass, as Bauer, decides as traditionalist Christian for the meaning of “after” for opse in Mt.28:1.


Mk.16:1 should not be associated with Mt.28:1 at all. The subject matter differs completely. The meaning of the “next clausetehi epifohskousehi is the object of investigation here and has already been shown not to mean “at dawn”, but “afternoon”. (See further discussed below, Blass’s depending on “the next clause” and Mk.16:1 is meaningless. Mark 16:1 would not “show” that opsemust” mean “after” even if Sunday was not presupposed to be the day of Jesus’ resurrection because Mk.16:1 has nothing to do with the resurrection or its time. Blass further uses the two quoted phrases from Philostratus to illustrate the meaning he attaches to opse in Mt.28:1. These are those phrases from two centuries after Matthew was written. Why could Howell – who completely depends on Blass for both his argument and information – not remind his readers of the myriad of occurrences of the use of opse with the meaning of simply “late” before and during the time Matthew was written? Why is Mark compared with Matthew while he does not even use the term in connection with the women’s alleged visit to the grave in 16:1? Why is no reference made to Mark where he does use the term opse? Obviously because Mark uses it with no other meaning than “late”. But the most important reason for quoting Howell here is to illustrate the fact that after 60 years nothing has changed but the length of the list of scholars who depend on the grandiosity of the array of their references. See further under “Walter Bauer”.


Modern Greek Translations

Howell, in his conclusion, point 2, also claims that “the obvious meaning of “after the sabbath”, (is) supported by the Modern Greek translation, by a Greek, from the original New Testament Greek”. (Emphasis CGE) Howell does not quote the scholar who did this “Modern Greek translation”. We hope to have had the same version available. The version here quoted in Mt.28:1 reads, Argha de kata tehn nukta tehn hohran pou ecsemerohmen. Literally translated: “Light (being) about / almost / against night the hour somehow outgoing day”. This is a description that fits the afternoon like a glove. Whether afternoon or dawn, this time specification in any case limits the event – the resurrection – to the day that was running “out”, the Sabbath. It does not place the event on the incoming day, Sunday, like: Meta to sabbaton, molis archise na phohtidzehi heh prohteh tehs hebdomados which obviously echoes Justin. It’s not so modern after all and says exactly the opposite the Textus Receptus, the NA, and, WH, unanimously, say.


Walter Bauer

When explaining the meaning of opsia as a “Substantive” (noun), Bauer unhesitatingly defines it, “Der Abend”. But when he explains opse in the phrases es opse, mechris opse and heohs opse, no time at dawn or before sunrise is implied, but time “before evening” – “bis zum Abend” = “till evening”. Opse as complement of an incomplete predication (“als Prädikat”), e.g. in hotan opse egeneto, is explained as “wenn es Abend geworden war”. This phrase is ambiguous and means – just as the English, “when it became evening”. The meaning can be before, or after it had become evening. Where simply an adverb, opse means “spät” (“late”): opse tehs hohran, “spät an der Stunde” (“a late hour”). When it is opse ousehs tehs hohras (literally, “late being the hour”), Bauer gives “wenn es Abend geworden war” – “when it became / had become evening”! It is obvious that Bauer’s use of the noun, “evening” is out of place unless the phrase is taken to mean still late afternoon “while becoming evening”. Bauer’s explanation thus is in agreement with the “late” meaning of opse. His interpretation “am (an dem) Abend” for opse in Mk.13:35 should also be understood in the sense of “before evening” (taking “evening” as from sunset on). In the LXX opse in Gn.24:11 indicates the late of day, afternoontowards the evening”.Bauer’s expression very closely resembles the English “toward evening”. Bauer  clarifies:spät am Tag, das heist, am Abendlate in day, that is, against / toward / at evening. Young translates opse in Mt.28:1 with, “In the eve of the sabbaths”. “Eve” is defined, “The period immediately before an event” CollinsEve” is the archaic term for “evening”. “Evening” is defined, “The latter part of the day, especially from late afternoon until nightfall. In this respect Bauer’s “Abend” for opse is in full agreement with the equivalent English usage of the word “evening” as an equivalent of the archaic “eve”: After-sunset-time is excluded.

What Bauer thinks opse should mean is definitely not what almost every scholar who refers to his Wörterbuch for the purpose of this debate wishes. Like Bacchiocchi, who writes, “The same explanation”, namely “The plain sense of the passage … “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning”, 51c “is given in several standard Greek lexicons of the New Testament. Walter Bauer’s lexicon, for example, points out that opse is “used as an improper preposition with Genitive [meaning] after, (opse sabbaton) after the Sabbath (Matthew 28:1)”. Bauer gives several examples of this usage (“after”) including one of Polyaemus (sic) where the following phrase occurs: “later (opse) than the hour decided upon”.” 51d / 52a (Emphasis Bacchiocchi’s.)

How could “later (opse) than the hour decided upon” mean “after? it simply means later than the hour originally decided upon, or, “still later”! “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning is the plain sense of tradition!

The phrase, “Later than the hour decided upon”, cannot be “included” under the category of phrases that mean “after” because “after the hour of the relevant period decided upon” is still “later than the hour decided uponwithin the relevant period. No fixed hour is inferred in relation to which the time could be compared, to say “after” that hour. The phrase intends to say only that it got “later than the hour estimatedwithin the implied period. It could have been “later than the originally planned hour” on the same day.It was later than (we) thought. Ironically Bauer translates this phrase using the word “later and not “after” – “später als die [ausgemachte] Stunde”. “After” is not even mentioned as an alternative by Bauer. But Bacchiocchi claims “Bauer gives several examples of this usage (“after”) including one of Polyaemus (sic) where the following phrase occurs: “later (opse) than the hour decided upon”.


Bacchiocchi – even worse – while calling on Bauer’s explanation alleges the dawn for the time “after the Sabbath”! Bauer in no wise associates the idea of “after the Sabbath” with Sunday morning!


Blass and Debrunner define “the phrase simply as “zu später Stunde” (comparative) which is nothing but saying “late. The German comparative or no comparative, the Greek does not have the comparative. Blass and Debrunner’s use of the comparative, however, limits the word opse’s meaning to that of an adverb and excludes a prepositional meaning. The idea of “after” is completely foreign and definitely is not suggested by Bauer or Blass and Debrunner as a possible meaning for opse in this phrase which Bacchiocchi claims Bauer uses with the meaning “after”. Bacchiocchi totally relies on this statement in support of the meaning of “after” for opse also in Mt.28:1. Of course Bacchiocchi is not the only scholar who follows this method of hermeneutics.


Scholars like Bacchiocchi assume more than what Bauer ever claimed. Bauer never thought of opse to indicate the early morning – not in Mt.28:1 or anywhere! Bauer would still think of “after the Sabbath” as the “evening which to him is a “late hour of day” even if he reckoned opse meant “after” in Mt.28:1. Bauer never defines opse the early morning and if he had the early morning in mind as its meaning he is mistaken as anyone else that is led by traditional thinking. The only incidence of opse for which Bauer employs the word “after” (“nach”), is Mt.28:1. No other! And then he does not come near to equalising this time “after” the Sabbath, with Sunday morning!

