Jn.3:15,16 PISTEUW EN

Alex / Ali alexali at surf.net.au
Mon Oct 15 10:19:47 EDT 2001

Paul Dixon wrote

>The change from EN to EIS may simply be stylistic or poetic license, as
>they say.  Aren't there plenty of examples of where the two prepositions
>are virtually synonymous?

I agree with you, Paul, that it may be simply be a stylistic matter;  the
trouble is, even being prepared to concede that it may be, it's not an
explanation that quite satisfies me.  Not that language is mainly about
statistics, but it's the statistics that gnaw at my easy acceptance of the
explanation; on my hand count PISTEUW EIS is used 37 times, PISTEUW EN just
the once in John's gospel.  While I have more confidence in this than the
alternative explanation (taking EN AUTWi with ECHi ZWHN AIWNION), the
stylistic explanation is one I accept more with resignation than the feeling
that it is a comprehensive answer.  Why the variation just this *once*?

On a slightly different tack, my gut feeling is that our author did use
PISTEUW in tandem with a preposition in order to distinguish the sense from
that of PISTEUW with the dative (different again from PISTEUW + acc);  other
NT writers sometimes use PISTEUW EPI (eg Mat 27:42, Romans 4:5), and the
three prepositions with PISTEUW seem to me generally to be used with the
same meaning.

Alex Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia

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