[B-Greek] John 8:17 DE

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Wed Jul 7 19:40:47 EDT 2010


On Jul 7, 2010, at 5:19 PM, Marilyn Phemister wrote:

> **Esteemed Scholars:
> 
> I am puzzled about DE in John 8:17.  It seems to me that the verse would be translated the same with or without it. I'm afraid this is a silly question, but can someone tell me why DE is there? Is it translated AND or But with KAI being translated as ALSO?  That would make sense to me, but I still wonder why it is needed.
> 
> John 8:17: καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ δὲ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ γέγραπται ὅτι δύο ἀνθρώπων ἡ μαρτυρία ἀληθής ἐστιν.
> KAI EN TWi NOMWi DE TWi hUMETERWi GEGRAPTAI hOTI DUO ANQRWPWN hH MARTURIA ALHQHS ESTIN.

What's odd here is not so much the presence of the DE as its positioning after the entire phrase KAI EN TWi NOMWi, which the writer must have deemed a unit that could not be split, although the attributive/appositional TWi hUMETERWi could be appended after it.

I think the sequence of verses 16 and 17 needs to be noted:

John 8:16 καὶ ἐὰν κρίνω δὲ ἐγώ, ἡ κρίσις ἡ ἐμὴ ἀληθινή ἐστιν, ὅτι μόνος οὐκ εἰμί, ἀλλ᾿ ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ.  17 καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ δὲ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ γέγραπται ὅτι δύο ἀνθρώπων ἡ μαρτυρία ἀληθής ἐστιν. 
[John 8:16 KAI EAN KRINW DE EGW, hH KRISIS hH EMH ALHQINH ESTIN, hOTI MONOS OUK EIMI, ALL᾿ EGW KAI hO PEMYAS ME PATHR.  17 KAI EN TWi NOMWi DE TWi hUMETERWi GEGRAPTAI hOTI DUO ANQRWPWN hH MARTURIA ALHQHS ESTIN.]

In my opinion, Jesus in verse 16 is speaking of judgment in terms of his eschatological authority; in verse 17 he switches the discussion of the terms of Judaic legal practice: "Even by YOUR law ... " So what does the DE accomplish? I think it marks a contrast between absolute attestation and judgment and Mosaic traditions of attestation and judgment. As FWSFOROS MARKOS has put it, "Even in your law, after all, it is written ... " or "But even in your law, it stands written ... " I think there is a contrast marked by this DE, but Greek tends to use the connectives more generously than English; it really isn't needed in the English, but it can be supplied.

Nevertheless, one might have expected a sequence like GEGRAPTAI DE KAI EN TWi NOMWi TWi hUMETERWi hOTI ... I say, "one might expect" -- but maybe I'm the only one who would expect that.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)






More information about the B-Greek mailing list