Original Research

A contextualised reading of Matthew 6:22–23: ‘Your eye is the lamp of your body’

Francois P. Viljoen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a152 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.152 | © 2009 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2009 | Published: 29 July 2009

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Francois P. Viljoen, North-West University, South Africa

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For the modern reader the logion ‘The eye is the lamp of the body’ is puzzling. While most scholars concur that it has something to do with greed and envy, they often fail to explain this correlation between inner attitudes and the physical eye. In this article I argue that the meaning of this passage can only be understood when read according to the ancient understanding of vision. It is important to interpret the genitive in the phrase Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός as the ancient hearer or reader would have done.


Gospel of Matthew; vision and the Bible; Sermon on the Mount; lamp analogy; the eye as a lamp in the New Testament


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