June 1 Gospel lection, John 17:1-10; Comments on the Greek text

Jn 17:1 Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπεν[A]· Πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα[B]· δόξασόν[C] σου τὸν υἱόν, ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σέ, Jesus said these things, and having lifted up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, so that the son may glorify you.
Jn 17:2 καθὼς ἔδωκας[D] αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός, ἵνα πᾶν[E] ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ δώσῃ αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Just as you gave him authority [over] all flesh, so that [with respect to] all that you have given to him, he might give to them eternal life.
Jn 17:3 αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα[F] γινώσκωσι[G] σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and [the one] whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jn 17:4 ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὸ ἔργον τελειώσας ὃ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω· I glorified you on the earth, having completed the work which you have given me to do.
Jn 17:5 καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ, πάτερ, παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί.[H] And now, glorify me, Father, alongside yourself, with the glory that I had before the world was, alongside you.
Jn 17:6 Ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα[I] τοῖς ἀνθρώποις οὓς ἔδωκάς μοι ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. σοὶ ἦσαν κἀμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἔδωκας, καὶ τὸν λόγον σου τετήρηκαν. I manifested your name to the people whom you gave to me from the world.  They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
Jn 17:7 νῦν ἔγνωκαν[J] ὅτι πάντα ὅσα δέδωκάς μοι παρὰ σοῦ εἰσιν· Now they have come to know that all [the] things which you have given to me are from you.
Jn 17:8 ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἔδωκάς[K] μοι δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλαβον καὶ ἔγνωσαν ἀληθῶς ὅτι παρὰ σοῦ ἐξῆλθον, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν[L] ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. Because the statements which you gave to me, I have given to them, and they received [them] and came to know truly that I came forth from you, and they believed that you sent me.
Jn 17:9 ἐγὼ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐρωτῶ· οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἐρωτῶ ἀλλὰ περὶ ὧν δέδωκάς μοι, ὅτι σοί εἰσιν, I ask concerning them; I do not ask concerning the world, but concerning [those] whom you have given to me, because they are yours.
Jn 17:10 καὶ τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα σά ἐστιν καὶ τὰ σὰ ἐμά, καὶ δεδόξασμαι ἐν αὐτοῖς. And all that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.
Jn 17:11 καὶ οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ[M], καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰσίν, κἀγὼ πρὸς σὲ ἔρχομαι. πάτερ ἅγιε, τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ[N] δέδωκάς μοι, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς. And I am no longer in the world, and [yet] they are in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, keep them in your name which you have given to me, in order that they may be one, just as we [are.]”

[A] Indicating the shift from direct address to prayer at this point.

[B] Forms a nice bookend with 2:4.  Surveying this word in john will yield some interesting results.

[C] This “glorification” of course, is the paradoxical “lifting up” of the Son of Man on the cross, as well as the resurrection.

[D] Aorist indicates a prior giving (in the incarnation?)

[E] Interesting shift from the neuter (encompassing more than persons) to the masculine gender later in the verse, focusing specifically on persons.  What God has given to Jesus encompasses more than persons alone.

[F] Could be epexegetical, as I have translated here (“that”), or one might translate it as a purpose clause, indicating the reason for eternal life:  “This is eternal life, so that they may know you, . . .”

[G] Present tense indicates not a one-time sort of knowing, but one that is ongoing and continuous.

[H] This verse, taken by itself, might suggest that the ascension is simply a return to a former state for the second person of the Trinity.  In a sense this is true, but it is also an exaltation, according to many texts, including some from John:  7:39; 12:16, etc.

[I] Why is the name manifested in particular, and what does this mean?  Hmmm . . . .

[J] Here “knowing” is in the perfect tense, indicating not ongoing learning, but a present and continuing state of understanding.

[K] Interesting to speculate on where in the Fourth Gospel such statements are given to Jesus, if at all in the gospel.

[L] Note that knowing and believing here are almost synonymous here (though that is not always true in John).

[M] Interesting collapsing of the narrative time of the story.  Jesus is no longer in the world, and yet he is about to undergo a very real death in the world!

[N] Lots of textual variants here, most of them not relevant to translation, except some ambiguity about whether the text is referring to the name which was given to Jesus, or the people who were given to Jesus.  The text as it is printed is the more likely, in my opinion.

