[B-Greek] John 8:31ff
iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Feb 7 01:12:26 EST 2004
> Id be interested to hear your thoughts on this:
> John 8:31ff
> 1) Jesus begins by addressing TOUS PEPISTEUKOTAS AUTWi
> IOUDIOUS but later states ZHTEITE ME APOKTEINAI
> (v.37). I cannot discern a shift in this passage from
> those who believe in him and those who are trying to
> kill him; does this mean they are the same people? Am
> I missing something?
Yes, you have missed something, but so have all English translations that I
have checked. The shift is in v. 33. In v. 30-32 Jesus is encouraging those
in the crowd who had believed in him to stand fast and grow in their
knowledge of the truth which will set them spiritually free. In v. 33 the
unbelieving opponents (Pharisees) jump in and object to the comment about
people needing to be set free. After all, they claim, they have never been
slaves. It is a common feature of John's gospel, that Jesus is speaking
spiritually and metaphorically, while his hearers misunderstand him because
they think he is speaking literally. Think of the famous Nicodemus in
chapter 3 or Jesus' disciples in c. 11.
In NT Greek discourse the main, global (i.e. occurring throughout the
episode) participants are tracked by pronominal reference, contrary to
English standard. A literal English translation will therefore be confusing
and misleading - as literal versions usually are. The plural subject in
APEKRIQHSAN in v. 33 refers back to hOI FARISAIOI who are introduced in v.
13, picked up in v. 19 by ELEGON, in v. 21 by AUTOIS, in v. 22 by hOI
IOUDAIOI, in v. 23 by AUTOIS, in v. 25 by ELEGON, in v. 27 by EGNWSAN, in v.
28 by AUTOIS, in v. 33 by APEKRIQHSAN, etc. The minor and local (i.e.
occurring only in one spot of the episode) participants - those who believed
him in contrast to the Pharisees - are introduced by POLLOI in v. 30 and
then referred to by a full noun phrase for the sake of identification and
contrast: TOUS PEPISTEUKOTAS IOUDAIOUS in v. 31. It is because of this
convention to refer to global participants with pronominal reference that
the author can refer to the main dialogue partners (Pharisees) simply as
You can find more about this in a thread on March 16, 2003 (under subject
SIL translation consultant
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