Bauer notices the occurrence of opseSince Homer, (in) Papyri, (the) LXX, Philo, Josephus and the Sibyline Oracles”, as an “Adverb”, meaning, “Late, with Genitive” (“Spät mit Genitiv”). Philo (one) died about the time the first documents of the New Testament began to appear. Josephus’ (two) life perfectly overlapped the time of the New Testament’s origin. The LXX (three) was most influential to the Greek of the New Testament, while the classic literature (four) formed the basis of the “Hellinistic” or “Koine” Greek of the New Testament. In this Greek of before the Greek of the New Testament and of the first century – the use of opse is with its meaning of “late” – without exeption. Its use in Mt.28:1 should also be understood as with the sense of “late”. It would not only be the natural way to interpret this word, but the correct way. Nowhere in the vast etymological ocean of Greek literature can the mutation of the species “opse, Preposition with Genitive meaning After” be traced. It is the most conspicuous missing link in the etymological chain of the genus opis. But then it “appears suddenly” – two to three solid aeons of a century each later – only to be a literary coelacanth – all the while surviving unchanged, still, meaning “late”. (This will shortly be demonstrated and confirmed at the hand of the extracts from Philistratus’ “Life of Apollonius”.)


Bacchiocchi claims “several examples where opse (allegedly, according to Bauer) means “after .” These “examples” are misquotes because Bauer only in the case of Mt.28:1 unequivocally states that opse, there – in Mt.28:1 – means “after”. Bauer also, for the incidence of opse used as an “(improper) preposition with the Genitive, meaning “after” ”, refers to one instance only, Mt.28:1. And the “several examples” claimed by Bacchiocchi – “examples” that Bauer gives as examples of the use of opse as an “improper preposition with the Genitive”– and not, “meaning “after” – actually “includebut four phrases meaning “late! This must be emphasised because Bauer with the usual phrases “quoted” from him is always called upon with fanfare to support the meaning of “after” for opse.


Bauer says of opse under point “-3.” “As (unreal) preposition used with the Genitive “after” opse sabbatohn “after the Sabbath” – “als (uneigentliche) Präposition mit dem Genitiv gebraucht, “nach” …” He subsequently brackets the remainder of the instances of opse’s occurrence used “as preposition with the Genitive under this point –3. From Aelianus, (Claudius, 175-235 A.D, of “second Sophistic school” – Kittel) edited in 1864 by R. Hercher and Polyaenus,  (of Macedonia. Wrote to Marcus Aurelius in 162 A.D.) edited in 1887 by J. Melber, (and Schöll)  Bauer takes the phrase opse tehs hohras. He then supplies his interpretation for this phrase, “später als die [ausgemachte] Stunde” – “later than the hour [discerned]”. That’s all. Bauer says “later”, not “after”!


The fact that Bauer groups other references to opse with Mt.28:1 under point –3. should not be interpreted as that he saw identical meanings, “after”, in all of them. The only thing identical between the excerpts of this classification is their composition – they all consist of the presumedpreposition with Genitive”. See Par. When it comes to “meaning “after” “, Bauer mentions but oneexample” – Mt.28:1! To explain his immediately following references Bauer uses this sign: “=”. That means he defines Aelianus and Polyaenus’ use of opse as “later”: “= später als …”. Again immediately after reference to Aelianus and Polyaenus, Bauer refers to Philostratus’ use of the word. Bauer gives no “meaningbut refers to two other authors, “E. Tobac and J. Maiworm” without quoting anything from them. I can just imagine that these authors have nothing different to say than Bauer.


The usual explanation of a late time within the period concerned is given by Bauer and / or by Blass and Debrunner for every of the “several examples” that Bacchiocchi quotes but one, opse toutohn – “after these (things)”. This is the one – and only – instance which Robertson sees as a case of the ablative.


Blass and Debrunner do not give their own explanation of the phrase opse mustehriohn. Like Zahn’s statement, “erst nach” – “only after”, theirs, reflects a common interpretation. But see Par., p. 51.

Bauer refers to Flavius Philostratus, second to third century, TCR 51c Life of Apollonius 4, 18 for the phrase opse mustehriohn; Ref. Par., p. 54  To 6,10, for the phrase opse toutohn; Ref. Par., p. 56  And to Heroicus 12, p. 190, 10, for the phrase opse tehs machehs. Ref. Par. p. 59  He categorises these phrases under the type of opse being used “with the Genitive”, bracketed under “point” “-3. Bauer gives no interpretation or explanation of his own. He does however supply reference to

Blass and Debrunner and their paragraph 164. Blass and Debrunner in their par. 164.1 say of the excerpts opse tohn trohikohn, and opse tohn Olumpiadohn: Ref. Par. p. 59but [in contrast with the meaning of “after”] surely partitive (Genitive), late in the Trojan war” – “aber sicher partitiv, spät im troianischen Krieg”. Ref. Par. p. 58 (“Surely” then, it should be “late in the Olympic (games)” as well!) There seems to be no difference between opse tehs machehs and opse tohn trohikohn. Both phrases relate a late time during a war.And likewise”, that is, “surely late in”, says their Grammar, does the phrase opse tehs hohras in the Letter to the Philomelians, mean, “at a late hour” – “zu später Stunde”. See Par., p. 25,,


Bauer cannot allow opse to mean “late” in Mt.28:1 because, for him, it should indicate the Sabbath as the day of resurrection and not Sunday. Bauer does not state this supposition in so many words, but it without doubt forms the background against which he interprets opse in Mt.28:1. Bauer derives the conclusion that opse means “after” not from Philostratus, not from the ancient writers, not from Matthew 28:1, and not from its use with a Genitive. He forms his opinion of Mt.28:1 on the basis of the traditional belief that Jesus’ resurrection took place “after the Sabbath, on the First Day”. He specifies this Scripture as “our literature”, thus revealing the biased position of traditionalist Christian from which he ascribes the meaning of “after” to opse in Mt.28:1.Our literature” is traditional Christian literature. Scholars and translations that depend on Bauer’s interpretations, also accept a priori a Sunday resurrection indicated in Mt.28:1. Bauer – unlike some dependants – was never involved in a debate to determine the validity of his assumption of a Sunday resurrection when he investigated the various incidences of the use of the term opse. Bauer did not give the word its meaning – he only researched its occurrence. A Sunday resurrection was accepted without question. Bauer does the same. Appeal made to Bauer by scholars to confirm the meaning “after (the Sabbath)” in Mt.28:1 does injustice to Bauer. It results in an incorrect understanding of Bauer’s explanations of opse generally and usually but for Mt.28:1. They make Bauer say what they want him to say. The way Bauer is inappropriately applied, are Blass and “Blass Debrunner” misapplied.)