May 25 2014 Gospel Lection John 14:15-21; Comments on the Greek Text

Jn 14:15 Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ[A] με, τὰς ἐντολὰς[B] τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε[C]· If you love me, you will keep my commandments;
Jn 14:16 κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον[D] δώσει ὑμῖν ἵνα ᾖ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα[E], and I will ask the Father, and he will give to you another helper to be with you into the age,
Jn 14:17 τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὃ ὁ κόσμος οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, ὅτι οὐ θεωρεῖ αὐτὸ οὐδὲ γινώσκει· ὑμεῖς γινώσκετε αὐτό, ὅτι παρ’ ὑμῖν μένει[F] καὶ ἐν[G] ὑμῖν ἔσται.[H] the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither perceives [him/her][I] nor knows [him/her].  You know [the helper] because [he/she] stays beside you and will be in/among you.
Jn 14:18 Οὐκ ἀφήσω ὑμᾶς ὀρφανούς, ἔρχομαι[J] πρὸς ὑμᾶς.[K] I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.
Jn 14:19 ἔτι μικρὸν καὶ ὁ κόσμος με οὐκέτι θεωρεῖ, ὑμεῖς δὲ θεωρεῖτέ[L] με, ὅτι ἐγὼ ζῶ καὶ ὑμεῖς ζήσετε.[M] Yet a little [while], and the world no longer perceives me, but you perceive me; because I am alive, you also will live.
Jn 14:20 ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ γνώσεσθε[N] ὑμεῖς ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρί μου καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν. In that day, y’all will know that I am in my Father and you [are] in me and I [am] in/among you.
Jn 14:21 ὁ ἔχων τὰς ἐντολάς μου καὶ τηρῶν αὐτὰς ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαπῶν με·[O] ὁ δὲ ἀγαπῶν με ἀγαπηθήσεται ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου, κἀγὼ ἀγαπήσω αὐτὸν καὶ ἐμφανίσω αὐτῷ ἐμαυτόν. The one who has my commandments and keeps them—that is the one who loves me; and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him.

[A] Note that this love is not a one-time event, but a persistent activity, signified by the present tense.

[B] Although this is plural (“commandments” cf.  14: 21, 15:10), there is only one commandment that Jesus explicitly gives in the fourth Gospel:  to love one another (13:34, 15:12f., 17).

[C] Other MSS have an imperative here (and a few an aorist subjunctive).  There’s not so much difference between the future and the subjunctive, and the imperative is in some tension with the next verse.  Not an easy call.

[D] Here is the (edited) BDAG definition, somewhat complex, which calls into question the commonly assumed “legal representative” understanding of this word:  (παρακαλέω) originally meant in the passive sense, ‘one who is called to someone’s aid’. Accordingly Latin writers commonly rendered it, in its NT occurrences, with ‘advocatus’. But the technical mng. ‘lawyer’, ‘attorney’ is rare.  In the few places where the word is found in pre-Christian and extra-Christian lit. as well it has for the most part a more general sense: one who appears in another’s behalf, mediator, intercessor, helper. The pass. idea of παρακεκλῆσθαι retreated into the backgound, and the active idea of παρακαλεῖν took its place. Jews adopted it in this sense as a loanw. The Gk. interpreters of John’s gosp. understood it in the active sense=παρακαλῶν. In our lit. the act. sense helper, intercessor is suitable in all occurrences of the word. Christ is designated as παράκλητος: παράκλητον ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν δίκαιονwe have Jesus Christ the righteous one, who intercedes for us. The same title is implied for Christ by the ἄλλος παράκλητοςof J 14:16. It is only the Holy Spirit that is expressly called παρ.=Helper in the Fourth Gosp.: 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.

[E] εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα is commonly translated “forever,” but this misses the eschatological connotation implicit in the phrase.

[F] In contrast to the next chapter, where the command is for us to abide/stay in and with Jesus, here the Paraclete abides/stays with us!  Divine action comes first, and is the basis for human response.

[G] When the preposition ἐν takes a plural object, it can mean either “in” or “among.”

[H] Cf. 20:22.

[I] The Greek is neuter, but “it” sounds too impersonal in English.

[J] The first of several present tenses with a futuristic tilt.

[K] It is striking how often in John the presence of the Spirit and the presence of Jesus are conflated.  It is not hard to see why the western church wanted to add the filioque clause!

[L] Cf. the same verb used with respect to the spirit two verses earlier.

