Since I haven't heard from this group in a long time, I wonder if I could
still ask for some comment on the following.
To whom is the witness of the Spirit in John 15.26. The world (forensic -
conviction: Brown, Lindars), the world (witness for faith-response), or the
disciples (Newman & Nida)?
I am tending to favour against the first and last for the following reasons:
Brown sees this as introducing the forensic element of "establish(ing) the
guilt and sin of the world" which will be introduced in 16.8-11. While
this may be true of the Paraclete in that passage, several factors seem to
mitigate against Brown's reading. The imperative that the disciples will
also witness in the next is one factor. The disciples are never given the
task of accusers or judges of the world's sin. A second factor is that the
witness of the Spirit in 15.26 is not a witness PERI hAMARTIAS KAI PERI
DIKAIOSUNHS KAI PERI KRISEWS as it is in 16.8. In 15.26 it is a witness
PERI EMOU, that is Jesus. It would seem that the two are separate, yet
Newman and Nida see the witness of the Spirit as being to the disciples.
This would compliment 14.25 since the role of the Spirit was primarily in
relation to the believer, and since the previous cause states specifically
that Jesus is to send the Spirit to the believers, it seems preferable to
render the final clause of verse 26 and he will speak to you about me.
(N&N 497) However, this too has its problems. The assumption that the
relationship of the Spirit is primarily with the disciples is dealt with in
the next chapter (Jn 16.8-11). Further, the Paraclete is sent to the
disciples (16.7) and his role is to "prove the world wrong about sin and
righteousness and judgment," not to speak to the disciples. The fact that
Newman and Nida go on to state that the goal of the witness in the next
verse is "other persons" may be grammatically correct. However it does not
seem to make sense in the light of the wider context of the hatred of the
world, and the various roles of "witness" in the Fourth Gospel, nor is it
necessarily the best grammatical choice.
Any comments would be appreciated.
Trinity Methodist Theological College
Auckland Consortium of Theological Education, New Zealand