Bacchiocchi “Concludes” See Appendix p. 300

In Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi’s document The Times of the Crucifixion and Resurrection whatever he fails to prove with evidence or argument as it pertains the meaning of opse, he transforms into “fact” by presumption or conclusion.The existence of these time approximations in the Gospels – the allegedly different times given by the Gospels for the women’s “visit to the sepulchre”- says he, “suggests the possibility that Matthew also may have used opse loosely, simply to indicate that the women went to the sepulchre after the Sabbath was over and as the first day was dawning.50 / 51 “The fact that “opse” could mean not only the late hours of the day [Mk.11:19], but also the early hours of the new day, suggests the possibility that Matthew have used the term as an approximate time reference simply to indicate that the Sabbath was over when the women went to the sepulchre.50b

Bacchiocchi had at his disposal nothing but a “suggested possibility” for arguing that Matthew “also” used opseloosely” as an “approximate time reference”. But he through pure assumption, precludes that it is a “fact”. He starts page 87, Times of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, with the heading, “Conclusion”. The 4th paragraph of this “conclusion” reads,

“... we have shown in chapter 4 that even if Matthew used the sunset reckoning consistently, it is not necessary to place the Resurrection and the visit of the women to the sepulchre on Saturday afternoon, in order to do justice to Matthew 28:1, since the term opse is used in the New Testament and in contemporary Greek literature as meaning not only “late” but also “after” . (Emphasis CGE).


In the above considerations on each and every incidence of opsein the New Testament (only in Mark 11:11, 19; 13:35) and “in contemporary Greek it was found that opse is used exclusively as the opposite of prohi – “morning”. It is used for the “late” part of day or afternoon “on” any given day, or, for the “late” part within any given period. In nocontemporary Greek” – Greek of the first century A.D. – is opsealso to be found with the meaning of “after. Such a use is – also but allegedly – to be found only in the “late Greek” of two centuries after the writing of the New Testament, and only in the Life of Apollonius written by Philostratus. Bacchiocchi’s “conclusion” is lauded with startling nonchalance but (using his own words), it merely is an “ignoble and baseless” claim that “lacks both Biblical and historical support

and which “the cumulative witness of the Gospels and of history clearly supports(60d) not and clearly contradicts. It “does no justice to Mt.28:1”!


How does Bacchiocchi arrive at the “conclusion” that opse is used in the New Testament with “also” the meaning of “after”? He says Matthew “also may have used opse loosely”. Saying “also”, implies that opse is used by other writers of the New Testament, “loosely”. But only Mark “also” uses opse. And he uses the term with exact meaning, in fact, Mark applies the word as the exclusive opposite ofdawn”. (See Par. Saying that Matthew “also may have used opse loosely”, implies that Matthew used opse more than once without discriminating between its alleged “dual meaning” of “after” or “late”. This implication makes Bacchiocchi’s assumption unfounded because Matthew uses opse but once in Mt.28:1.


Sitz im Leben

In an age of quarts watches, when even seconds count, we expect the same accuracy from Bible writers, who had only the sun at their disposal to measure time”.50c

Being dependent on one another and on astrological indications for living with time, man of earlier times developed an acute intimacy socially and with nature for communicating time. Words and custom meant something, not anything or nothing. A greater awareness and accuracy of time perception even to the half of an hour pervades the literature of early ages. Cf. Dionysius  Those people did not “loosely” go about time and the observance or recording of time. Unambiguous use of language during these eras was essential for indicating and recording time. Only the sun served as “watch”. The very etymology of the term “watch” illustrates the relevancy of this observation. Basic logic of time perception has also not changed in the least. “Early” still is a relative concept while “dawn never was a “time approximation” of “late”! “Late” remains a relative concept that is never mistaken for “dawn”. Neither would the Gospels use “late” – opse, for “glow of dayspring”.

Bacchiocchi mentions an example of how careless the writers of the New Testament allegedly went about with time indication.The concern of Bible writers however, seems to have been more with reporting the actual events than with the precise time of their occurrence. Mark, for example, says that Jesus was crucified approximately three hours earlier (“it was the third hour” – Mk.15:25) than John (“it was about the sixth hour” – Jn.19:16).” See Par.”, says Bacchiocchi, “the visit to the sepulchre occurred “while it was still dark” according to John (20:1) and “when the sun had risen” according to Mark (16:2). The existence of these time approximations in the Gospels suggests the possibility that Matthew also may have used opse loosely, simply to indicate that the women went to the sepulchre after the Sabbath was over and as the first day was dawning.50/51  The question should be allowed: While the Gospels go about “loosely” with “time approximations”, why not use opsesimply to indicate that the women went to see the sepulchre”  late Sabbath’s in the light being toward the First Day”? The answer is audible: Because opse means “after”, and not “late”. In other words, when not suiting tradition, these time indications are no “approximations” but specific indicators. And if they are specific and precise, then the differences in time concerning the crucifixion and resurrection used to illustrate the “loose” use of the term opse, become irrefutable contradictions. Emil Brunner’s observation that Christianity is dishonest in the way it tries to reconcile the contradictions must come to mind as long as the traditional explanations are maintained and refused to be demolished by a suitable alternative. These very “contradictions” in the records of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are the foremost “evidence” which atheists organisationally use for propagating not only the denial of the truth of the Bible but of God himself.



Opse is not a preposition because it occurs with the Genitive. Bauer also does not say that. That opse is a preposition is not found in the text like the Genitive is. If “use with the Genitive” is the needed formula to catalyst opse into changing from an adverb into a preposition, then it would as a rule have meant “after” because it is used with the Genitive regularly. Opse normally occurs with the Genitive while acting as an adverb – which it “properly” is – and as a rule means “late (in)”. Being an adverb, the comparative and superlative, opsiateros, opsiatata, are derived from opse. Were opse a preposition a comparative and superlative would have been impossible.


Opse is not a preposition because it occurs with a nomen either. It functions adverbially while in relation to a noun. The word prohi, for example, is applied without other syntactical correlation with a noun, acting as an adverb. E.g., “Early (in the morning) the First Day” – prohi miai tohn sabbatohn. As with prohi, opse acts also as adverb to the main verb. In Mk.16:2 it is, “early the First Day came (the women)” – prohi miai erchontai; In Mt.28:1–2 it is “late Sabbath’s came an earthquake” – opse sabbatohn seismos egeneto. Bauer states that opse, “since Homer”, acted as an “adverb with the Genitive” – of the noun. (In par. opse toutohn as substantivised phrase.)


