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RE: [John_Lit] Translation of Jn. 4:22

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    why do you think that proskunew requires a dative object? According to LSJ the accusative is very common. In fact I couldn t find the dative as the basic case
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 16, 2009
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      why do you think that proskunew requires a dative object? According to LSJ the accusative is very common. In fact I couldn't find the dative as the basic case referenced there at all.

      If proskunew takes the accusative, the sentence makes complete grammatical sense.

      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

      ________________________________

      From: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Kevin Snapp
      Sent: Mon 3/16/2009 10:24 PM
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Translation of Jn. 4:22



      --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > The text is: hUMEIS PROSKUNEITE hO OUK OIDATE. hHMEIS PROSKUNOUMEN
      > hO OIDAMEN, hOTI hH SWTHRIA EK TWN IOUDAIWN ESTIN.
      >
      > I'm not sure the proposal works, unfortunately. hO in both cases is
      > a demonstrative folded into a relative pronoun. It is in the accusative
      > because it is the object of OIDATE / OIDAMEN. The whole clause is the
      > object of PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN; no dative is required in this
      > situation. There is no requirement that hO be in the dative; attraction
      > does not always happen. Also, since "what we know" is the object of "we
      > worship", it is unlikely that the hOTI gives the content of "what we know"
      > since people do not worship the statement that salvation comes from the Jews.
      > Here, the meaning of "because" is appropriate for hOTI.
      >
      > Stephen


      Hi, Stephen,

      Thanks for your input. I seem to be having trouble with English as
      well as Greek, because I don't think we're understanding each other.
      I think I understand how the standard translation "works," but I
      pointed out that it doesn't really make much sense. Jesus has
      acknowledged that the Samaritan woman, and presumably Samaritans
      generally, worship "the Father." So what is it they don't know? If
      John's Jesus were talking about "knowing God"in a deeper sense, would
      he have said that the Jews do "know" God and the Samaritans don't? I
      don't think so, given the harsh comments about "the Jews."

      Let me go through your message.

      >hO in both cases is a demonstrative folded into a relative pronoun.
      >It is in the accusative because it is the object of OIDATE/OIDAMEN.

      Agreed that hO is accusative, and the object of OIDATE/OIDAMEN. hO
      is a relative pronoun. It is "a demonstrative folded into a relative
      pronoun" only if it is also the object of PROSKUNEITE/PROSKUNOUMEN,
      as the standard translation assumes.

      I'm asking why that's necessary. I suggested that PROSKUNEITE /
      PROSKUNOUMEN has no object, just as it has no object in 4:20, because
      Jesus is not talking about the object of worship. Jesus is talking
      about why Jews and Samaritans worship where they do. Those who
      "know" that "salvation is from the Jews/Judeans (presumably meaning
      they expect the Messiah to be a descendant of David of Judah) worship
      at Jerusalem. This the Samaritans don't "know," as they reject the
      canonical prophets.

      >The whole clause is the object of PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN;

      That's what I'm questioning. Why does it have to be?

      >no dative is required in this situation. There is no requirement
      >that hO be in the dative; attraction does not always happen.

      As I understand it, in the usual translation, "hO" is a relative
      pronoun and "hO OIDATE / OIDAMEN" are relative clauses modifying the
      (identical) object of of PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN. The
      demonstrative pronoun that would have been the dative object of
      PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN has been omitted. In this situation,
      according to Smyth, an accusative relative pronoun would "usually" be
      attracted into the dative of the omitted demonstrative. Granted,
      "usually" is not "always," and I know that Smyth is oriented toward
      classical Greek, not Koine.

      >Also, since "what we know" is the object of "we worship"it is
      >unlikely that the hOTI gives the content of "what we know"
      > since people do not worship the statement that salvation comes from
      >the Jews. Here, the meaning of "because" is appropriate for hOTI.

