[B-Greek] EI and EAN Jn 3:12
kwonbbl at gmail.com
Sun Mar 5 23:11:22 EST 2006
On 3/5/06, Carl W. Conrad <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu> wrote:
> The primary conditional construction here is
> EI (TA EPIGEIA EIPON hUMIN KAI OU PISTEUETE)
> PWS (EAN EIPW hUMIN TA EPOURANIA) PISTEUSETE.
> "If you DO not believe" then "HOW WILL you believe?
> But it might be easier to think of it thus:
> "I told you earthly things, and you don't believe (me/what I said).
> And if that's the case, how will you (be able to) believe me/what I
> say if I tell you heavenly things?"
> That is to say, the EI governs the entire two-clause coordinate
> structure of TA EPIGEIA ... OU PISTEUETE, not just the EI ... EIPON
> hUMIN clause.
> Does that help?
You opened my eyes to see the syntactic structure of the text. It is
easily appreciated when I am looking at the Gk rather than the English
(When looking at again, the EI-clause of 3:12a seems like a refrain of 3:11b.)
If I can arrange the text as the way I think the idea flows:
3:11b KAI THN MARTURIAN hHMWN OU LAMBANETE:
3:12a EI (TA EPIGEIA EIPON hUMIN KAI OU PISTEUETE).
3:12b PWS (EAN EIPW hUMIN TA EPOURANIA) PISTEUSETE
Now, semantically the EI is (to me) too much 'ify'
and feels the statement is not possible reality. Like 'if a pig could
fly' when a pig cannot fly. However, here, it is a fact that they do
not believe what earthly things Jesus explained, not something 'ify'.
here I am back to my original question (trying to render 'EI' as
Can you see whether the following would be acceptable and not
violating what the text says?
3:11b But you* [all] do not receive our testimony:
3:12a [Now] I told you* these earthly things and yet you* do not believe. Then:
3:12b how will you* believe if I tell you* the heavenly things!?
[ ] are added to clarify. I hope I have understood the 'tense' of the
verbs correctly.This rendering tells that what Jesus said to Nicodemus
was the earthly things and he has not yet told about the heavenly
things. With the verse 12b, did Jesus mean 'you would not' or 'I hope
so'? There comes an interpretative question of what these heavenly
things would be.
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