A preposition is implied as in the phrase “late (on) the day”, “late (in) the season”. Opse as an adverb will pertain to this preposition. No verb need be active, given or implied. Opse is not attributive – pertaining to the noun like a preposition does. An adverb – opse – does not describe direct relation to the noun, like, e.g., the preposition “after”, would: “After the day”, but it directly relates to the implied or given preposition: “Late on the First Day”, “Late in the season”, “Late in time”. In the Greek this supposed prepositions are presented in the case–inflexion: prohi miai, opse kairou, opse tehs hohras. They “rule” the verb and the time of the occurrence of the verb and thereby they rule an implied dative of time (or accusative of status). On such constructions a verb will follow which indicates the event that occurred “on the day”. In Mk.16:1 the women “came (erchontai) on the First Day”; In Mt.28:1f an earthquake “came (egeneto) in the end of the Sabbath”.


Opse “With the Genitive”

Refer Par.

Bauer calls opse an “improper preposition” in Mt.28:1, (“ein uneigentliche Präposition”) “with the Genitive”, (meaning) “after”. An “improper” preposition is an unreal preposition, and can not be substantiated with as much as one “real” example. Mt.28:1 does not support Bauer’s idea. It has already been referred to above that the use of opsewith the Genitive” does not make it a preposition, even if it were an “improper preposition”. (Neither does Robertson.) Just by assuming another meaning for the word its nature is changed. Thinking of opse as meaning “after” requires it to function as a preposition. Thinking of opse as meaning “late” requires it to function as an adverb. Grammatically everything stays as it is. One’s approach makes the difference, right or wrong.


The Genitive results from the ellipsis, “day”, in the phrase, “Late on the day of the Sabbath” – Opse hehmerai (tohn) sabbatohn. The same happens in the phrase “against the First Day of the week”, Accusative – eis mian hehmeran (tohn) sabbatohn. The Genitive from this point of view is of kind, “the week’s first day”, (Mk.16:2)the week’s (making, finishing day)” (the seventh or last day). (Mt.28:1)  This inference implies that a dative (or accusative) is supposed in such cases. “Late in the (seventh) day of the Sabbath” – opse tehi (hebdomehi) sabbatohn; “Early on the First Day of the week” – prohi tehi miai (hehmerai) tohn sabbatohn. (“Against the First Day of the week” – eis mian (hehmeran) sabbatohn, a preposition ruling the status of the day pending and the accusative.) These adverbs as “improper prepositions” do not directly rule the Genitive.


Opse is an adverb and is used with the Genitive as an adverb in Mt.28:1–4. It could be viewed as a substantivised adverb: “It became / had become the late of Sabbath’s time” – Egeneto opse sabbatohn. But opse remains an adverb – even if no verb is used. The verb is ever–present, mentioned or as an ellipsis. Such is the case in Mt.28:1, “It was late Sabbath’s time” – Ehn opse sabbatohn. One could even suppose Esabbatisen opse sabbatohn – “Being late Sabbath’s’ time”. But opse’s first function as an adverb in Mt.28:1–4 concerns the main verb or predicate of the sentence. Is that not just natural? It is, and it “at once clears up any difficulty : “Late ... there was a great earthquake on the Sabbath! 


Only one Way

To say “After the Sabbath on Sunday morning” is a waste of words. The First Day automatically follows on the Sabbath. Cf. Mk.16:1. No one would think to instruct anybody on the subject. Why mention the Sabbath at all if the idea is to say that the resurrection took place “on the First Day”? Just “on the First Day” would have said it all – as in the case of the women’s visits to the grave “on the First Day”. Then why repeat with “after the Sabbath” that it had happened “on the First Day”?

Matthew, if he wanted to say “after the Sabbath”, could (very unlikely) have said, “Outside the Sabbath” using the Genitive. But then he would have used the word ecs. He could have said “Through the Sabbath”, using the Genitive. But then he would have used the word dia. He could have meant, “Upon the Sabbath”, but would not have said epi sabbatohn – using the Genitive. He would have used the accusative. Matthew could have meant, “Beyond the Sabbath”, using huper, but he would have used the accusative, huper sabbaton.


Matthew could have meant, “Past the Sabbath”, but would have said apo sabbatohn. The construction with the preposition apo, whether used inclusively or exclusively with regard to relative time, always concerns some period of long or short duration. “After the sixth hour there was darkness”. “Hereafter you will see the Son of man sit”. In Mt.28:1 no event in progress follows. A sudden and momentary incident “late the Sabbath” occurs like lightning – nothing keeps on happeningafter the Sabbath”.


Matthew could very aptly have said (heohs) opisoh tou sabbatou – “(Till) after the Sabbath’s (had ended)” – adverb and ellipsis, like in Nh.13:19. Or he could effectively have used dieleusetai ta sabbata – “the Sabbath having gone through” – nominative subject, like in Am.8:5.


Had Matthew used meta with the Genitive instead of opse, it would have meant, “With / being / the Sabbath. To have meant “after the Sabbath”, meta with the accusative could probably have been employed. Matthew uses this construction more than a hundred times. In nearby 27:62 he employed meta to say “after (preparations’ time)”. Why didn’t Matthew use it in Mt.28:1? See also 2Macc.8:20, meta to sabbaton, 2Macc.12:32, 1Macc.10:34, “After Pentecost”, “after the Feast”. Matthew uses opse but this once. If he precisely wanted to have said “after”, he without doubt would have used meta with the accusative. He specifically uses opse with the Genitive because he wanted to precisely say “late – “on the Sabbath”!  


Philostratus’ Use of Opse

Even without having the contexts of Bauer’s references available, they can be interpreted on face value to mean “late”. Opse tehs hohras (in Aelianus and Polyaenus) need to mean nothing but what the same phrase means in the Martyrdom of Polycarp or what opse means in the Gospels, e.g. in Mk.13:35 = 6:35, where it stands for the “opposite of prohi. Cf. The Classic Series Dictionary, Follet Publishing Company “early (morning)”, Philomelians, see above. Philostratus’ phrases of opse mustehriohn (Apollonius 4, 18, Kayser part I page 138, 8) and opse toutohn (Kayser part 1 page 213, 24) should mean nothing but “late in the mysteries” / “late in events”, or, “during the late(r) mysteries” / “the late(r) events”. Opse tehs machehs need not mean anything else than “late(r) in battle”. But to put the seal on the whole matter the contexts of these references should be investigated from their texts and not from the strain of borrowings.

Life of Apollonius of Tyana

Opse Mustehriohn

Kayser I, IV, 18, p. 138 line 8

Loeb Classical Library p. 384-387, renders this passage as follows,

It was then the day of the Epidaurian festival, at which it is still customary for the Athenians to hold the initiation at a second sacrifice after both proclamation and victims have been offered; and this custom was instituted in honour of Asclepius because they still initiated him when on one occasion he arrived from Epidaurus too late for the mysteries.

In this translation (by the respected Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for whom “the Bible shon in its own light, or rather with the light of divine revelation”, - Alec Vidler) nothing suggests the idea of “after the mysteries”. Asclepius “arrived too late for the mysteries”. Simply a matter of “too late” it was! Nevertheless, opse is here translated “late”and not “after”.

       So here’s my own attempt, 


It was then the day of the Epidaurian festival      

Ehn men deh Epidauriohn hehmera.