      Agreed, but only if "what we know" is the object of "we worship." If
      Jesus had not (uniquely in John) identified himself with "the Jews"
      as "we," it could conceivably mean, "the Jews know they are the
      people from whom salvation will come, and that's what they worship."
      But I won't go there, and on its face it would be silly to say anyone
      worships the statement that salvation comes from the Jews. But I'm
      saying that the statement that "salvation comes from the Jews"is
      "what"(hO) "we know/ you don't know." It is not the object of
      worship.

      To sum up, as best I can understand your message, you have done a
      good job of explaining the rationale for the standard translation,
      but you haven't explained what is wrong, grammatically, with my
      alternative.

      I should explain that I am convinced that a number of things in John
      are deliberately ambiguous, and I think this is one of them. I will
      acknowledge that the standard translation is acceptable, and even
      that it is the most "natural" way to read the verse. Nevertheless,
      although it appears to be a major put-down of the Samaritans -- they
      worship what they don't know -- it doesn't make a lot of sense when
      you think about it. Consistent with my take on John, I wanted to
      propose the alternative translation, but I didn't want grammatical
      egg on my face, which is why I posted here.

      So what, if anything is wrong with "You worship [and] you don't know
      it; we worship [and] we know it, that salvation is from the Jews"?

      This translates PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN as having no object, while
      "hO" acts in each half as the identical object of OIDATE/OIDAMEN, and
      as a conjunction. ["Many relative clauses are equivalent to
      coordinate clauses. In such cases the relative has the force of a
      demonstrative or personal pronoun with a connective ...." (Smyth sec.
      2490)]

      Why not? I grant that my translation makes the meaning trivial, but
      for my purposes that's fine, as I think it was intended to be.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

      Kevin Snapp
      Chicago, IL




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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... The example in Smyth has an antecedent for the relative pronoun in the preceding clause. Where are your antecedents for hO? Stephen -- Stephen C. Carlson
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 16, 2009
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        On Mar 16, 2009 10:24 PM, Kevin Snapp <kalvachomer@...> wrote:
        >--- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
        >> The text is: hUMEIS PROSKUNEITE hO OUK OIDATE. hHMEIS PROSKUNOUMEN
        >> hO OIDAMEN, hOTI hH SWTHRIA EK TWN IOUDAIWN ESTIN.
        >
        >So what, if anything is wrong with "You worship [and] you don't know
        >it; we worship [and] we know it, that salvation is from the Jews"?
        >
        >This translates PROSKUNEITE / PROSKUNOUMEN as having no object, while
        >"hO" acts in each half as the identical object of OIDATE/OIDAMEN, and
        >as a conjunction. ["Many relative clauses are equivalent to
        >coordinate clauses. In such cases the relative has the force of a
        >demonstrative or personal pronoun with a connective ...." (Smyth sec.
        >2490)]
        >
        >Why not? I grant that my translation makes the meaning trivial, but
        >for my purposes that's fine, as I think it was intended to be.

        The example in Smyth has an antecedent for the relative pronoun in the
        preceding clause. Where are your antecedents for hO?

        Stephen

        --
        Stephen C. Carlson
        Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
        Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
      • Kevin Snapp
        ... Mark, My understanding was that proskunew took the accusative in classical Greek, but in Hellenistic Greek was supplanted by the dative. If my version of
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 17, 2009
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          --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...> wrote:
          >
          > why do you think that proskunew requires a dative object? According to LSJ the accusative is very common. In fact I couldn't find the dative as the basic case referenced there at all.
          >
          > If proskunew takes the accusative, the sentence makes complete grammatical sense.
          >
          > Mark A. Matson
          > Academic Dean
          > Milligan College
          > http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

          Mark,

          My understanding was that proskunew took the accusative in classical
          Greek, but in Hellenistic Greek was supplanted by the dative. If my
          version of LSJ 9th edition matches yours, on p. 1518, col. 2, there
          is a note that in later Greek it took the dative, with citations to
          the LXX, the NT, Josephus' Antiquities and Dio Cassius.

