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5705Re: [John_Lit] T Jn. 4:22 -responses to Mark and Stephen

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  • Kevin Snapp
    Mar 18 1:24 AM
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      --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...> wrote:
      > Kevin:
      > Thanks for that. I went back to LSJ (at Perseus online this time, since I am at home w/o my LSJ 9 handy), and looked at your examples.
      > I wonder, is the difference actually something explainable by context/
      > Might the dative simply mean "I bow down before, or toward"? While the accusative is used more generically for worship. this would explain most of the instances you cite, and the reference in LSJ to the "later use" of dative under the subheading of "to bow down before in the oriental fashion" ....
      > Of course to test this would require some research in a larger data base, say TLG for the Hellenistic period. And i doubt I will find time to do that. but that is just a thought.
      > Mark A. Matson
      > Academic Dean
      > Milligan College
      > http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
      > ________________________________

      I thought a bit about that, but at least at first glance I don't see a distinction between literal and figurative corresponding to dative and accusative. The Jewish translators of the LXX chose proskunew as the translation for "hishtacheveh" which means both to prostrate oneself and to worship, probably choosing dative for the object because there was no action upon the person or thing bowed to, and they favored the literal sense. It may have been more or less a semitism in Greek, especially with dative, so how it is used by NT authors might depend more than anything on their backgrounds -- Jewish versus Gentile, Greek-speaking versus Aramaic-speaking.

      I believe the consensus is that Mark was a Gentile and native Greek speaker, and he doesn't use it at all. Perhaps a little too "oriental-exotic" for his audience? Luke, a Greek-speaking Gentile but familiar with the LXX, whose Greek I believe is considered the best of the four, uses it once with accusative at Luke 24:52, and once without object, but with the preposition "enwpion"+ genitive in 4:7, in his version of Matthew's temptation scene I mentioned earlier, probably to make it literal, "bow down in front of me." When Luke is "semitizing," i.e., imitating the LXX, in Stephen's speech, Acts 8:27, he uses proskunew with dative.

      Paul, a Jew but a native Greek speaker, addressing Gentiles, uses it once, with dative, in 1 Cor. 14:25 in the context of literal prostration.

      John was a Jewish Aramaic speaker who uses it, although only a few times. Ditto for Matthew. The author of Revelation, who I think scholars agree came from a Jewish, Aramaic-speaking background, uses it most of all.

      I've been puzzling over Jn. 4:23, where he switches from dative (worship the father, tw patri) to accusative, ("his worshipers, proskunountas auton). Maybe the reason is that when speaking directly of worshiping God he was drawn to the feel of the LXX, even though it wasn’t standard usage -- just as many English speakers will have a flashback to the seventeenth century and say “hallowed be thy name” because of the KJV. On the other hand, the participle form of hishtacheveh is rare in the Hebrew Bible, and in my search I only saw one instance where it was used to mean a “worshiper” rather than simply someone bowing down in the present tense. Speaking of a “worshiper” in postbiblical Hebrew one would use oveid, from the root meaning to serve. So perhaps dealing with the participle, John didn’t feel the pull from remembered LXX usage to use the dative and was comfortable with the accusative.

      That’s just a guess, but it’s interesting that the author of Revelation seems consistent in worshiping God - tw thew-- in the dative, too. It’s not a matter of true piety, because although the Beast -- to thHrion -- is worshiped in the accusative, the image of the beast is worshiped in the dative - tH eikoni tou theriou. There is worship of God, and worship of idols in the Hebrew Bible, but no worship of a beast. So perhaps the author’s linguistic choices were being driven by memories of the LXX, with dative forms for “God” and “idol” but not “beast” associated with “worship” in his mind.

      I’d like to see whatever you find, but I’d guess the NT authors were in a heavily Jewish-influenced milieu somewhat disconnected from the Hellenistic mainstream as far as religious or worship-related language is concerned.

      Kevin Snapp
      Chicago, IL
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