[B-Greek] hINA in Jn 9:3, 11:4

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Feb 3 00:27:14 EST 2009


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elizabeth Kline" <kline_dekooning at earthlink.net>
To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 1. februar 2009 01:40
Subject: [B-Greek] hINA in Jn 9:3, 11:4


>
> JOHN 9:1 KAI PARAGWN EIDEN ANQRWPON TUFLON EK GENETHS.  2 KAI HRWTHSAN
> AUTON hOI MAQHTAI AUTOU LEGONTES: hRABBI, TIS hHMARTEN, hOUTOS H hOI
> GONEIS AUTOU, hINA TUFLOS GENNHQHi  3 APEKRIQH IHSOUS: OUTE hOUTOS
> hHMARTEN OUTE hOI GONEIS AUTOU, ALL hINA FANERWQHi TA ERGA TOU QEOU EN
> AUTWi.
>
> JOHN 11:4 AKOUSAS DE hO IHSOUS EIPEN: hAUTH hH ASQENEIA OUK ESTIN PROS
> QANATON ALL hUPER THS DOXHS TOU QEOU, hINA DOXASQHi hO hUIOS TOU QEOU
> DI AUTHS.
>
> M. Sim, in her thesis on hINA in Koine, IMHO shows an intemperate zeal
> to stamp out the purpose clause introduced by hINA.  The author faults
> others for trying to force hINA into a inflexible semantic mold but it
> seems to me that she does the same thing by hammering away on
> "representation" as the one and only function of hINA in the Koine
> period.

That hINA in the above examples from John do not indicate purpose is not an insight based solely on
Relevance Theory.
It is recognized now by most Greek scholars that hINA in Koine Greek is basically a consecutive
marker that can indicate purpose, result or content, almost like the infinitive. In Classical Greek
it was often, but not exclusively, used for purpose. Some scholars have wrongly assumed that what
applied to Classical Greek also applies to Koine Greek, and this has caused misunderstandings and
indeed mistranslations of hINA in most English bibles.
I can send you off-list an article I wrote 20 years ago for our journal for Bible translators.

I do not currently have access to Margaret's thesis (poor internet), so I do not understand what she
means by "representation". Relevance Theory is a great and important theory of communication and it
is especially relevant for cross cultural communication and translation. Unfortunately, its
proponents are often poor communicators in that they take common English words and use them in a
new, technical sense that is quite different from the commonly known sense. The word "context" is
the prime example of how RT redefines a word to mean something different from normal usage.

> A prime example is her reading (pages 170-171) of hINA in Jn 9:3 where
> she rejects the telic reading of hINA in Jesus' reply to the disciples
> ALL hINA FANERWQHi TA ERGA TOU QEOU EN AUTWi. There have been
> suggestions that this hINA introduces a results clause and even the
> more improbable suggestion that it introduces an imperatival clause.
> However,  R.E. Brown, F.F. Bruce, D. Carson. L. Morris, G. Beasley-
> Murray, to name just a few, read it as telic. The clincher is John
> 11:4 where the telic meaning is explicit.

What is meant by "telic"? The hINA has to refer to result rather than purpose here, but this is a
contextual interpretation. The word hINA in and of itself does not specify a choice between purpose
and result, especially in John's Gospel. hINA is extremely common in John, and is often used to
refer to result. (hINA occurs 145 times in John, 39 in Matthew, 46 in Luke).

According to Webster "Telic" means "tending toward an end" and this corresponds to the Greek word it
is derived from. Both purpose and result tends toward an end. If "telic" is understood to mean
purpose, then hINA is not telic in these verses. That some commentators think this is the case,
only shows how they have been misled by their tradition, and they have not made their own
independent research.

In John 11:4, the hINA is also used to refer to result or consequence rather than purpose, but again
that is a contextual interpretation that is probably linked to one's theological presuppositions. My
point is that it is a mistake to say that hINA in Koine Greek and especially in John's writing by
default refers to purpose.

BDF says in §388 "The following picture obtains for the NT: What can be interpreted as intended or
probably result is expressed to a great extent by hINA..."

Further down he says: "The infinitive is still used abundantly by all authors and the choice between
the inf. and hINA appears to be a matter of preference in each case. John exhibits a marked
preference for hINA instead of the inf."

Iver Larsen




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