[M] A very succinct statement of union with Christ!

[N] Here perception moves to knowledge.

[O] Note the inclusio with verse 15 at the beginning of this text.

May 18 2014 Gospel Lection, John 14:1-14 Comments on the Greek text

Jn 14:1 Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν[A] ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε[B] εἰς[C] τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε. Don’t let your heart be disturbed; you believe into God—believe also into me.
Jn 14:2 ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ[D] τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν· εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν·[E] In the household of my Father there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going to prepare a place for you.
Jn 14:3 καὶ ἐὰν πορευθῶ καὶ ἑτοιμάσω τόπον ὑμῖν, πάλιν ἔρχομαι[F] καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς[G] ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἦτε. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and will take you along to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Jn 14:4 καὶ ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω οἴδατε τὴν ὁδόν. And where I am going, you know the way.
Jn 14:5 λέγει αὐτῷ Θωμᾶς· Κύριε, οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ὑπάγεις· πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι; Thomas says to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jn 14:6 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ. Jesus says to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jn 14:7 εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ[H] με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἂν ᾔδειτε· ἀπ’ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτὸν καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.  From now on you know him and have seen him.”
Jn 14:8 Λέγει αὐτῷ Φίλιππος· Κύριε, δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν. Philip says to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jn 14:9 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ[I] μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με, Φίλιππε; ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα· πῶς σὺ λέγεις· Δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα; Jesus says to him, “For so much time I am with you, and you have not known me, Philip?  The one who has seen me has seen the Father.  How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’
Jn 14:10 οὐ[J] πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν; τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐ λαλῶ, ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you, I don’t speak from myself, but the father abiding in me is doing his works.
Jn 14:11 πιστεύετέ[K] μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί· εἰ δὲ μή,[L] διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστεύετε. Believe me that I [am] in the Father and the Father [is] in me.  But if not, believe the works themselves.
Jn 14:12 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει, καὶ μείζονα τούτων ποιήσει,[M] ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα πορεύομαι· Amen, amen I say to you, the one who believes into me—the works that I do that one will also do, and will do greater than these [works], because I am going to the Father.
Jn 14:13 καὶ ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε[N] ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου τοῦτο ποιήσω, ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ· And whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Jn 14:14 ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐγὼ ποιήσω If you ask me anything in my name, I will do [it].

[A] Note that “your” is plural, but “heart” is singular.  Probably not a collective sense, but rather “don’t let the heart of [any of ] you be disturbed.

[B] This verb and the next form of the same verb for believe can be either indicative or imperative n(the form is the same), resulting in a variety of possibilities in translation.  If have rendered the first as indicative, and the second as imperative.  Both are present tense, indicating ongoing, continuous, or repeated action.

[C] This unifying sense of believe (“into”) is important in this text.

[D] Can refer either to building[s] or relationships.

[E] Many editions read this as a question (remember that there is very little punctuation in the earliest manuscripts).  Then it would read “If it were not so, would I have told you, that I am going to prepare a place for you?”  Yet this is a little more problematic, since that statement about preparing a place isn’t found explicitly earlier in the gospel.

[F] Present tense with a somewhat futuristic emphasis.

[G] Or even “with myself”

[H] There are some complex and evenly divided textual variants that make this verse shift from the contrary to fact form (that I have translated) to one that reads “If you have come to know me, you also will know my Father.”  I agree with the textual critics who argue that a version that places the disciples in a more negative light is more likely to be original.  But neither way of translation is without its problems.

[I] Dative case with expressions of time indicates time-within-which.

[J] Questions with οὐ expect a positive answer.

[K] I have translated both forms of the verb in the imperative mood, but they could also be indicatives:  “You believe me that I [am] in the Father and the Father [is] in me.  But if not, you believe the works themselves.”  This is less likely, I think.

[L] It is striking how the text does not assume that belief is “automatic” at this point!  Throughout John, faith is always dynamic and growing.

[M] It’s challenging to know how literally to press this verse.  Should we read “Amen, amen I say to you, the one who believes into me—the works that I do that one will also do (because of believing into me), and will do greater than these [works], (because I am going to the Father)?”

[N] Presumably this prayer is directed to the Father “in the name of Jesus,” since as a result, the Father is glorified in the Son.  This makes the next verse difficult, where prayer is directed to the Son.  Hard to know how to resolve this dilemma.  This is a classic crux in the Farewell Discourse.  In addition to these verses, cf. 15: 7, 16; 16:23, 24, 26.

