[B-Greek] John 1.19-21 (was Luke 1:20-21) What did he say?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Nov 27 07:35:31 EST 2006


On Nov 26, 2006, at 7:20 PM, gfsomsel at yahoo.com George F Somsel  
wrote:

> 19 KAI hAUTH ESTIN hH MARTURIA TOU IWANNOU hOTI APESTEILAN [PROS  
> AUTON] hOI IOUDAIOI EC hIERROSOUMWN hIEREIS KAI LEUITAS hINA  
> ERWTHSWSIN AUTON, "SU TIS EI?"
> 20 KAI hWMOLOGHSEN KAI OUK HRNHSATO, KAI hWMOLOGHSEN hOTI EGW OUK  
> EIMI hO XRISTOS
> 21 KAI HROWTHSAN AUTON, "TI OUN?  SU HLIAS EI?" KAI LEGEI, "OUK  
> EIMI." "hO PROFHTHS EI SU?" KAI APEKRIQH, "OU."
>
> Just what is John supposed to be denying here?  He denies being the  
> Messiah, and it would seem that he fairly clearly states that he is  
> not Elijah.  Does he then deny that he is a prophet at all?  In the  
> question put to him after denying being Elijah he is asked " *** hO  
> PROFHTHS EI SU ** ?"  Are they asking whether he is Elijah again or  
> are they asking whether he is a prophet at all?  Since the article  
> can be used to reference an item or person already mentioned, are  
> they asking "Are you the [i.e. 'THAT'] prophet?"  A.T. Robertson in  
> _Word Pictures_ seems to be of the opinion that this refers to the  
> Deutonomic promise in Dt 18.15, and B.F. Westcott seems to be of  
> the same opinion
>
> PROFHTHN EK TWN ADELFWN SOU hWS EME ANASTHSEI SOI KURIOS hO QEOS  
> SOU . . .

I'm writing primarily to bring some closure to this mis-labeled item  
for the sake of the list archives:
(1) The original subject-header "Luke 1:20-21" was never relevant to  
anything; the question concerns the narrative in John 1 immediately  
following the prologue (1:1-18);
(2) The Greek text and its meaning AS GREEK TEXT is in no way in  
dispute; the question raised is, essentially, what's the point of  
John's negative responses to questions about his identity raised in  
the verses cited;
(3) AT Robertson and Westcott are almost certainly right about the  
allusion to Dt 18:15-19; I personally think that the evangelist's  
formulation of this narrative belongs to a theme of the KRISIS, which  
appears 11x in GJn: the priests and Levites questioning JBpt are  
making a judicial inquiry, as the verbs of this exchange pretty  
clearly indicate (ERWTAW, hOMOLOGEW, ARNEOMAI, APOKRINOMAI); at the  
same time, the evangelist seems intent on demonstrating that claim's  
by the Baptist's disciples to any Messianic status at all are at odds  
with the Baptist's self-representation -- he even denies being "that  
prophet" referred to in Deuteronomy.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/





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