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[John_Lit] Re: Eucharistic eating in John 6:51-58

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  • McGrath, James
    I hate to be a party pooper , but I think another explanation of the evidence, a linguistic rather than a theological one, may be possible. The Johannine
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 2, 2003
      I hate to be a 'party pooper', but I think another explanation of the
      evidence, a linguistic rather than a theological one, may be possible.
      The Johannine writings never use the verb esthiw (or however one ought
      to transliterate that into English!). John consistently uses trwgw for
      the present tense and ephagon for the aorist. Might it not be simpler to
      suggest that that is simply the vocabulary of the author in reference to
      eating? In that case, the verbs themselves would not tell us anything -
      only the way they are used would be significant. On the other hand, it
      might be a great research paper if someone could try to locate other
      examples of Koine Greek which evidence the same linguistic phenomenon -
      perhaps it is a regionalism, and one that would aid in localizing the
      'Johannine community' (if there ever was such a creature!).

      Looking forward to your thoughts on this!

      James



      *****************************
      Dr. James F. McGrath
      Assistant Professor of Religion
      Butler University, Indianapolis
      http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/
      *****************************
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... The Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar at § 101, s.v. ESQIEIN (p. 51) states: TRWGEIN is the popular substitution for ESQIEIN; John always, otherwise only Mt
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 2, 2003
        At 09:01 AM 9/2/03 -0500, McGrath, James reiterated:
        >I hate to be a 'party pooper', but I think another explanation of the
        >evidence, a linguistic rather than a theological one, may be possible.
        >The Johannine writings never use the verb esthiw (or however one ought
        >to transliterate that into English!). John consistently uses trwgw for
        >the present tense and ephagon for the aorist. Might it not be simpler to
        >suggest that that is simply the vocabulary of the author in reference to
        >eating? In that case, the verbs themselves would not tell us anything -
        >only the way they are used would be significant. On the other hand, it
        >might be a great research paper if someone could try to locate other
        >examples of Koine Greek which evidence the same linguistic phenomenon -
        >perhaps it is a regionalism, and one that would aid in localizing the
        >'Johannine community' (if there ever was such a creature!).
        >
        >Looking forward to your thoughts on this!

        The Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar at § 101, s.v. ESQIEIN (p. 51)
        states: "TRWGEIN is the popular substitution for ESQIEIN; John
        always, otherwise only Mt 24: 28 (for which Lk 17: 27 has HSQION),
        Barn, Herm Sim 5.3.7 (not in LXX). Cf. Haussleiter, Archiv f.
        lat. Lexikogr. 9 [1896] 300ff., where EDERE is compared with
        popular MANDUCARE. MGr TRWGW-EFAGA."

        According to this, TRWGW is merely the popular form of the verb
        "to eat," which eventually did replace the Classical ESQIEIN in
        Modern Greek. John's Greek is less classical than Luke's or
        even Matthew's, and not much more can be safely inferred from
        the choice of the popular TRWGW than the refined ESQIEIN.

        Stephen Carlson
        --
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
      • Bob Schacht
        ... Stephen, I certainly would not want to argue with Blass-Debrunner-Funk, but I am puzzled about why TRWGEIN can be considered the popular substitute for
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 2, 2003
          At 11:08 PM 9/2/2003 -0400, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:

          >The Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar at § 101, s.v. ESQIEIN (p. 51)
          >states: "TRWGEIN is the popular substitution for ESQIEIN; John
          >always, otherwise only Mt 24: 28 (for which Lk 17: 27 has HSQION),
          >Barn, Herm Sim 5.3.7 (not in LXX). Cf. Haussleiter, Archiv f.
          >lat. Lexikogr. 9 [1896] 300ff., where EDERE is compared with
          >popular MANDUCARE. MGr TRWGW-EFAGA."
          >
          >According to this, TRWGW is merely the popular form of the verb
          >"to eat," which eventually did replace the Classical ESQIEIN in
          >Modern Greek. John's Greek is less classical than Luke's or
          >even Matthew's, and not much more can be safely inferred from
          >the choice of the popular TRWGW than the refined ESQIEIN.
          >
          >Stephen Carlson

          Stephen,
          I certainly would not want to argue with Blass-Debrunner-Funk, but I am
          puzzled about why TRWGEIN can be considered the "popular" substitute for
          ESQIEN if there are so few examples of it in this usage? Or, by "popular"
          do they mean "vulgar" rather than "most frequent in the known literature"?
          Isn't it true that ESQIEN and its derivatives are much more common in the
          NT than TRWGEIN and its derivatives?
          Also, I notice that there is no mention of any difference in usage by verb
          tense, so McGrath's argument, which requires a shift in verb choice
          depending on verb tense?