          For my own education I ran a word search, and while the dative seems
          to be universal or almost universal in the LXX (I didn't read every
          example), it is mixed in the NT. Oddly mixed -- apart from 4:22
          under discussion, John uses the dative in 4:21,in 4:23 he uses the
          dative (tw patri), but then lets the accusative case of the
          participle govern the object of the participle, saying "the father
          seeks such worshipers of him (toioutous zHtei tous proskunountas
          auton), and then repeats the accusative "tous proskunountas auton"
          for "his worshipers" in 4:24. I have no idea whether there are
          variants; I didn't go that far.

          Interestingly, Matthew uses it with dative (2:2, 2:8, 4:9) except
          once with accusative in 4:10 -- where one would presume he is quoting
          the LXX: "for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve
          only him." That quote does not occur in the Hebrew Bible; the
          footnoted verse, Deut. 6:13 has "Fear the Lord ...." The combination
          of "worship" (with dative) and "serve" does occur several times, but
          in admonitions not to serve or worship other gods, not positive
          commands to only worship and serve God. Was Matthew misquoting from
          memory, or avoiding any implication that Satan is "another god"?

          So Satan asks Jesus to worship him -- in the dative, and Jesus
          responds, "it is written "Worship the Lord your God" -- in the
          accusative, which the LXX doesn't use.

          Revelation looks very strange to me -- God is worshiped in the
          dative, the Beast in the accusative, and the image of the Beast in
          the dative. I won't even guess why.

          Anyway, you're right that proskunew can take an accusative object,
          and I'll drop any grammatical objections to the accepted
          translation.

          ***************
          Stephen,

          You wrote:

          >The example in Smyth has an antecedent for the relative pronoun in
          >the preceding clause. Where are your antecedents for hO?

          I was taking hO to refer to the thing that is known/non known in each
          case respectively, the final hOTI clause, "that salvation is from the
          Jews." I don't know whether it can be called an "antecedent,"
          because it comes after. "You worship [and] don't know it; we worship
          [and] know it, that salvation is from the Jews." Impossible?

          Kevin

          Kevin Snapp
          Chicago, IL
        • Matson, Mark (Academic)
          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
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 17, 2009
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            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

            ________________________________

            From: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Kevin Snapp
            Sent: Tue 3/17/2009 9:48 PM
            To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [John_Lit] T Jn. 4:22 -responses to Mark and Stephen



            --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Matson, Mark (Academic)" <MAMatson@...> wrote:
            >
            > why do you think that proskunew requires a dative object? According to LSJ the accusative is very common. In fact I couldn't find the dative as the basic case referenced there at all.
            >
            > If proskunew takes the accusative, the sentence makes complete grammatical sense.
            >
            > Mark A. Matson
            > Academic Dean
            > Milligan College
            > http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

            Mark,

            My understanding was that proskunew took the accusative in classical
            Greek, but in Hellenistic Greek was supplanted by the dative. If my
            version of LSJ 9th edition matches yours, on p. 1518, col. 2, there
            is a note that in later Greek it took the dative, with citations to
            the LXX, the NT, Josephus' Antiquities and Dio Cassius.

            For my own education I ran a word search, and while the dative seems
            to be universal or almost universal in the LXX (I didn't read every
            example), it is mixed in the NT. Oddly mixed -- apart from 4:22
            under discussion, John uses the dative in 4:21,in 4:23 he uses the
            dative (tw patri), but then lets the accusative case of the
            participle govern the object of the participle, saying "the father
            seeks such worshipers of him (toioutous zHtei tous proskunountas
            auton), and then repeats the accusative "tous proskunountas auton"
            for "his worshipers" in 4:24. I have no idea whether there are
            variants; I didn't go that far.

