Armodoxy for Today: Punctuation

One of the ways that knowledge is passed along from teacher to students, from generation to generation is through by the written word. The Bible evolved from an oral tradition to the written word, to the printed collection we carry today. It was written in Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic. The printing press was not invented until the 15th century. Up until then, it was transferred to new audiences by scribes who painstakingly copied words from one manuscript onto new parchment and arduously inspected the words, to avoid mistakes, and those words became the stories of the Faith.

Interestingly enough many of the texts, especially the Greek text in the New Testament were written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS with no spaces and probably no punctuation.

Punctuation is necessary to give meaning to the words strung in a sentence. Take for instance the sentence, “Women without her man is nothing.” Now hold off, before you decide to stop following this post, or even worst, if now you’ve become a fan of this post, I want you to realize that the sentence is void of punctuation. Again: Women without her man is nothing. Now, let’s add some punctuation: Woman, without her, man is nothing. The same words, with added punctuation, reveal a sentence that expresses a thought quite the opposite of the original one.

Imagine now, the tremendous task that was before the Church in deciphering the sentences and the sentence structures. When Jesus turns to the thief on with me the cross and says, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise,” there is a certainly that life continues after death immediately. But if a comma were to move over by one word “Truly I tell you today, you will bein paradise” the immediacy of the moment is lost opening up speculation about the next step.

Fortunately, the Church was there from the beginning and knew the meaning of the words before they were written in a sentence.

Punctuation – a dot, a line, a squiggle – is more than a pause or an accent. It’s a way of passing along a message.

We pray today, “Lord, open my heart to your word. I hear with my ears and read with my eyes, but it is my heart that I commit to you. Amen.”

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