          Also, for what period is the Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar intended as
          normative? I assume that it must include first century Judea and Galilee,
          or you wouldn't have used it.

          Thanks!
          Bob
        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
          ... You seem to be taking the NT as the whole of Koine literature! The fact, if it is a fact, that the one verb is more frequent than the other **in the NT**
          Message 4 of 12 , Sep 3, 2003
            Bob Schacht wrote:

            > Stephen,
            > I certainly would not want to argue with Blass-Debrunner-Funk, but I am
            > puzzled about why TRWGEIN can be considered the "popular" substitute for
            > ESQIEN if there are so few examples of it in this usage? Or, by "popular"
            > do they mean "vulgar" rather than "most frequent in the known literature"?
            > Isn't it true that ESQIEN and its derivatives are much more common in the

            You seem to be taking the NT as the whole of Koine literature! The fact, if it
            is a fact, that the one verb is more frequent than the other **in the NT** does
            not falsify what Stephen (or BDF) noted. All it means, as Stephen intimated, is
            that some NT writings are more classical than popular in style.

            Yours,

            Jeffrey
            --

            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

            1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
            Chicago, IL 60626

            jgibson000@...
          • Stephen C. Carlson
            ... Popular as in colloquial . ... I m not sure what you mean, but the New Testament corpus of Greek does show quite a range of stylistic variation, from
            Message 5 of 12 , Sep 3, 2003
              Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:
              >I certainly would not want to argue with Blass-Debrunner-Funk, but I am
              >puzzled about why TRWGEIN can be considered the "popular" substitute for
              >ESQIEN if there are so few examples of it in this usage? Or, by "popular"
              >do they mean "vulgar" rather than "most frequent in the known literature"?

              "Popular" as in "colloquial".

              >Isn't it true that ESQIEN and its derivatives are much more common in the
              >NT than TRWGEIN and its derivatives?

              I'm not sure what you mean, but the New Testament corpus of
              Greek does show quite a range of stylistic variation, from
              the barely grammatical (Revelation), to the simple (Mark and
              John), to the elegant and refined (e.g. Luke, Acts, Hebrews).
              Thus, when popular/colloquial vs. refined uses are concerned,
              statistics from the NT are not so helpful as they would be
              for a word whose usage is more stable in the first century.

              >Also, I notice that there is no mention of any difference in usage by verb
              >tense, so McGrath's argument, which requires a shift in verb choice
              >depending on verb tense?

              ESQIEIN is a suppletive verb, in that some of its tenses are
              supplied by different roots. In Greek, this verb is particularly
              affected, because its future and perfect tenses are supplied
              by EDEIN, and its aorist by FAGEIN. In Ionic and Hellenistic
              Greek, from which the Koine developed, the future was supplied
              by FAGEIN, while the perfect was supplied by BIBRWSKEIN. Then,
              in later Greek, TRWGEIN came to supply the present tense.

              English, too, has suppletive verbs; one example, is GO-WENT-GONE,
              where the past tense of GO is supplied by the past from of
              WEND. The substitution of ESQIEIN by TRWGEIN is a substitution
              of roots in particular tenses, not a wholesale replacement.

              >Also, for what period is the Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar intended as
              >normative? I assume that it must include first century Judea and Galilee,
              >or you wouldn't have used it.

              BDF is the grammar for the Greek of New Testament and early
              Christian literature, covering its first two centuries. Hermas
              and Barnabas, also cited in the entry I quoted, are difficult
              to date but were probably composed in the early second century,
              not much later than the traditional date for the Fourth Gospel.

