[B-Greek] A REMOTE ANTECEDENT IN JOHN 12:20-26??

Blue Meeksbay bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 21 12:11:00 EDT 2010


Thanks, Mark. I will have to check out Eph. 1:3-14.  I have fond memories of the 
50's.  I was just a wee child back then!

Blue Harris

P.S.  You should receive an award for your videos. I really enjoy them. For 
those who missed the latest one, check out [B-Greek] Grammar Drills in Ancient 
Greek.Tue Aug 17 09:21:48 EDT 2010  

 
P.P.S. (Disclaimer: This advertisement was totally unsolicited).

________________________________
From: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
To: Blue Meeksbay <bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com>; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Sat, August 21, 2010 8:24:33 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] A REMOTE ANTECEDENT IN JOHN 12:20-26??


Blue asked

<How remote can an antecedent be?!>

Hi, Blue,

I seem to recall a Year-End B-Greek Award being given out in the late '50's that 
went something like this:

MOST DISTANCE BETWEEN A PRONOUN AND ITS PRESUMED ANTECEDENT:

Ephesians 1:14, where ten verses separate AUTOU from QEOS (v. 3)

In fact, in Eph. 1 another noun (CRISTOS) occurs several times between the 
antecedent and its pronoun, but my sense is that God and Jesus is a special case 
of pronominal ambiguity that you find all over the place.

If your take is correct, this passage from John would be the true record.

And I think your take is correct.  Jesus says the hour has now come for the 
Greeks to get in on the act. It's to THEM that he is speaking.  No one who seeks 
fails to find.  


Mark L
Φωσφορος 


FWSFOROS MARKOS 




________________________________
From: Blue Meeksbay <bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Sat, August 21, 2010 8:14:32 AM
Subject: [B-Greek] A REMOTE ANTECEDENT IN JOHN 12:20-26??

How remote can an antecedent be?!
 
HSAN DE hELLHNES TINES EK TWN ANABAINONTWN hINA PROSKUNHSWSIN EN THi hEORTHi• 
 hOUTOI OUN PROSHLQON FILIPPWi TWi APO BHQSAI+DA THS GALILAIAS KAI HRWTWN AUTON 
LEGONTES• KURIE, QELOMEN TON IHSOUN IDEIN. ERCETAI hO FILIPPOS KAI LEGEI TWi 
ANDREAi, ERCETAI ANDREAS KAI FILIPPOS KAI LEGOUSIN TWi IHSOU. hO DE IHSOUS  
APOKRINETAI AUTOIS LEGWN• ELHLUQEN hH hWRA hINA DOXASQHi hO hUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU. 
AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EAN MH hO KOKKOS TOU SITOU PESWN EIS THN GHN APOQANHi, 
AUTOS MONOS MENEI• EAN DE APOQANHi, POLUN KARPON FEREI  hO FILWN THN YUCHN AUTOU 

APOLLUEI AUTHN, KAI hO MISWN THN YUCHN AUTOU EN TWi KOSMWi TOUTWi EIS ZWHN 
AIWNION FULAXEI AUTHN. EAN EMOI TIS DIAKONHi, EMOI AKOLOUQEITW, KAI hOPOU EIMI 
EGW EKEI KAI hO DIAKONOS hO EMOS ESTAI• EAN TIS EMOI DIAKONHi TIMHSEI AUTON hO 
PATHR.    John 12:20-26
 
 
Whenever reading this passage I have always wondered why Jesus did not receive 
the Greeks. This always disturbed me. However, upon reading it again I wonder 
if, perhaps, my assumption that he did not receive the Greeks was mistaken and, 
in fact, he did answer the Greeks.
 
When I came across AUTOIS in verse 23, I took it to mean Andrew and Philip, 
however, I remembered it was mentioned in an earlier post that John once used an 

antecedent that was quite remote from the pronoun. This made me consider this 
passage again and wonder if actually the Greeks could be the antecedent of 
AUTOIS and not Andrew and Philip.
 
If this is true, perhaps this is how it might have happened. 
 
Jesus was in the court of the Gentiles with his twelve disciples. Jesus, 
perhaps, was standing on the southern side of the soreg and the other disciples 
were gathered around him. On the outermost part of this circle stood Philip. As 
such, the Greeks came up to him to see if they could ask Jesus a question. 
Philip, for whatever reason, did not think he could make this decision on his 
own so he goes up to Andrew. As he was whispering in Andrew’s ear, Andrew looks 
over Philip's shoulder to see the Greeks that Philip was talking about. After a 
short discussion, they both decide to take the request to Jesus. 

 
Since they were all standing in a circle around Jesus, with the enquirers on the 

outermost part of the circle, perhaps, the Greeks were only 8-10 feet from 
Jesus. With Andrew and Philip now in the inner part of the circle, they only 
needed to take a couple steps to whisper in Jesus ear that a group of Greeks 
were asking to see Him. As Andrew and Philip are talking, Jesus looks up and 
sees the group patiently standing on the outermost part of the circle. Jesus 
then all of a sudden starts to speak to them and says, ELHLUQEN hH hWRA hINA 
DOXASQHi hO hUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU. AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EAN MH hO KOKKOS TOU SITOU 

PESWN EIS THN GHN APOQANHi, AUTOS MONOS MENEI• EAN DE APOQANHi, POLUN KARPON 
FEREI ...,  etc. probably to verse 27 where Jesus begins a new discourse to 
everyone gathered nearby.
 
One other point I noticed. John uses the word APARNEOMAI77 times in his gospel. 
Seventy-three times he uses the aorist tense and four times he uses the present 
tense.  Of those 73 times sometimes it is used in response to an actual 
question, but most of the time he uses it with EIPEN to introduce a simple 
statement. 

 
(Just as an aside, is the use of APARNEOMAI with LEGW a common idiom in extra 
biblical texts? As most probably have noticed this combination had been reduced 
to a form of LEGW in many modern translations, leaving out APARNEOMAI in the 
translation completely.)  

 
However, getting back to John’s use of the present tense, why switch to a 
present tense in this case when he almost always uses the aorist? Could it be 
used to indicate the suddenness of Jesus’ answer?  One thing I have noticed is 
that in the other three instances of the present tense of this word in this 
Gospel it is used in response to an actual question, and not just a simple 
statement. Therefore, could this be a slight indication that Jesus is responding 

to the inquiry of the Greeks. Other times the writer of the Gospel of John 
indicates that Jesus knew beforehand what was in the hearts of those whom he 
conversed. Could verse 22-26 actually be an answer to the question on the hearts 

of the Greeks? Or, if not, could it be a response to correct their expectation 
of what they understood would be the mission and objective of a Jewish Messiah? 
More than likely these Greeks were God-fearers from afar who had heard of Jesus 
from some returning Jews who had previously been to Jerusalem.
 
Does anyone think it is doing an injustice to the text to understand AUTOIS as 
referring to hELLHNES?  Just how far away can we take an antecedent without 
getting ridiculous in our analysis? Does anyone know of other such examples 
where the antecedent is this far removed?
 
Cordially,Blue Harris


      
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