On this festival, after announcements as well as

ta de Epidauria meta prorrusin te

rites – to the present – comes initiation

kai iereia deuro muein

by the Athenian fathers, with a second sacrifice.

Athehnaiois patrion epi thusiai deuterai,

This custom was instituted in honour of Asclepius,

touti de enomisan Asklehpiou  

who, once when they initiated him,

heneka hoti deh emuehsan auton

arrived from Epidaurus late during the mysteries.  

hehkonta Epidaurothen opse mystehriohn.

Initiation “with / during the second sacrifice” – epi thusiai deuterai (“with / during afternoon” – epi-fohs-k-ousehi, Mt.28:1), became customary “after both proclamation and rites” = iereia. That implies that “sacrifice” – thusia, and “rites”, are not identical. Iereia should not be rendered “victims offered”. Initiation came “after” – meta, “proclamation and rites”. Philostratus expresses chronological order with meta. He expresses the reletavity of a “latetime, with opse.

The original chronological order of the festival was “initiation with sacrifice”, and then,proclamation and rites”. Asclepius arrived at Epidaurus after the original first and only sacrifice, which did not end the “mysteries”, but only started it. Asclepius therefore arrived at Epidauruslate during the mysteries”, but, too late for initiationwith the sacrifice”. In honour of him, a second sacrifice was introduced and Asclepius was initiated “after proclamation and rites”. That created the precedent for the new chronological order of “proclamation and rites”, and theninitiation with the second sacrifice.

No sequential order of one period or event preceded or followed by another appears here. What happened – “initiation”, did not happen “after” a first and “on a second occasion of “mysteries”, but after the first sacrifice in stead of “with the first sacrifice, during the one occasion of “mysteries”. On this occasion “initiation” happened “with the second sacrifice” and “after  (meta) proclamation as well as rites”, “during the samemysteries”. Opse mystehriohn here can mean but “late during the single event “of the mysteries”. That means that opse is used as an adverb telling when Asclepius “arrived in Epidaurus. He “arrived there, “late during the mysetries”. Opse is no preposition relating “mysteries” to any period or event “after” or before. It says nothing of “evening” “after” the previous day and it says nothing at all of “dawn” “after” the previous day as being the meaning or implication of the adverb opse! Opse in this passage means exactly what it means in Mt.28:1. It was “late during the mysteries” – opse mystehriohn”, after “initiation with sacrifice” – muein epi thusiai”, as it was “late during the Sabbath – opse sabbatohn”, after “noon with being light epifohskousehi”. Observe, “during sacrifice” – epi thusiai, cf. Epifohskousehi.

Opse Toutohn

Kayser I, VI, 10, p. 213 line 24; Loeb Classical Library p. 28-31

The contents of the passage explains the true meaning of the words, opse toutohn, which, as in the case of opse mustehriohn, has not the remotest semblance of “evening after” or of “dawn after”.

Meeting Appolonius, “Thespesion led a group of philosophers who “followed him in procession just as the jury of the athletic sports at Olympia follow the eldest of their number. When they had sat down, they all fixed their eyes on Thespesion as the one who should regale them with a discourse, which he proceeded to do as follows: “They say, Appolonius, that you have visited the Pythian and Olympic festivals. Stratocles of Pharos who says that he met you there reported this of you here.”

Thespesion first confirms Appolonius’ familiarity with the two festivals, because his discourse assumes knowledge of both.

Now those”, Thespesion continues, “who come to the Pythian festival are, they say, escorted with sound of pipe and song and lyre, and are honoured with shows of comedies and tragedies; and then last of all (opse toutohn) they are presented with an exhibition of games and races run by naked athletes. At the Olympic festival, however, these superfluities are omitted as inappropriate and unworthy of the place; and those who go to the festival are only  provided with the show of naked athletes originally instituted by Heracles. You may see the same contrast between the wisdom of the Indians and our own. For they, like those who invite others to the Pythian festival, appeal to the crowd with all sorts of charms and wizardry; but we, like  the athletes of Olympia, go naked. Here earth strews for us no couches, nor does it yield us milk or wine as if we were bacchants, nor does the air uplift us and sustain us aloft. But the earth beneath us is our only couch, and we live by partaking of its natural fruits, which we would have it yield to us gladly and without being tortured against its will.” (Emphasis CGE)

No literal games are supposed. A debate on philosophy is waged and the different games are used as paradigms of these schools of thought and different approaches to life. The concept of time contained in the word “late” is used figuratively. Chronological time-sequence is nowhere of concern.

       Thespesion argues for the supremacy of his “wisdom”-cult, which obviously is more ascetic and earthly than the “Indian” types of wisdom. The great difference between them lies in the paraphernalia and gaudiness of the latter. Thespesion’s “sect”, after the example of the Olympic games, “goes naked” – gumnoi, and “natural” – ta kata fusin.In contrast with ours”, the Indian wisdom, to the analogy of the Pythian games,appeal to the crowd with all sorts of charm and wizardry”. For the true wisdom of Thespesion’s “sect”, “the sound of pipe and song and lyre … comedies and tragedies” – the main dish at the Pythian games – represent nothing but pretense and sophistry,superfluity and “inappropriateness. In contrarst, in the Indian types of “wisdom”, as in the Pythian games, the genuine, the “pure” or “naked” and “natural”, are the superfluous and inappropriate – “these last thingsopse toutohn. The disciplines “originally instituted by Heracles are reduced to a scanty after-dishopse toutohn (= epiforehma).

Those who come to the Pythian games are escorted with sound of pipe and song and lyre and honoured with shows of comedies and tragedies, and then last of alleita, they are presented with an exhibition of games and races run by naked athletes last of allopse toutohn. Opse toutohn will not be the mere duplication of “and then” – eita. Giving opse toutohn the meaning “last of all”, makes for nonsensical repetition. The passage intends to say, “Those who come to the Pythian games are escorted with sound of pipe and song and lyre and honoured with shows of comedies and tragedies, and then last of all (eita), they are presented with an exhibition of games and races run by naked athletes as mere superfluities (opse toutohn).

The naked games came “after”, the bands and comedies of the Pythian games, true. But it came “last of these things”, that is, “late within the single occasion of the Pythian games, and not “after” it on a following occasion. Exactly similarly does the “afternoon”, in Mt.28:1, come “after” the noon, but “late” within the same day of the Sabbath, and not “after” it on the following day of the First day of the week.


Opse tohn Trohikohn

Kayser II, V, I, p. 171 line 4

Refer Par., p 61

       Philoktehtehs de ho Poiantos estrateuse men opse tohn Trohikohn, arista de anthrohpohn etocseuen, Hehrakleous, phasi, tou Alkmehnehs mathohn auto, kai klehronomehsai legetai tohn tocsohn, hopote Hehraklehs apiohn tehs anthrohpeias phuseohs auton te parestehsato kai to en tehi Oitehi pyhr.