              Stephen Carlson

              --
              Stephen C. Carlson,
              mailto:scarlson@...
              "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Jeffrey, Well, it sounded that way, didn t it? ... But my question was exactly about frequency vs. class issues. That is, one usage might be more
              Message 6 of 12 , Sep 3, 2003
                At 08:53 AM 9/3/2003 -0500, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:


                >Bob Schacht wrote:
                >
                > > Stephen,
                > > I certainly would not want to argue with Blass-Debrunner-Funk, but I am
                > > puzzled about why TRWGEIN can be considered the "popular" substitute for
                > > ESQIEN if there are so few examples of it in this usage? Or, by "popular"
                > > do they mean "vulgar" rather than "most frequent in the known literature"?
                > > Isn't it true that ESQIEN and its derivatives are much more common in the
                >
                >You seem to be taking the NT as the whole of Koine literature!

                Jeffrey,
                Well, it sounded that way, didn't it? <g>

                >The fact, if it is a fact, that the one verb is more frequent than the
                >other **in the NT** does
                >not falsify what Stephen (or BDF) noted.

                But my question was exactly about "frequency" vs. class issues. That is,
                one usage might be more common among the literate, and a different usage
                common among the illiterate-- who were always more numerous. "Popular" is
                used ambiguously either as a synonym for frequency [in available texts], or
                as an indicator of use among the hoi polloi, and I was trying to understand
                which was meant in this case.

                > All it means, as Stephen intimated, is that some NT writings are more
                > classical than popular in style.

                But doesn't this stand on its head the usual claims made about the NT
                writings? I thought Mark's Greek was supposed to be typical KOINE, where
                one might expect to find TRWGEIN more often, and John's Greek, which I
                thought was supposed to be more literary (but I don't think that's the
                right word.) But in this case, it is GJohn who uses the cruder speech, and
                Mark who doesn't. Isn't this backwards from the usual assumptions about the
                Greek of the Gospels?

                To put it another way, is the frequency of TRWGEIN more frequent, or less
                frequent, in KOINE vs. more literary Greek?
                Or have I framed the question incorrectly?

                Bob
              • Mike Grondin
                ... Stephen- I m somewhat confused by the last three statements above. Since you say that in Greek EDEIN supplies the future tense for ESQIEIN, but yet that
                Message 7 of 12 , Sep 4, 2003
                  --- Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
                  > ESQIEIN is a suppletive verb, in that some of its tenses are
                  > supplied by different roots. In Greek, this verb is particularly
                  > affected, because its future and perfect tenses are supplied
                  > by EDEIN, and its aorist by FAGEIN. In Ionic and Hellenistic
                  > Greek, from which the Koine developed, the future was supplied
                  > by FAGEIN, while the perfect was supplied by BIBRWSKEIN. Then,
                  > in later Greek, TRWGEIN came to supply the present tense.

                  Stephen-

                  I'm somewhat confused by the last three statements above. Since
                  you say that "in Greek" EDEIN supplies the future tense for ESQIEIN,
                  but yet that "in Ionic and Hellenistic Greek" FAGEIN supplies the
                  future, I get the impression that your first "in Greek" may be a
                  reference to modern Greek. Does the following capture your
                  historical breakdown?

                  1. Ionic & Hellenistic Greek: future-FAGEIN
                  2. "later Greek" (incl Koine?): present-TRWGEIN, perfect-BIBRWSKEIN
                  3. modern Greek?: future & perfect-EDEIN, aorist-FAGEIN

                  So that, between stages 1 and 3, the future form of ESQIEIN
                  differed, and between stages 2 and 3, the perfect form differed?
                  But also, if stage 3 really is modern Greek, then it may safely be
                  ignored for our purposes? Or have I misunderstood your breakdown?

                  The second question I have is how this relates to the usage in GJn
                  (both in general, and specifically in 6.51-58) of the forms of
                  FAGEIN and TRWGEIN. You've concentrated on the usage of FAGEIN as
                  suppletive to ESQIEIN, but doesn't GJn use FAGEIN in ways other
                  than as a future-tense suppletive to ESQIEIN? In particular, if
                  it's used in the present-tense, wouldn't that show that when
                  TRWGEIN *is* used, there must have been a reason for so doing?

                  > English, too, has suppletive verbs; one example, is GO-WENT-GONE,
                  > where the past tense of GO is supplied by the past from of
                  > WEND. The substitution of ESQIEIN by TRWGEIN is a substitution
                  > of roots in particular tenses, not a wholesale replacement.

                  No doubt, but then there's that (embarrasingly?) unqualified
                  statement in BDF that "TRWGEIN is the popular substitution for
                  ESQIEIN." (I do have a copy of BDF, BTW, though it's a bit of
                  an odd duck within my limited collection of accessible, but
                  pedestrian, sources.)

