Vol.XV No.IV Pg.2
June 1978

The Wandering "Again"

Robert F. Turner

In my King James New Testament, at Mark 10:10, I read, "And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter." (i.e., divorce.) Asked him again (Greek, palin) suggests a previous question from them, and now, again. The American Standard has essentially the same wording. But there is no evidence of the disciples asking him "of this matter" the FIRST time, i.e., in this time reference. So, when I read the New American Standard, fifth edition, I felt the translators really had something. The verse read, "And back in the house again, the disciples began questioning Him about this matter." (Underscored words are in italics, indicating they are supplied.) This rendering suggests the disciples had been in the house previously, and now, in the house again, they question him.

But because I was in a written debate where the position of "again" was of importance, I wrote to the NAS publishers (Lockman Foundation) and asked WHY the position of "again" had been changed. Someone replied (the letter is home in my files) they did not It know why the change, but that it would be brought up in the next meeting of translators, and I would then be informed of their reasons. I have not heard further from them.

Then, after some years, I chanced upon a later edition of the New American Standard Bible, and found that Mk. 10:10 read, "And in the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again." Nestls Greek text is literally translated by Marshall —"And in the house again the disciples about this questioned him" — in this order, and with NO word for "began." Apparently the NAS translators had decided to return "again" to the position occupied in KJ, AS, and other translations, and supply "began" to conform to the absence of previous questions by the disciples. I do not know when this change was made, nor if my letter and perhaps others like it had influenced the change.

But by now the New English Bible was out, with "When they were indoors again the disciples questioned him about this matter" — no italics.

My limited investigation, with my limited knowledge of Greek, does not tell me how the position of "palin" (again) is determined. I don't even know why I'm telling this to you, except for its interest to Bible readers. Perhaps, too, it will cause all of us to be more cautious about taking changes in long-standing texts. And maybe some reader with greater knowledge of the Greek will write me an explanation of this whole matter.