       Philoktetes strategised late in the Troyan war …. There’s no sense in strategising when the war is over. Philostratus uses opse just like he uses it elsewhere, namely to describe the end-phase of a greater event. So Tyndale and the Authorised Version translated the word in Mt.28:1, “in the end of the Sabbath” – not “after” it. Opse consequently and consistently with Philostratus means “in the end of …” = “late during …”. In the instance here yet another, be it a last exercise of war. What the outcome was, is not of importance for finding the meaning of the phrase of interest to us, except that what happened, happened not “after the Troyan war”, but “late during” it. We may confidently echoe Blass and Debrunner, “Well surely late in the Troyan war! Where the Classic Greek DictionaryPrepared by George Ricker Berry, Ph.D” gets the idea from of “long after the Troyan war”, only he knows.

Opse tehs Machehs

Kayser II, X11, p. 190 line 10

Refer Par., p 61

       … alla karterohs agohnisamenon  kai monon tohn Trohohn katameinanta ecsoh tou teixous pesein opse tehs machehs, apothanonta de helchthehnai men anehrtehmenon tou harmatos, apodothehnai de, hohs Homehrohi eirehtai. “…staying outside the wall to fall late during the battle hung behind the chariot being dragged to die as it had been told Homerus”.

This happened not “after the battle”; this happened “in the battle’s end”— which is the precise meaning of an Ablative!


Opse tohn Olympiadohn

Kayser II, XIII, p. 268 line 21

Damaretos de kata tehn hecsehcostehn pemptehn prohtos hoplitou legetai tuchein Hehraieus, oimai, ohn. hekatostehi kai tessapakostehi kai pemptehi Olympiadi paida pankratiastehn enegrapsan ouk oida ecs hotou bradeohs auton ennoehsantes eudokimounta ehdeh par” heterois – opse gar tohn Olympiadohn Aigyptou ehdeh stephanoumenehs ehrcsato, kakeineh de heh nikeh Aigyptiou Phaidimou.

As in any games the laurels are given and the conquest celebrated after the contest but still during the games. It is part thereof and constitutes “the Games’ ending” – here, “in the end of the Olympics”. This is typical of Philostratus’ use of the adverb, opse – which he uses not once as “an improper preposition”. (Bauer)

Some Understandable Questions

Professor Bacchiocchi Might Recognise

Not Too Strange to Answer

I include here, questions on just this point – the point of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead “in Sabbath’s time” (Matthew). The reader will find it is a continuation of my discussion with SK in Part 1 / 2, Par.

(Professor Bacchiocchi is acquainted with my views and criticisms – well enough to say he cannot understand me. I limit my questions to what Professor Bacchiocchi had time for to write books about and what he understands well enough to apply in confutation of men like Tyndale, Webster, Lightfoot, Young and Knoch, Coleridge – and centuries before them, Dionysius.)

Professor Bacchiocchi, I today have some questions for you on your interpretation of the phrase in Mt.28:1, “In the end of the Sabbath”. (We all know what happened in the end of the Sabbath although, it seems to me, we do not all believe it.)

First Question: Professor Bacchiocchi, How can you claim “numerous evidences” (The Time of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, p. 49, 84 et al.) that Matthew uses the sunrise day-reckoning and not the sunset day-reckoning in chapter 28:1 while you fail to present a single example of his use of the sunrise reckoning – but 28:1 itself?

          (Professor Bacchiocchi most probably will explain with reference to the Greek word opse which in most translations of Mt.28:1 is rendered “after”.)

          ((( At this point my Roman Catholic friend, SK, asks, “Without Greek, I would argue that if the word (opse) is best translated “dawn” or “sunrise” then that must be the case. If it was always read this way by its readers, then that must also be the case. So we are left with explaining why the Sabbath is even mentioned … surely the fact that Matthew wanted to emphasise the time-line (Prep day … Sabbath … Third day) is


sufficient? He could even have wanted to emphasise that the Sabbath events of the priests (see vv 62-66 of chapter 27) were now over, and he did that by ending the Sabbath in verse 1 of the next chapter?

          Dear SK, please explain to me how you come to conclude that “If it was always read this way by its readers, then that must also be the case … that if the word (opse) is best translated “dawn” or “sunrise”? Maybe the strong traditional predisposition of a Roman Catholic may find it not too strange to fathom. However, it was NOT always read this way by its readers, which must be deduced from opse’s use during ages of Greek before and during the first century wherein it had the exclusive meaning of “late”. Even the modern Greek translation of Mt.28:1 says “About outgoing day before the First Day”. Ref. P. 42,, p. 83,  )))

          My Second Question is: Professor Bacchiocchi, You claim the Greek word opse in Mt.28:1 should be understood to mean “after”, and not “in the end of the Sabbath” as in the King James Version or “late on the Sabbath” as others explain it. In The Time of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, your statement reads as if A.T. Robertson is saying, Later Greek authors, like Philostratus, use the word  in the sense of “after”, like opse toutohn “after these things” ”. Mark the quotation marks – the emphasis and underlining are mine. But the quotation marks are Bacchiocchi’s!

The question is, 1, Does A.T. Robertson simply say that “Philostratus shows examples where opse has the sense of “after”, like opse toutohn – “after these things” ” – as you, Professor Bacchiocchi, assert he does? (Robertson says, “Philostratus shows examples where opse with the ablative has the sense of “after”, like opse toutohn – “after these things” ”. Bacchiocchi keeps Robertson’s consideration of the Ablative, mum. If the use of opse in Mt.28:1 is regarded as a case of the Ablative, the KJV supplies the perfect example, “In the end of the Sabbath”!)

((( Here SK suggests, “Why? My Greek is poor, but of ablatives and such I know a little. If Matt 28:1 uses an ablative, and if Philostratus does show examples, and Robertson agrees, then surely Bacchiocchi’s interpretation IS acceptable?

Tuesday my son had his birthday party. After the party all enjoyed watching as he opened his presents. That is the meaning of the Ablative. “After” in fact is still part and parcel of the party. The example given from Philostratus, “after these things”, contextually has the meaning of “superfluities” (Coleridge) that should come after the games but were made such a fuss of one might think they are the games! (Refer Part 2, Par.,  p. 56) Bacchiocchi’s interpretation IS  UNacceptable and opse’s use in Mt.28:1 means “in the end of the Sabbath” = “Late-

Sabbath’s time”! )))

          The question further is, 2, Does A.T. Robertson say, “later Greek authors, like Philostratus” – as you, Professor Bacchiocchi, assert he does? Does A.T. Robertson use the plural?

(Robertson says, “Philostratus shows examples”, “Philostratus uses it (the word opse) also in the sense of …”. Robertson speaks of no other author than Philostratus.)

The question further is, 3, Does A.T. Robertson say, “Philostratus use(s) the word “in the sense of “after” ” – as you, Professor Bacchiocchi, assert he does?

(Robertson’s exact words are, “Philostratus uses it (opse) also in the sense of late on” – directly the opposite of what Bacciocchi pretends Robertson says!)

