TI GEGONEN in John 14:22

Steven R. Lo Vullo doulos at appleisp.net
Thu Aug 23 21:15:18 EDT 2001

on 8/23/01 2:15 PM, Mark Wilson at emory2oo2 at hotmail.com wrote:

> Neither, if you ask me.
> Take it as "How will it occur/happen/be fulfilled that ..."
> Much can be gleaned by how Jesus answers
> the question put to him. Note that Jesus does not address
> a "what" or a "why."


What is the justification for translating the perfect GEGONEN as a future,
especially since the future of GINOMAI is used 5x in John when a future
event is in mind (John 4:14; 8:33; 10:16; 15:7; 16:20)? The closest parallel
I could find in the NT to this phrase is TI EGENETO in an indirect question
in Acts 7:40, which clearly means "what happened."

Also, I can't think offhand of TI being used to indicate means or manner
when it is alone or with GINOMAI. The only construction I can think of in
which it expresses means is in the prepositional phrase KATA TI (Luke 1:18).
If it is used in this way, I don't think it is common. It seems that if
means or manner were in view, a more common way to express this would be
with something like PWS (as is done frequently throughout this Gospel for

As far as Jesus' answer, I think two points need to be made.

First, I think it is precarious to automatically base the translation of a
question on the answer given. In the first place, this would seem to permit
us to ignore grammatical evidence of what is the most natural way of
understanding the text, as I think you have done above in rendering GEGONEN
as a future and TI as expressing means or manner, when there doesn't seem to
be any compelling *grammatical* reason for doing so. Secondly, this assumes
that the person being asked the question will inevitably answer it in the
way we expect, or that the answer will be direct, or that the resondent will
not choose to use that question as a means to get to what is perceived as a
more important issue, or one related to the underlying presupposition(s) or
motive(s) or attitude(s) of the inquirer.

Second, if we translate TI GEGONEN hOTI in a way that does justice to both
the pronoun and the tense of the verb, Jesus' answer still makes sense. Leon
Morris, noting that on the basis of Jesus' answer we might have expected a
future, nevertheless let's stand what is actually there and comments:

"Judas now voices what must have been the perplexity of the whole band. He
asks what has happened (in view of Christ's words we might perhaps have
anticipated a future) that Christ will manifest Himself to the disciples and
not to the world. Evidently he is understanding 'manifest' in terms of
physical manifestation. Like the Jews in general he expects the Messiah to
stand forth in all His glory before all mankind. The way he puts it seems to
imply that he now thinks that something has happened to disrupt our Lord's
planned program."

When Judas hears Jesus use the word EMFANIZW in v. 21, he is thinking of a
physical/public maifestation of Jesus to all, in line not only with Jewish
thought on the Messiah, but also with Jesus' earlier words (e.g., John
5:25-29; cf. Dan 7:9-14). Now that Jesus speaks of manifesting himself to
those who love him, Judas concludes there has been a change in plan ("What
has happened...?"). Rather than deal directly with Judas' concern about a
change of plan, Jesus explains that what he is talking about is not a
physical/public manifestation at all, but a spiritual (cf. v. 26) and
personal (v. 23) manifestation to those who love him, as opposed to those
who don't. Clearing up the matter of what kind of "manifestation" he is
talking about in this context in turn clears up the matter of a change of
plan, for if Jesus is not even dealing with a physical/public manifestation
of himself, then there is no need to posit a contradiction or a change of

Another way to look at it is that up until this point, Jesus had indeed been
manifesting himself physically/publicly to the world. Judas wonders what has
happened that this would no longer be the case. Jesus' answer emphasizes
that for a while he is not going to be present physically/publicly, but will
be with those who love him spiritually/personally. While this does not
*directly* answer the question of "what has happened," it, like the above
scenario, renders it irrelevent, for again, if Jesus is not talking about a
physical/public manifestation, there need be no conflict, since a
spiritual/personal manifestation to his disciples during the time of his
absence does not rule out a physical/public manifestation to the world at
some future point. What had troubled Judas was the idea that Jesus was going
to physically/publicly manifest himself only to those who loved him, which
to him was in conflict with what he understood. Jesus' answer does not
necessarily rule out the "plan" Judas had in mind (although it should have
modified it somewhat). It only corrects his understanding of what Jesus
meant by "manifest."

Steve   [LoVullo -- New list members please take note: BG protocol
calls for a full-name signature on all messages sent to the list.]

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