[B-Greek] Some Questions on John 5

Kenneth Litwak javajedi2 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 8 15:34:24 EDT 2009

  After looking at several items in Wallace's GGBB and BDAG, I have a few questions on John 5.

1.  In John 5:1-2, IEROSOLUMA in 5:1 and the dative plural in 5:2 are interesting.  I've read the suggestion that the neuter plural form results from the dual YERUSALAYIM in Hebrew.  If that is the case, since Hebrew has no neuter, I'm wondering why the Greek attempt at expressing a dual number word would be neuter.  On top of that, I wonder about this suggestion because elsewhere in the NT, there is an alternate form IEROUSALHM, a feminine singular.  Does anyone know of a theory that would explain both of these forms, or is this simply a matter of usage that has no rhyme or reason that we can determine, even though surely the authors had reasons for their choices?

2.  I am wondering about the meaning of ECW in the first several verses.  John 5:2 uses ECOUSA with its typical sense of "have."  In John 5:5, however, ECWN in ECWN EN THk ASQENEIAi AUTOU, it seems that ECW must be rendered, as BDAG does, something like "having been in his illness."

    While I agree with BDAG that this seems to be what has to be done in English, Louw-Nida do not list "to be/have been" as part of the semantic domain of ECW.  So I'm wondering if this usage in John is a well-established idiom or if this is a case where, whatever a native Greek speaker might have thought ECWN meant, we have to punt in English for a sentence that makes sense. Or, alternatively, is "have been" really a logical extension of the semantic domain of ECW? I'm not asking about the "root meaning" of ECO because I'm convinced from Cottrell and Turner, Silva, etc., that words don't have a "root" meaning. Nevertheless, "have been" seems somewhat far outside the semantic domain of ECW.  So how should I view the rendering in BDAG?  Thanks.



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