[B-Greek] Jn 17:3 Gk syntax
iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Jan 13 13:01:40 EST 2007
My comments introduced by IL:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Oun Kwon" <kwonbbl at gmail.com>
hAUTH DE ESTIN hH AIWNIOS ZWH
hINA GINWSKWOSIN SE TON MONON ALHQINON QEON KAI hON APESTEILAS IHSOUN CRISTON
Similar syntax is seen in
3:19 hAUTH DE ESTIN hH KRISIS
hOTI TO FWS ELHLUQEN EIS TON KOSMON ...
15:12 hAUTH ESTIN hH ENTOLH hH EMH
hINA AGAPATE ALLHLOUS KAQWS HGAPHSA hUMAS ...
These last two uses hAUTH to introduce an explanation in the following
hINA or hOTI clause.
IL: This construction is one of John's favourites where hOUTOS is used kataphorically to refer to
and anticipate a following clause or sentence. The purpose is to highlight the content of that
sentence, and it is normally introduced by hINA, but at least once by hOTI ("that").
Let me add three more:
6:29 TOUTO ESTIN TO ERGON TOU QEOU hINA PISTEUHTE EIS hON APESTEILEN EKEINOS
6:39 TOUTO DE ESTIN TO QELHMA TOU PEMYANTOS ME hINA PAN hO DEDWKEN MOI
MH APOLESW EX AUTOU, ALLA ANASTHSW AUTO...
6:40 TOUTO GAR ESTIN TO QELHMA TOU PATROS MOU hINA PAS hO QEWRWN TON hUION
KAI PISTEUWN EIS AUTON ECHi ZWHN ZWHN AIWNION...
Notice how they all have the same structure: (a form of) hOUTOS - ESTIN - noun phrase in
nominative - sentence.
However, in the case of 17:3, if it is understood in the same way (as
most translations do), eternal life = knowing, it is difficult to
conceive 'life' = 'knowledge' conceptually.
Is it possible to take hINA for purpose ('in order to') and hAUTH to
refer to the eternal life which was mentioned in the preceding verse?
IL: No, that is highly unlikely. The meaning of ESTIN is not just identification, but a connection
which might be translated as X means Y, X constitutes Y, X entails Y, X is described by Y, or X is
accomplished/obtained by doing Y.
The focus is on the whole sentence, and that focus is indicated by fronting hOUTOS as a kind of
dummy or place-holder for the sentence in focus.
Let me compare with one similar, but different construction:
6:50 hOUTOS ESTIN hO ARTOS hO EK TOU OURANOU KATABAINWN
hINA TIS EX AUTOU FAGHi KAI MH APOQANHi
Here we have a participle in the first clause, and the hOUTOS is not kataphoric, but rather deictic.
Jesus is referring to himself as "this one standing here". There is a contrast between the
bread/manna that came down from heaven in the desert and the new "bread" which also came down from
heaven. NIV translates "here is the bread". The hINA indicates result as it is often does,
especially in John's writings. This "bread" has now come down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of
it and not die.
Finally, the construction in John 15:17 has intrigued me, and I am not convinced that the standard
translation is correct:
15:17 TAUTA ENTELLOMAI hUMIN hINA AGAPATE ALLHLOUS
RSV translates: "This I command you, to love one another."
NIV translates: "This is my command: Love each other."
KJV is more literal and more ambiguous: "These things I command you, that ye love one another."
TAUTA in plural always in John refers back to what has been said in the previous context, and it is
quite different from the kataphoric usages above of the singular hOUTOS. So, I am wondering whether
the hINA here is actually purpose: I am commanding you these aforementioned things so that you love
one another. He already said in 15:12 (quoted above) that the command was to love one another. It is
possible that he repeats the same thing in v. 17, but may it not be possible that he makes a twist
and says that the purpose for his various commands is that they love one another? In other words,
mutual love is the goal of his commands.
The first clause is probably reminiscent of what he said a few verses earlier in
15:14: (hUMEIS FILOI MOU ESTE EAN POIHTE) hA EGW ENTELLOMAI hUMIN.
There are similar constructions with TAUTA and hINA, e.g.
5:34 ALLA TAUTA LEGW hINA hUMEIS SWQHTE
15:11 TAUTA LELALHKA hUMIN hINA hH CARA hH EMH EN hUMIN Hi
16:1 TAUTA LELALHKA hUMIN hINA MH SKANDALISQHTE
16:4 ALLA TAUTA LELALHKA hUMIN hINA ... MNHMONEUHTE...
16:33 TAUTA LELALHKA hUMIN hINA EN EMOI EIRHNHN ECHTE
17:13 KAI TAUTA LALW EN TWi KOSMWi hINA ECWSIN THN CARAN THN EMHN
The construction is not found in the other gospels or Acts, but Paul uses it a few times. The
1 Tim 5:7 KAI TAUTA PARAGELLE hINA ANEPIPLHMTOI WSIN
There are 60 instances of hAUTA in John's Gospel apart from 15:17, and all of them are anaphoric,
referring back to the previous context. That is one reason I think it unlikely that hAUTA in this
particular sentence should be kataphoric. Furthermore, in all such constructions with hAUTA and hINA
in both John and Paul, hAUTA is always anaphoric (I found 17 of them, 5 in Paul's letters, 9 in
John's Gospel, and 3 in 1 John).
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