[B-Greek] John 2:15

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Tue Aug 10 07:13:27 EDT 2010

On Aug 10, 2010, at 6:54 AM, Leonard Jayawardena wrote:

> I think PANTAS refers only to the sheep and the oxen in John 2:15 and these are my reasons.
> 1. To begin with, a whip would normally be used to drive out animals, not humans (or doves for that matter). Jesus finds in the temple sellers of sheep and oxen and doves, and moneychangers seated. He makes a whip and drives out the sheep and the oxen. I think TA TE PROBATA KAI TOUS BOAS is added as an afterthought to make sure that the reader does not misunderstand that only the oxen are meant because of the possibility that PANTAS, being masculine, could be taken as referring back only to BOAS. The writer does not think that his readers will understand the antecedent of PANTAS to be anything other than animals but he is concerned that the pronoun might be mistaken by some to refer only to the oxen.
> 2. After Jesus drives out "all," the sellers of doves, with their birds, are still sitting or standing around for him to tell them, "Take these things [TAUTA] away," which clearly shows that that the antecedent of PANTAS is NOT all the parties mentioned in v. 14. The whip was not used on the doves, which would have been kept in cages. PERISTERA is feminine but Jesus said TAUTA, not TAUTAS. Perhaps the reference is to the cages in which the birds were kept?

So ... the beat goes on in the effort to resolve this question once and for all. Now the argument is made that TA TE PROBATA KAI TOUS BOAS is added to clarify what would otherwise be a rather vague description of what happened. That may well be the case, but I think it should be noted that the author hasn't been wholly successful in making his intent clear to all readers. I think it may well be that TA TE PROBATA KAI TOUS BOAS has been added as an afterthought, but some, at least, are inclined to understand this as a "Zusatz" to PANTAS with a sense something like, "including the sheep and cattle as well." Among those B-Greekers who have responded in this thread there seems to be a preponderance of those preferring not to think that Jesus used the whip on human beings, but (a) a majority opinion, while not negligible, doesn't by itself add up to a true judgment, and (b) it appears to me that assumptions about what Jesus is or is not likely to have done have brought to bear upon this not-so-very-transparent text.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

More information about the B-Greek mailing list