((( Here SK says, “Okay. So opse can mean either.

SK obviously misses the point that Robertson says Philostratus uses the word opsewith the Ablative in the sense of “after” ” – which Bacchiocchi omits to say – and also, that “Philostratus uses it also in the sense of late on” (supposing a use with the Genitive) which Bacchiocchi also keeps silent! I bet Bacchiocchi never himself looked at Philostratus or at Robertson. And if he did, his reference to either is dishonest! )))

My Third Question is: Professor Bacchiocchi, In your 4th paragraph on page 87 of The Time of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, you state, “...the term opse is used in the New Testament and in contemporary Greek literature as meaning not only “late” but also “after” ”. (Emphasis as I supplied it.) I take it you mean with “contemporary Greek literature”, first century Greek literaturethat is, “Greek literature” “contemporary” with “New Testament” “Greek”.

Now, Professor Bacchiocchi, please supply us with just one example from THIS Greek of the incidence of the “use”, of opse, with the “meaning …(of) “after”? Will it be Mt.28:1, perhaps?

((( Here SK comments, “That answer would be interesting, yes.”

Dear SK, I mean that Bacchiocchi certainly will present Mt.28:1 for his example, and no other. )))

Then, Professor Bacchiocchi, please explain to us how you “… have … (done) justice to Matthew 28:1” by applying to the word opse in Mt.28:1, your, alleged meaning from Philostratus of two centuries later than the time of the New Testament’s composition?

Then, Professor Bacchiocchi, please explain to us how your “conclusion” is lauded with such startling nonchalance, that, 1, To say that opse means “late in / on the Sabbath” in Mt.28:1, is an “ignoble and baseless attempt” that “lacks both Biblical and historical support”, and, 2, that your meaning for opse, “after”, (60d TCR) is “clearly support(ed)” by “the

cumulative witness of the Gospels and of history?

((( Here SK comments, “I have … also not seen the case in favour of your view.” SK won’t have had the privilege to read Mt.28:1 correctly translated. His inability must be forgiven. But he will find every incidence I could lay my hands on of opse’s use in the history of classic and Hellenistic Greek literature as well as in Philostratus’ works, considered in LD. )))

My fourth question for you, Professor Bacchiocchi, today is on your use of Walter Bauer’s interpretation of the phrase “In the end of the Sabbath” in Mt.28:1.

In The Times of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, p. 51-52, you assert, “The same explanation … “after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning”, is given in several standard Greek lexicons of the New Testament. Walter Bauer’s lexicon, for example, points out that opse is “used as an improper preposition with Genitive [meaning] after, (opse sabbaton) after the Sabbath … Bauer gives several examples of this usage (“after”) including one … where the following phrase occurs: “later than the hour decided upon”.

The question in the first place must obviously be, Professor Bacchiocchi, How can you say Walter Bauer “gives several examples of this usage “after ”, when the phrase that occurs in the very example you quote from him, reads, “later than the hour decided upon?

But, the question in the second place, Professor Bacchiocchi, for any person who has not checked your references, is less obvious. It is this: How can you say Walter Bauer “gives several examples of this usage “after” ”, when he gives but four examples, and all four of opse meaning “late”, and none but Mt.28:1 itself as an example of opse

meaning “after?

The question in the third place, Professor Bacchiocchi, is: Where does Bauer ever state or imply that opse means “after … as … day … was dawning?

(While Bauer favours “after the Sabbathin Matthew 28:1, he would think of opse with regard to Mt.28:1 as representing the “evening”. He defines opse, a “late hour of day”. Bauer never defines opse in terms or concept of the early morningdawning! Neither does A.T. Robertson, or anyGreek author” of any period of history!)

          ((( Here SK remarks, “I would like independent corroboration of that. If the Christian world for 2000 years – including those who read the original texts in their own language – read it the way I do, and passed it on to their descendants the way I do, I need conclusive proof of what you claim.

          Dear SK, you have said it here. You explain exactly why and how Tradition gets a foothold and retains it in general opinion. I cannot think of a better or more recent instance that came to the fore of such Tradition-determined understanding of the direct opposite meaning of words’ actual meaning than Mark 15:42 and Mt.27:57! What made me aware of it at first was no pre-conceived ideas – I believed the traditional way! – but the very changes new Versions make to the older translations. Nobody ever made an issue of the fact that evening had come before Joseph asked Jesus’ body of Pilate. Everybody – like I – just never noticed. Despite the very words they read – that “evening had come” – people through the centuries read these verses while seeing in their minds how it all happened before sunset. Then came the new Translations and all of a sudden there’s reason to ask, But why do these new Translations no longer say “when evening had come”, but “as evening approached” or “late noon”? )))

My last question, Professor Bacchiocchi, on Mt.28:1, is: Kindly tell us Robertson’s final conclusion on this matter?

( “It is a point for exegesis, not for grammar, to decide. If Matthew has in mind just before sunset, “late on” would be his idea; if he means after sunset, then “after” is correct.” Robertson allows the “morning” or “dawn” no consideration! The time of day involved revolves around sunset, according to Robertson! )

Then, Professor Bacchiocchi, in your End-Time Issue No. 73, you claim, I quote, “… were the Gospels’ writers alive today, I have reason to believe that they would appreciate help in correcting some of their inaccuracies. Incidentally, some of the inaccuracies are very glaring. For example, the Synoptic Gospels place Christ’s crucifixion on the day after Passover (Nisan 15), while John on the actual Passover day (Nisan 14). It would be nice if we could ask them to reconcile their differences and give us the exact date of the Crucifixion.

Dear Prof. Bacchiocchi, you say John places Christ’s crucifixion “on the actual Passover day” (that is, on the actual Feast Day), which is plainly untrue, because John says “it was the Preparation of Passover”. This day, you say, “the Synoptic Gospels place on the day after Passover” – while they say it was the very day “the passover should be slaughtered”!

I wrote on my book, The Lord’s Day in the Covenant of Grace, over twenty five years. I had the arguments of Paragraphs such as p. 60,, page 102,, p. 155 of Part Two, etc., fully formulated when for the first time only I took Justin’s reference to Mt.28:1 under scrutiny in the original.  I as it were anticipated what I discovered, that the grammatical and syntactical factors of the text are exactly switched about in order to arrive at Justin’s desired meanings essential for a Sunday-resurrection. Modern “versions” of Mt.28:1 do no different, like The New Authorised Version and this modern Greek translation, Meta to Sabbaton, molis arxise na photidzehi heh proteh hehmera tehs hebdomados – “After the Sabbath … with dawn (being – nominative) the First Day”. This, as Emil Brunner would have said, is dishonest! It is no translation, but typical of manipulations of the text. To call the rejection of such methods and the insistence on the only grammatically correct translation and interpretation of the original, “hair-splitting”, does not solve the problem. One should rather with the courage of one’s Christian conviction come to conclusive grips with it.


The “Second Time Element”?