            Interestingly, Matthew uses it with dative (2:2, 2:8, 4:9) except
            once with accusative in 4:10 -- where one would presume he is quoting
            the LXX: "for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve
            only him." That quote does not occur in the Hebrew Bible; the
            footnoted verse, Deut. 6:13 has "Fear the Lord ...." The combination
            of "worship" (with dative) and "serve" does occur several times, but
            in admonitions not to serve or worship other gods, not positive
            commands to only worship and serve God. Was Matthew misquoting from
            memory, or avoiding any implication that Satan is "another god"?

            So Satan asks Jesus to worship him -- in the dative, and Jesus
            responds, "it is written "Worship the Lord your God" -- in the
            accusative, which the LXX doesn't use.

            Revelation looks very strange to me -- God is worshiped in the
            dative, the Beast in the accusative, and the image of the Beast in
            the dative. I won't even guess why.

            Anyway, you're right that proskunew can take an accusative object,
            and I'll drop any grammatical objections to the accepted
            translation.








            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Stephen C. Carlson
            ... Well, impossible is really the wrong way to go about conceptualizing how to understand the grammar. A better way is assess which understanding of the
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 17, 2009
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              On Mar 17, 2009 9:48 PM, Kevin Snapp <kalvachomer@...> wrote:
              >You wrote:
              >>The example in Smyth has an antecedent for the relative pronoun in
              >>the preceding clause. Where are your antecedents for hO?
              >
              >I was taking hO to refer to the thing that is known/non known in each
              >case respectively, the final hOTI clause, "that salvation is from the
              >Jews." I don't know whether it can be called an "antecedent,"
              >because it comes after. "You worship [and] don't know it; we worship
              >[and] know it, that salvation is from the Jews." Impossible?

              Well, "impossible" is really the wrong way to go about conceptualizing
              how to understand the grammar. A better way is assess which understanding
              of the grammar is the more compelling. Relative probability, not absolute
              probability, is what needs to be looked at.

              In this case, your objection to the standard understanding (that PROSKUNEW
              does not take an accusative) turns out to not be the case, and your own
              proposal not only necessitates an unusual usage of the relative clause, but
              now with the additional exception that there is no antecedent.

              At some point, you just have to throw up your hands and say, "well, it was
              worth a shot, at least" -- and I suggest that this point has long since come.

              Stephen

              --
              Stephen C. Carlson
              Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
              Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
            • Kevin Snapp
              ... Stephen, I don t think you understand why an improbable or awkward alternative translation, if it is not an impossible translation, might be of interest to
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 17, 2009
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                --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
                >
                > On Mar 17, 2009 9:48 PM, Kevin Snapp <kalvachomer@...> wrote:
                > >You wrote:
                > >>The example in Smyth has an antecedent for the relative pronoun in
                > >>the preceding clause. Where are your antecedents for hO?
                > >
                > >I was taking hO to refer to the thing that is known/non known in each
                > >case respectively, the final hOTI clause, "that salvation is from the
                > >Jews." I don't know whether it can be called an "antecedent,"
                > >because it comes after. "You worship [and] don't know it; we worship
                > >[and] know it, that salvation is from the Jews." Impossible?
                >
                > Well, "impossible" is really the wrong way to go about conceptualizing
                > how to understand the grammar. A better way is assess which understanding
                > of the grammar is the more compelling. Relative probability, not absolute
                > probability, is what needs to be looked at.
                >
                > In this case, your objection to the standard understanding (that PROSKUNEW
                > does not take an accusative) turns out to not be the case, and your own
                > proposal not only necessitates an unusual usage of the relative clause, but
                > now with the additional exception that there is no antecedent.
                >
                > At some point, you just have to throw up your hands and say, "well, it was
                > worth a shot, at least" -- and I suggest that this point has long since come.
                >
                > Stephen
                >
                > --
                > Stephen C. Carlson
                > Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
                > Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
                >
                Stephen,

                I don't think you understand why an improbable or awkward alternative translation, if it is not an impossible translation, might be of interest to me, although not to you. As I said, I am interested in deliberate ambiguity, where something is written so that it can be understood in two ways, and the facile reading may be the misleading one. I'm sorry that you found my persistence annoying. Thank you for your time.

