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Was Mary One of “the Women”? (Acts 1:4)

This is a little picky thing, but it does illustrate the ascensive use of καί. Luke writes, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and (καί) Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” ( NIV). My question is whether Mary was considered part of the group called “the women,” or was she outside the group?

Translating καί as “and” makes it sound like she was not part of the group (NIV, ESV). The NASB adds a comma, “women, and Mary” which separates her out even more.

I must not be the only one who feels this incongruity. The CSB has “along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus.” NRSV writes, “together with certain women, including Mary.” Mary was part of the group.

However, the NET has “women, along with Mary.” The NLT changes the order. “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” Mary was not part of the group.

Viewing καί as ascensive comes under BDAG’s second heading: “marker to indicate an additive relation that is not coordinate to connect clauses and sentences, also, likewise.

This may feel a little picky, but effective communication is clear. It may still require you to process what the words mean, but any unnecessary processing is done away with. Of course, you first have to decide what nuance you think Luke intends.


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