Further support for the meaning of opse sabbaton as “after the Sabbath” rather than “late on the Sabbath”, is provided by the second time element given by Matthew to date the visit of the women to the sepulchre , namely, “toward the dawn of the first day of the week (Mt.28:1).52c (Refer Par 5.3.3.)

To regard the phrase “toward the dawn of the first day” as “the second time element”, implies that the Greek for “dawn” is taken with the Greek for “the First Day” as one. As presented by this “translation”, the Greek would have required nothing but a Genitive or dative, “of / in the First Day” – mias / miai sabbatohn. And it would have required the preposition to govern the accusative of the word for “dawn”: “toward” – eis, “the dawn” – tehn epifohskonta. Because, if the morning broke into the light of day, Mt.28:1 would have read, not, “with being light” – tehi epifohskousehi: participle in dative, and, “toward the First Day” – eis mian sabbatohn: substantive in accusative, but, “in the First Day – tehi miai sabbatohn: dative, and, “toward the being lighteis (epi)fohskonta: accusative. Also “the Sabbath” would have been in the accusative because the meaning would have been “after the Sabbath” (meta plus accusative Lk.1:24, Mk.14:1) and not Genitive, Sabbath’s (time)”!

Case and Coincidence

What is found in the Greek though, is no Genitive of the First Day, but of the Sabbathsabbatohn tehi epifohskousehi, and no preposition to govern the accusative of the word for “dawn”, but the preposition that governs the accusative of the word for “the First Day eis mian sabbatohn! To regard the phrase “toward the dawn of the first day” as “the second time element”, implies that the word for the Sabbath be completely ignored as if it were no time element of itself. But “Sabbath’s” – sabbatohn (in the phrase sabbatohn tehi epifohskousehi) is as definitely an element of time as the word tehi epifohskousehi (here translated “toward dawn”) is. To regard the phrase “toward the dawn of the first day” as “the second time element”, implies that the time phrase “toward the First Day” – eis mian sabbatohn also, will be

completely ignored as if it were no time element of itself. The actual “second time element” is “Sabbath’ssabbatohn, so that tehi epifohskousehi in fact constitutes the most importanttime element” of the comprehensive adverbial time clause of Mt.28:1.

The Sabbath Distinctly!

The plain meaning of the noun in the Genitive, “Sabbath’s” – sabbatohn, implies time of the Sabbath – “Sabbath’s (time)” – or time on or in the Sabbath – Genitive of Time. Expressed by the absence of the definite article, “Sabbath’sdenotes quality. It was real Sabbath’s time. The Genitive of the noun “Sabbath’s” – sabbatohn, occurs not as result of the ruling of a preposition (“after” – opse). The Genitive as in Mt.28:1 in sabbatohn, “Sabbath’s”, is intrinsic, and indicates source, possession, presence, attribute, kind. The time was of the Sabbath. It was the Sabbath’s time. The time was Sabbath’s. It was Sabbathly time – Genitive of Reference – “to refer (its) qualifying force to certain definite limits”. “The adverbial force is obvious” – it was time of Sabbath-keeping, it was Sabbath. (One could think Dana and Mantey comment on Mt.28:1!) Matthew says, “Sabbath’s time late by the afternoon towards the First Day” – Adverbial Genitive – it modifies the verbal idea, Christ’s resurrection’s as verbal idea is Sabbath’s action.

Opse forms part of the concept represented by the phrase sabbatohn – “Sabbath’s”: “It was the Sabbath’s time late. The phrase tehi epifohskousehi also forms part of the concept represented by the phrase sabbatohn – “Sabbath’s”: “It was the Sabbath’s afternoon” – sabbatohn tehi epifohskousehi. To interpret opse with “after”, the kind of time must change. Now there should be separation and discontinuity. The time now is away from “Sabbath’s” time. It now is on another, in its own right, time – on, the First Day. The significance of the Genitive must be destroyed.

The adverbial function of opse in Mt.28:1–4 means that the Genitive noun, “Sabbath’s” – sabbatohn, also acts independently as an adverbial phrase: “Sabbath’s … there was a great earthquake”. The phrases also function in unison, forming a single adverbial clause of indicating time: “Late on the Sabbath afternoon / Late Sabbath’s time with afternoon … there was a great earthquake”. Opse may even be taken for being substantivised: “Late (day)”, Refer Par. –2while–Sabbath”, and Sabbatohn may be taken for a Genitive participle – “being Sabbath’s”: “Sabbath’s–keeping with light being declining towards the First Day … came an earthquake”. The participle acts as adverbial time clause:Sabbath’s late … there suddenly was a great earthquake”.

To convey the idea of “after” nothing but the accusative will do unless used with the preposition apo – in which case the Genitive or rather the Ablative would have applied. (“In Modern Greek the use of apo is the regular partitive construction.”) “Yet the very fact that the Koiné (of Mt.28:1) had ready at hand a construction for the exact expression of the idea of source makes it all the more probable that (he) used the Genitive to stress character rather than source” – to borrow Dana and Manty’s words. Opse simply cannot be used with the Genitive with the meaning “after”.  The meaning “after” as well as “toward”” necessitates the accusative. This is no peculiarity of the Greek language. It is an attribute of logical expression of concepts of time and of time-relation in any tongue. Inflection is no prerequisite to create an accusative or Genitive or whatever form of speech. Although no inflection may reveal the fact the idea of separation and discontinuity also in English accompanies an accusative, while the idea of source, possession or attribute accompanies a Genitive or Ablative. “After Sabbath” is AccusativeNOT Ablative!Late Sabbath’s” is Genitive of function! In the Greek there is added the inflection to the underlying logic of expression so that no chance of misunderstanding exists. The inflection in the case of Mt.28:1 mirrors the logic of the Genitive – it was “late Sabbath’s (sabbatohn) afternoon”. The inflection in the case of Mt.28:1 also mirrors the logic of the accusative: It was not, “after Sabbath”, sabbaton, accusative. But before the “First Day”, mian sabbatohn.

The Genitive in Mt.28:1 is “surely partitive. (Blass Debrunner on opse Trohikohn) Opse – “late”, forms part of the time–unit or “sourceit is connected with by the Genitive.It is of Sabbath’s late time”; not, “It is the First Day – after the Sabbath”. Not, ““It is of the First Day’s, early time”! Tehi epifohskousehi – “in the being after light”, also forms part of the time–unit or “source” it is connected with by the Genitive. “Sabbath’s afternoon” – sabbatohn tehi epifohskousehi.

The Genitive’s use with the adverb opse and the adverbial phrase tehi epifohskousehi accordingly produces nothing out of the ordinary. It does not change the nature of the word from an adverb to a preposition, and it does not change its meaning from “late” to “after”. It doesn’t make of a proper adverb an improper preposition. Every possible grammatical and syntactical prerequisite is satisfied in the most regular and plain fashion while opse “with the Genitive” simply means “late”. Every impossible grammaticality as well as historical impossibility get implied if opse were to mean “after”.