                Kevin

                Kevin Snapp
                Chicago, IL
              • Kevin Snapp
                ... Mark, 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
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
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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
                  >
                  > ________________________________
                  Mark,

                  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
                  Kevin Snapp
                  Chicago, IL
                • Ramsey Michaels
                  Isn t it possible that John 4:22 uses the accusative instead of the dative simply because the dative does not allow the author to distinguish between the
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
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                    Isn't it possible that John 4:22 uses the accusative instead of the dative simply because the dative does not allow the author to distinguish between the neuter and the masculine?

                    He wants to say, "You worship *that which* you do not know," and "We know *what* we worship," rather than "You worship *him whom* you do not know." and "We know *him whom* we worship." The dative does not allow him to specify that he intends the neuter, for the dative singular masculine and neuter are the same.

                    For the neuter used in a similar way to refer to God, though with a different word for worship, see Acts 17:23.

                    In v 23, he reverts to the dative, "worship the Father," because he is finishing the thought he began in v 21. But then in vv 23b and 24 we get the accusative again. The efforts of Abbott, Johannine Vocabulary, 134-42, to distinguish different meanings for the verb with dative and accusative are not convincing to me.

                    Ramsey Michaels







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gary Manning
                    I glanced through all the uses of proskuneo in the NT and LXX. I agree with Ramsey (below) that you can t distinguish between meanings of proskuneo based on
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
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                      I glanced through all the uses of proskuneo in the NT and LXX. I agree with Ramsey (below) that you can't distinguish between meanings of proskuneo based on whether the object is in the dative or accusative. The only pattern I could discern among the texts that use the accusative for the direct object is that a disproportionate number of them are pronouns (esp. autos). It seems almost as if using the "wrong" case with pronouns sounded acceptable to Greek speakers, but less so with other nouns.

                      We have a similar misuse of case in English pronouns: no one says "to I", but many English speakers say "to you and I", which is technically incorrect but very common. This is not exactly parallel to Greek, but it reminds us that when native speakers do not appear to be following a well-known grammatical rule, they may be following another, less-known rule, or are following normal usage even if grammarians don't like it.

                      An earlier post on this topic reminded us of a basic rule of relative pronouns : the number and gender of a relative pronoun is determined by its antecedent, but its case is determined by its grammatical role in the relative clause. In this sentence, the accusative case may be for the simple reason that it is functioning as the object of oidamen in the relative clause. "Attraction" is when the case is determined by the main clause, or the gender is determined by the relative clause, in violation of the "rule." Wallace (BBBG, 337-343) points out some of the patterns that attraction follows. He uses Jn 4:22 as an example of gender attraction or perhaps omission of the antecedent (p. 337 and fn 58).

                      Gary


                      _______________________________________
                      Gary Manning, Ph.D.
                      http://eutychusnerd.blogspot.com/

                      Associate Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages
                      Interim Academic Dean
                      Pacific Rim Bible College
                      http://www.prbc-hawaii.edu/
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Ramsey Michaels
                      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 11:32 AM
                      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] T Jn. 4:22 -responses to Mark and Stephen


                      Isn't it possible that John 4:22 uses the accusative instead of the dative simply because the dative does not allow the author to distinguish between the neuter and the masculine?

                      He wants to say, "You worship *that which* you do not know," and "We know *what* we worship," rather than "You worship *him whom* you do not know." and "We know *him whom* we worship." The dative does not allow him to specify that he intends the neuter, for the dative singular masculine and neuter are the same.

                      For the neuter used in a similar way to refer to God, though with a different word for worship, see Acts 17:23.

