--- In johannine_literature@y..., michael Hardin <michael1517@y...>
> For some time now I have been studying the usage of
> words with 'double meanings' in 4G. I am curious to
> know if others have also found the 'author's' use of
> words that have a double meaning to be of value . . . .
Michael, I am more of a student than a scholar of the fourth
gospel. Nevertheless, even (maybe, especially) students have
opinions, too. It would indeed be an interesting and controversial
study to tabulate and classify the most obvious ones. The most
frequent reason I can see for the double (and sometimes more)
meanings is in support of the Johannine technique I call "dialogues
with dummies." The poor sap who is shown as questioning Jesus almost
always misunderstands what Jesus is telling him and, regarding words
with more than one possible meaning, only gets the infelicitous one
and is blind to what Jesus is actually saying. Jesus is then given
the opportunity to explain further for the benefit of the intended
audience. (The dummy is almost never shown as ever getting the
point.) I think this goes so far as to include instances in which
both meanings have to be in the listener/reader's mind in order to
have any hope of following Jesus. Perhaps the most obvious example
is John 3:3. Nicodemus interprets *gennhth anwthen* as meaning
only "born again." The usually excellent NAB makes the opposite
error, interpreting the words as meaning only "born from above." A
proper understanding, in my opinion, requires that Jesus be
understood as meaning both things. One must be reborn in the Spirit
in order to see the kingdom of God.
To say the same thing with different words, I think that the author
wants his or her audience to think and not to merely swallow dogma.
He is as much as saying that just as Jesus is more than appears on
the surface, Jesus' message is more profound than surface appearances
might lead one to believe.
Yours in Christ,