[B-Greek] John 8:31ff
iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Feb 11 13:00:28 EST 2004
Just a few comments:
> >NET: 15 Then the Jewish authorities were astonished and said,
> "How does this
> >man know so much when he has never had formal instruction?"
> >TEV: The Jewish authorities were greatly surprised and said,...
> >NLT: The Jewish leaders were surprised when they heard him. "How does he
> >know so much when he hasn't studied...
> HH: The NIV has:
> John 7:15 The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such
> learning without having studied?"
Yes, but the NIV is misleading because of its literalness. It even has
"Jews" in 7:11-13 where there is a clear contrast between the "crowd", i.e.
the people in general, and the "Jews" referring to the Jewish authorities.
NIV is just carrying on a misleading tradition of translating literally.
> >They [the Jewish authorities] question Jesus' authority to
> teach, and that is why Jesus responds as he does in v. 16-18.
> HH: There is no direct question to Jesus in v. 15; it seems a rhetorical
> question out of amazement, not necessarily a challenge. Jesus seems to
> continue His teaching, while responding to the shock over it. He invites
> everyone to seek God's will, which will lead to His teaching.
Jesus often does not respond to questions in the expected way. And he
doesn't need a direct question to say what he wants to say. I think the
Jewish leaders were astounded, puzzled or even outraged, offended, rather
than amazed. Check other occurrences of QAUMAZW, especially in John (3:7,
4:27, 5:20,28, 7:15,21).
7:21: Jesus replied, I worked on the Sabbath by healing a man, and you were
>From the context and Jesus' answers, it seems likely that the intended
meaning of the rhetorical question is an accusation and a challenge of his
right to teach in the temple.
> John 7:16 ¶ Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him
> who sent me.
Jesus is defending his right to teach.
> John 7:17 If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my
> teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
> John 7:18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but
> he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of
> truth; there is nothing false about him.
All of this sounds as if it is directed to the unbelieving Pharisees, who
DID speak on their own in order to be honored and who DID propagate their
own teaching rather than God's will. They are the ones who bring false
teaching, not Jesus.
> >Jesus decides not to respond to that misunderstanding and
> intrusion from the
> >bystanders in his dialogue with the Jewish leaders, so he
> continues to speak
> >to those leaders. The use of the pronoun AUTOIS (referring to main
> >participants) rather than "the crowd" indicates that he is addressing the
> >Pharisees, not the crowd.
> HH: This is where your reading seems particularly dubious to me (7:20-21).
> The crowd asks Him a question, and you say Jesus answers the
> Pharisees. But the text is specific that Jesus "answered" them, that is,
> people in the previous verse that asked the question.
Yes, this is where Greek and English discourse differ. In English, a "they"
would definitely refer back to the crowd, but in Greek, it refers back to
the main dialogue partners, the major participants. The crowd here is a
minor participant, and had the reference been to the crowd, it should have
been a more specific reference, not just "them".
Did the crowd ask him a question?
7:20: APEKRIQH hO OCLOS...
It is a rhetorical question: "You are crazy! No one is trying to kill you!"
Jesus does not repeat his accusation that the Jewish leaders are trying to
kill him. Instead, he defends himself and accuses his opponents further. At
this early stage, the general populace were not aware of the intention of
the Jewish leaders.
> HH: Well, that's a possible interpretation, I must admit. But the whole
> generation was one of vipers, according to John the Baptist.
Maybe that is based on the common mistranslation of "generation" which
really means a specific group of people, not a whole generation? But that is
another topic I have dealt with before. (Search for GENEA).
> HH: And even if Jesus began a discourse by responding to Jewish
> authorities, He could quickly broaden it to include everyone in
> For example, in John 5:18 the "Jews" ask Jesus a question, and His answer
> is in vv. 19-47.
I don't see the question in v. 18. It is a comment from the author
describing the situation. That v. 19 starts with APEKRINATO does not mean
that he answers a specific question. This word can be used for a response to
a situation. To translate it by "answer" here and in v. 17 is a mistake,
because the word is much broader than English "answer".
> In the middle Jesus says,
> John 5:35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a
> time to enjoy his light.
> If Jesus is speaking only to the Pharisees and scribes, then it must have
> been a very short time that they choose to enjoy John's light,
> because they did not believe John:
> Luke 20:3 ¶ He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me,
> Luke 20:4 John's baptism - was it from heaven, or from men?"
> Luke 20:5 ¶ They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say,
> 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?'
John the Baptist had a message that would not be too far from that of the
Pharisees, and John 5 refers to a much earlier stage than Luke 20. I would
say that the Pharisees could accept part of John's message, but not what he
said about Jesus. And they did not like the fact that he was baptizing
without authority from them.
> Remember that the people as a whole called for His crucifixion.
Did they? The leaders managed to get a sizable crowd together. There would
have been a good number of people who did not sanction what happened, but
they were powerless. It doesn't take many loud people to sway a crowd,
especially when the religious authorities are in the lead.
More information about the B-Greek