                      In v 23, he reverts to the dative, "worship the Father," because he is finishing the thought he began in v 21. But then in vv 23b and 24 we get the accusative again. The efforts of Abbott, Johannine Vocabulary, 134-42, to distinguish different meanings for the verb with dative and accusative are not convincing to me.

                      Ramsey Michaels

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                    • Kevin Snapp
                      ... Thank you -- would you elaborate? I understand that the accusative would permit an unambiguous neuter object, but why would John want that result? What
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 22, 2009
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                        --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Ramsey Michaels" <profram@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Isn't it possible that John 4:22 uses the accusative instead of the dative simply because the dative does not allow the author to distinguish between the neuter and the masculine?
                        >
                        > He wants to say, "You worship *that which* you do not know," and "We know *what* we worship," rather than "You worship *him whom* you do not know." and "We know *him whom* we worship." The dative does not allow him to specify that he intends the neuter, for the dative singular masculine and neuter are the same.


                        Thank you -- would you elaborate? I understand that the accusative
                        would permit an unambiguous neuter object, but why would John want
                        that result? What would that mean in this context, when John's Jesus
                        has acknowledged that both Jews and Samaritans worship the
                        unambiguously masculine "Father"?
                        >
                        > For the neuter used in a similar way to refer to God, though with a different word for worship, see Acts 17:23.
                        >
                        I see your point, but it’s quite a different context, isn’t it? Paul
                        says he observed “your objects of worship," "ta sebasmata" (neut.
                        acc. pl.), and found an altar inscribed "to [the] unknown god,"
                        "agnwstw thew" (masc. dat. sg.). I suggest that Paul is tactfully
                        avoiding any implication of idolatry by referring to "objects of
                        worship" rather than "gods," and that Paul’s use of the neuter
                        relative is intended to refer back to the neuter “objects of worship”
                        rather than the masculine “unknown god.”

                        If Paul had led off with the masculine relative pronoun, he would be
                        saying, “[The god] whom you unknowingly worship, Him, I proclaim to
                        you,” but he doesn’t want to say the Athenians have actually been
                        worshiping God all along as “the unknown god.” Paul wants to use the
                        Athenians’ symbolic acknowledgment that there may be a god they
                        don’t know as his “hook” to grab their attention but without
                        implying that his God is just another god. So Paul chose to begin
                        with the impersonal neuter relative, “That which you unknowingly
                        worship,” which then required the neuter demonstrative, “this”
                        (rather than "Him”) "I proclaim to you.”

                        But I understand your point, that unless Paul were avoiding the
                        masculine for the reason I suggest, he is using the neuter singular
                        relative to refer to the masculine “unknown god” as “what you
                        worship,” followed by the neuter demonstrative representing the
                        masculine God Paul proclaims. So it is a precedent for using the
                        neuter singular relative for “what you worship” in Jn. 4:22. If that
                        explains the neuter gender, and proskunew can be used with accusative
                        as well as dative, it would explain Jn. 4:22 and its accepted
                        translation -- in isolation.

                        I think it is still legitimate to ask, though, why John switches back
                        and forth from dative to accusative in 4:23, this time keeping the
                        masculine gender. You wrote:

                        > In v 23, he reverts to the dative, "worship the Father," because he is finishing the thought he began in
                        > v 21. But then in vv 23b and 24 we get the accusative again. The efforts of Abbott, Johannine
                        > Vocabulary, 134-42, to distinguish different meanings for the verb with dative and accusative are not
                        > convincing to me.

                        Granted, v. 23a finishes the thought, but it seems artificial to
                        divide the explanatory 23b from 23b to explain the switch to the
                        accusative, which simply looks odd.

                        I have not read Abbott, but agree that one cannot distinguish here
                        between the “worship” of those “true worshipers” who “will worship
                        the (dative) Father in spirit and truth” and “those ones worshiping
                        Him (accusative)” whom He seeks. Even if 23b is explained as an
                        addition it seems extraordinarily clumsy to switch cases. So it
                        seems a better explanation to think of “tw patri” and “tw thew” as
                        fixed by the Septuagint in the dative, with John otherwise using the
                        accusative.