May 11 2014 Gospel lection John 10:1-10; Comments on the Greek text

 

Jn 10:1 Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ μὴ εἰσερχόμενος διὰ τῆς θύρας εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τῶν προβάτων ἀλλὰ ἀναβαίνων[A] ἀλλαχόθεν ἐκεῖνος κλέπτης ἐστὶν καὶ λῃστής· Amen, amen, I tell you, the one who does not enter through the gate into the courtyard of the sheep, but who goes up from another place—that one is a thief and a bandit.
Jn 10:2 ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενος διὰ τῆς θύρας ποιμήν ἐστιν τῶν προβάτων. But the one entering through the gate is [the] shepherd of the sheep.
Jn 10:3 τούτῳ ὁ θυρωρὸς ἀνοίγει, καὶ τὰ πρόβατα τῆς φωνῆς[B] αὐτοῦ ἀκούει καὶ τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα φωνεῖ κατ’ ὄνομα[C] καὶ ἐξάγει αὐτά. To this one the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice and he calls [his] own sheep by name and leads them out.
Jn 10:4 ὅταν τὰ ἴδια πάντα ἐκβάλῃ[D], ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν πορεύεται, καὶ τὰ πρόβατα αὐτῷ ἀκολουθεῖ, ὅτι οἴδασιν τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ· When he has driven out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.
Jn 10:5 ἀλλοτρίῳ δὲ οὐ μὴ[E] ἀκολουθήσουσιν ἀλλὰ φεύξονται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδασι τῶν ἀλλοτρίων τὴν φωνήν. But they will surely not follow another, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of others.
Jn 10:6 ταύτην τὴν παροιμίαν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐκεῖνοι δὲ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τίνα ἦν ἃ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς.[F] Jesus told this saying to them, but they didn’t know what it was that he was saying to them.
Jn 10:7 Εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα[G] τῶν προβάτων. Then again Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen I tell you, I am the gate of the sheep.
Jn 10:8 πάντες ὅσοι ἦλθον [πρὸ ἐμοῦ[H]] κλέπται εἰσὶν καὶ λῃσταί· ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἤκουσαν[I] αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα. All who came before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listen to them.
Jn 10:9 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· δι’ ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ σωθήσεται καὶ εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει. I am the door; through me, if anyone enters [he or she] will be saved, and will go in and come out and find pasture.
Jn 10:10 ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ· ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν. The thief doesn’t come except to kill and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have [it] in abundance.

[A] More literally, “ascends,” recalling the recurring emphasis on John on Jesus as the one who “descends” from God, rather than ascending to God (cf. John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 41f., 50f., 58).  Metaphorically and in an expanded meaning, this “thief” who “ascends” from another place may refer to a revealer who does not “ascend” from the cross, in the way that Jesus would do, but pursues a self-preserving and enhancing path.  That’s why such a one is a thief.

[B]Remember that ἀκούω takes its object either in the accusative or in the genitive case.  When it takes the accusative, it speaks of “hearing about” in a more general way.  When it takes the genitive, it speaks of “hearing from” in a more direct way.  That’s what we see here.

[C] One of the most powerful images in Scripture is this sense of being called “by name” by God.

[D] A surprisingly strong verb—the same verb used when Jesus “drives out” demons.  Perhaps an allusion to the expulsion from the synagogue mentioned elsewhere in John (9:22, 12:42, 16:2)

[E] One would expect the aorist subjunctive after this οὐ μὴ construction, signifying emphatic future denial, and some MSS have this reading, but the more difficult reading (and thus the more likely original) is the future indicative—somewhat grammatically incorrect.

[F] Reinforcing the sense that there are multiple layers of meaning here, as I’ve tried to suggest in some of these notes.

[G] Now Jesus not only enters through the gate, but he is the gate!  Interesting morphing of the image.

[H] It is unclear whether “before me” was included in the original manuscript.  Was it deleted because it seemed to disparage all Old Testament revelation, or was it added to clarify an ambiguous sentence without it?  Hard to say—either solution is problematic.

[I] Or “the sheep did not hear them.”  Is the difference that they failed to speak comprehensibly to the sheep, or that the sheep refused to listen?  Hmm . . . .