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Three out of the four Gospels mention the Crowning of Thorns (the exception being St. Luke). In my Knox translation of the Bible, all three Gospels say that Jesus was dressed in a scarlet cloak. However, in the Douay-Rheims, St. Mark and St. John mention that the cloak is purple.

"And they clothe him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon him." Mark 15:17
"And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head; and they put on him a purple garment." John 19:2

In the Douay-Rheims translation of St. Matthew's Gospel, the cloak is mentioned as being scarlet.

"And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him." Matthew 27:28

From where do these discrepancies arise? I looked up the Greek versions of all three verses on Wikisource, and these are the words used (I think):

περιέθηκαν (periethēkan) - St. Matthew
περιτιθέασιν (perititheasin) - St. Mark
περιέβαλον (periebalon) - St. John

Can anyone here help me with these words? Rosarium?

Colour is an interesting thing.

It is an issue of perception. Language and the actual perception of colour is intimately related.

For example, one language distinguishes light and dark blues as different colours. It sounds weird to Americans (among others) as we see them as just shades of each other (which they optically are), but then again, we do not hesitate to consider pink and red to be different colours along with orange and brown.

This aspect of language is fascinating as one can actually observe people seeing more colours by simply having a word for them.

I do not know off hand what the linguistic aspects of Greek and Hebrew were of the first century, but the question of whether the cloak was scarlet or purple is rather silly in light of this.

In Latin, two words  are used:

Mathew: coccineam
Mark: purpura

This is dark scarlet:

This is purple (which is a range of colour):

Purple itself is not distinct. It depends highly on the viewers eyes and mind if a colour is called purple, red or blue.

In fact, the words "purple" and "scarlet" are so vague that there is no essential difference between them because they do not refer to a specific spectral colour. The entire collection of colours which could be called either is so big, that no one agrees on the names at all. Look at the wikipedia articles on purple and scarlet.

We could make a poll with a list of colours and ask everyone to name them...I bet with a sufficiently large list to reduce chance, we would have no one agree in the listings, but many would not disagree with different lists.
Here is information on ancient Greek words for colour:

I am not skilled at Greek, but I've know of this for a while. No colour word in ancient Greek really makes sense to most people now. We call the sky blue, but they called it bronze. We both see the same things, but we are focusing on different aspects of it.
bronze sky, and the famous "wine dark sea". The Greeks truly had an interesting mind for colors.
(01-14-2011, 12:37 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: [ -> ]bronze sky, and the famous "wine dark sea". The Greeks truly had an interesting mind for colors.

On the other hand, so do we :)

For example, my Thinkpads are a flat black colour, but the essential perception of them is "black". A glossy black computer would also be called black. The other quality (which, I do not know what it is called) is only noticed when it is contrasted with another, but the essential perception of both will still be "black". Those other qualities are downplayed in our minds, but what about those (the ancients) who make them essential?

We call things "blue" which have a lot of differences. Yes, one aspect is the same, but the rest are not. It would be interesting to be able to see things like that.

(01-14-2011, 12:37 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: [ -> ]bronze sky, and the famous "wine dark sea". The Greeks truly had an interesting mind for colors.

And how about "γλαυκώπις Athene"? Allen Upward's crystalline prose should be familiar to students of imagist poetry and the Cantos of Ezra Pound:   
[quote]How hard the old cloistered scholarship, to which the Nobels of a bygone age gave their endowments, has toiled to understand the word glaukopis, given to the goddess Athene. Did it mean blue-eyed, or gray-eyed, or—by the aid of Sanskrit—merely glare-eyed? And all the time they had not only the word glaux staring them in the face, as the Athenian name for owl, and the name of ox-eyed Hera to guide them, but they had the owl itself cut at the foot of every statue of Athene, and stamped on every coin of Athens, to tell them that she was the owl-eyed goddess, the lightning that blinks like an owl. For what is characteristic of the owl's eyes is not that they glare, but that they suddenly leave off glaring, like lighthouses whose light is shut off. We may see the shutter of the lightning in that mask that overhangs Athene's brow, and hear its click in the word glaukos. And the leafage of the olive, whose writhen trunk bears, as it were, the lightning's brand, does not glare, but glitters, the pale under face of the leaves alternating with the dark upper face, and so the olive is Athene's tree, and is called glaukos. Why need we carry owls to Oxford?

p. 238, The New Word
(01-14-2011, 12:37 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: [ -> ]bronze sky, and the famous "wine dark sea". The Greeks truly had an interesting mind for colors.

they still do i like that shade of blue they paint the exterior of ther homes,. i think itcalled mediterranean blue. my sister brought back pottery from mikonos with such pretty color combination really uplift the spirits and almost make you breathe better looking at it! go greeks!!!