Matthew 17:2

He was transfigured before them (metemorpwqh emprosqen autwn). The word is the same as the metamorphoses (cf. Ovid) of pagan mythology. Luke does not use it. The idea is change (meta-) of form (morph). It really presents the essence of a thing as separate from the schma (fashion), the outward accident. So in Romans 12:2 Paul uses both verbs, sunscematizesqe (be not fashioned) and metamorpousqe (be ye transformed in your inner life). So in 1 Corinthians 7:31 schma is used for the fashion of the world while in Mark 16:12 morph is used of the form of Jesus after his resurrection. The false apostles are described by metaschmatisomai in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 . In Philippians 2:6 we have en morph used of the Preincarnate state of Christ and morphn doulou of the Incarnate state ( Philippians 2:7 ), while schmati w anqrwpo emphasizes his being found "in fashion as a man." But it will not do in Matthew 17:2 to use the English transliteration metamorpwsi because of its pagan associations. So the Latin transfigured (Vulgate transfiguratus est) is better. "The deeper force of metamorpousqai is seen in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (with reference to the shining on Moses' face), Romans 12:2 " (McNeile). The word occurs in a second-century papyrus of the pagan gods who are invisible. Matthew guards against the pagan idea by adding and explaining about the face of Christ "as the sun" and his garments "as the light."

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