                  Now for something completely different:
                  Did 'goed' go against the goad from the get-go, or did 'went'
                  go to 'go' only when 'wend' went astray? <g>

                  Respects,
                  Mike Grondin
                • Tobias Hägerland
                  ... ESQIEIN, ... Although I am not Stephen Carlson, I think I am able to clarify the matter. Stephen s in Greek is hardly a reference to modern Greek, but to
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 6, 2003
                    Mike Grondin wrote:

                    > Stephen-
                    >
                    > I'm somewhat confused by the last three statements above. Since
                    > you say that "in Greek" EDEIN supplies the future tense for
                    ESQIEIN,
                    > but yet that "in Ionic and Hellenistic Greek" FAGEIN supplies the
                    > future, I get the impression that your first "in Greek" may be a
                    > reference to modern Greek. Does the following capture your
                    > historical breakdown?
                    >
                    > 1. Ionic & Hellenistic Greek: future-FAGEIN
                    > 2. "later Greek" (incl Koine?): present-TRWGEIN, perfect-BIBRWSKEIN
                    > 3. modern Greek?: future & perfect-EDEIN, aorist-FAGEIN
                    >
                    > So that, between stages 1 and 3, the future form of ESQIEIN
                    > differed, and between stages 2 and 3, the perfect form differed?
                    > But also, if stage 3 really is modern Greek, then it may safely be
                    > ignored for our purposes? Or have I misunderstood your breakdown?

                    Although I am not Stephen Carlson, I think I am able to clarify the
                    matter. Stephen's 'in Greek' is hardly a reference to modern Greek,
                    but to classical Attic (which is THE Greek language to most classical
                    scholars). EDEIN is an old epic (Homeric) verb which in Attic
                    supplies some forms for ESQIEIN.

                    > The second question I have is how this relates to the usage in GJn
                    > (both in general, and specifically in 6.51-58) of the forms of
                    > FAGEIN and TRWGEIN. You've concentrated on the usage of FAGEIN as
                    > suppletive to ESQIEIN, but doesn't GJn use FAGEIN in ways other
                    > than as a future-tense suppletive to ESQIEIN? In particular, if
                    > it's used in the present-tense, wouldn't that show that when
                    > TRWGEIN *is* used, there must have been a reason for so doing?

                    FAGEIN is not used in the present. It occurs in the future (1st sg.
                    fagomai) and aorist (1st sg. efagon) tenses as a suppletive to
                    ESQIEIN. Or, if you prefer, ESQIEIN supplies the present tense for
                    FAGEIN!

                    Tobias Hägerland M.Th.
                    Göteborg University
                    Department of Religious Studies and Theology
                  • Mike Grondin
                    ... You have indeed. Many thanks for taking the time to do so. As I now understand it, the change of verb-forms in 6.51-58 is in itself explained, but it s
                    Message 9 of 12 , Sep 7, 2003
                      --- Tobias Hägerland wrote:
                      > Although I am not Stephen Carlson, I think I am able to clarify
                      > the matter.

                      You have indeed. Many thanks for taking the time to do so. As I
                      now understand it, the change of verb-forms in 6.51-58 is in itself
                      explained, but it's still open that the authorial decision to use
                      the present tense in 6.54-58, in the phrase hO TRWGWN, may be seen
                      as an intentional parallel to 13.18 - given the similarity of
                      subject-matter.

                      Mike G.
                    • Stephen C. Carlson
                      ... I ve been away for a few days, so I d just like to confirm Tobias s clarification as essentially correct. Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson
                      Message 10 of 12 , Sep 9, 2003
                        At 10:55 AM 9/6/03 -0000, Tobias Hägerland wrote:
                        >Although I am not Stephen Carlson, I think I am able to clarify the
                        >matter. Stephen's 'in Greek' is hardly a reference to modern Greek,
                        >but to classical Attic (which is THE Greek language to most classical
                        >scholars). EDEIN is an old epic (Homeric) verb which in Attic
                        >supplies some forms for ESQIEIN.

                        I've been away for a few days, so I'd just like to confirm Tobias's
                        clarification as essentially correct.

                        Stephen Carlson
                        --
                        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                        Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                        "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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