Hello, Folks. At the very least, signing in to let you know I'm still reading/listening to the replies. It just gets more difficult to provide detailed or cogent replies as this topic goes on. But I'll try.
I don't think your questions are silly. But rather, they are quite in order. Looking from the outside in, my take is that no one publicizes this difference in the NWT from others. On another recent topic about differences in the NWT, the verse did not even come up until I brought it up; and the means of analysis we are discussing now was courtesy of Bobcat. Though on a couple of questions such as why did the "good" thief identify with Christ, a lot is explained within the few verses of chapter 23 in which the incident is described. The other thief berated Jesus to the effect of something like don't just stand there: get us out this mess. The "good" thief seems to act as a peacemaker. But taking into account that the official WTS version of this story is one where paradise is promised but much delayed, and that's where nearly all this forum refugees are from, a sense of confusion sounds like as good a place to start as any in contemplating this story. Let us all know later what else you notice.
I mean to contribute to you other topic about history. Mostly it's an arbitrary stack, but sometimes complementing these discussions. But for now, what can I say about your counter arguments?
While "today" as a temporal qualifier was used only one time in the expressions, we did have a couple of others time related expressions. Matt 19:28. I'll probably be answerable to Greek students about this one, but based on the English, if the NWT were consistent about this it would place "this generation" in front of the comma too in Matt 24:34. The same with John 5:25 concerning the hour.
But then there is the question of Luke's perspective. You say that he is very inclined to speak in Greek like a Hebrew writer of Deuteromy would. Now how can I argue about that one? It's a proposition I had never heard before one way or another. Well, we are led to understand that he was a friend and associate of Paul. And Paul, if anyone, certainly liked to quote Deuteronomy to explain why Christ had come to earth to wipe away a sin. But I have also heard one rabbi say that Luke sometimes was a loose cannon when it came to Paul's arguments. In his first chapter he describes Zechariah, the father of John, as such a good guy that he was "blameless". Now how did that happen?
Some introductory passages I have in my NJB ( which is not aware of our discussion) describe Matthew as the most concerned of the Gospel writers with the fulfilling of the promises of the OT for the people of Israel. And later it describes Luke writing in "sophisticated" Greek to Greeks and Gentiles about Christ's mercy and forgiveness. The OT element is in his origin and upbringing.... Luke and Acts were at one time pre-Bible a book ( directed to Theophilius)... But any of this does not really settle whether Christ meant that the thief would be in paradise today.
But on the other hand, does the argument remain what Christ said and meant or what Luke had written and intended?
This is problematic since neither Mark or Matthew mention this incident. When Jesus also says, "Father, into thy hands I commend myself," one might wonder if things in Luke are what ought to have appeared in the other accounts but they neglected to mention. Why? If Luke's Greek is beyond reproach to scholars, it would seem odd that he would speak it like an anonymous Deuteronomy scribe. Perhaps someone will be able to elaborate further on that, but I can't. But if this incident ends up in the Gospels as nearly an after thought, could it possibly be that Luke wanted to describe how the heavenly kingdom's naturalization and immigration service would really work: a sojourn in Hades with a VIP guide and then report to a footlocker to await the dawn of the next dispensationalist age? Or is the thief right away as in Luke 20:36, "the same as the angels"?
I can easily enough tell the difference between which two interpretations were then considered glad tidings. Same with anybody nowadays showing up at my door.
I can follow the Latin better than the Greek, owing to more formal training in the former. hodie me cum eris in paradiso - today me with you will be in paradise seems to appear frequently with Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine. That much I understand. And it would seem as though that would be a widespread belief in the western church - since it has any currency now at all. The Greek equivalent has been cited a number of times as well, but I would not want to jump to conclusions without understanding the sentences preceding, either more of the Bible text or church father commentaries. I just don't know that much Greek. Are any of the Greek patriarchs arguing for "I am telling you today,.."?
The Sinaitic text I wasn't able to see at all. Visible somewhere else?
No one has anything to say about Revelations?