                        But with respect to 4:22, I’m back where I started from with the
                        problem of meaning, the problem that originally led to my suggestion
                        of grammatical ambiguity. It seems to me a very different thing for
                        Paul to say to the Athenians that they, “not knowing,” worship a
                        (neuter) “what,” than for John’s Jesus to tell the Samaritan woman
                        that “you, [Samaritans] worship what you do not know.”

                        Since Jesus has acknowledged that Samaritans, like Jews, worship “the
                        Father,” what could he have meant? Particularly since John is
                        obviously contrasting the Samaritans, who immediately believed in
                        Jesus as “savior of the world,” with the mostly unbelieving
                        Jews/Judeans? Furthermore, what could it mean to say that the
                        Jews/Judeans “worship what we know” “because salvation is from the
                        Jews”?

                        To me, 4:22 appears to say, “you worship what you do not know ...,”
                        but while the arguments here persuade me that is grammatically
                        acceptable, its meaning dissolves under scrutiny and a search for
                        alternatives is justified.

                        Kevin Snapp
                        Chicago, IL
                      • Ramsey Michaels
                        To me the parallel with Acts 17:23 was illuminating: That which [neuter pronoun] you ignorantly worship I make known to you. A different word for worship to
                        Message 11 of 17 , Mar 23, 2009
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                          To me the parallel with Acts 17:23 was illuminating: "That which [neuter pronoun] you ignorantly worship I make known to you."

                          A different word for worship to be sure, but it is language Paul uses in addressing Gentiles, telling tham that in fact they are worshipping the true God, but in ignorance. Something similar is going on here, I suspect, with the Samaritans being viewed as Gentiles, and in some sense representative of the Gentile world.

                          Best,

                          Ramsey Michaels




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                        • Kevin Snapp
                          Whether or not the author of Luke/Acts thinks of Samaritans as Gentiles, the author of John considers them Israelites. At least one commentator (sorry, I
                          Message 12 of 17 , Mar 24, 2009
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                            Whether or not the author of Luke/Acts thinks of Samaritans as Gentiles, the author of John considers them Israelites. At least one commentator (sorry, I don't remember who) pointed out that Jn. 4:35-36 alludes to the sabbatical year of Lev.25:1-7: "Do you not say, four months more then comes the harvest? But lift up your eyes and see the fields that are white for harvesting." We know from the beginning of ch. 4 that it was hot, i.e., summer, but there could be no harvesting until the new year began in the fall.

                            In this context, Jesus' saying that "the reaper receives wages and gathers fruit for eternal life" refers to Samaritan farmers, who instead of sowing and reaping their own fields, worked for Gentiles for pay, and by doing so "gathered fruit for eternal life" as reward for keeping the commandment. I don't think anyone has noticed the similarity to a rabbinic saying:

                            "These are the things of which a man eats their fruits (income) in this world, while their source (principal) is kept for him in the world to come: honoring one's parents, deeds of kindness, and making peace between fellow men, while the study of the Torah surpasses them all." (BT Shab. 127a and elsewhere.) (In keeping the mitzvah of the sabbatical year, it is literally the "fruits" one does not eat, so Jesus reverses it.) John is subtly reminding Jewishly-knowledgeable readers that the Samaritans are Israelites who keep the Torah.

                            As the Samaritans reap what others have sown, so shall Jesus' disciples. Those who "have sown" among the Samaritans for Jesus' disciples to "reap" include not only Moses, but also, John implies, John the Baptist and his disciples. Although its location is uncertain, probably "Aenon near Salim,"Jn. 3:23, was either in Samaria or on the Samaria-Galilee border. I understand the dispute "between John's disciples and a Jew" of 3:25 regarding "purification" as concerning whether Samaritans could be "purified" of their supposed hereditary taint, suspicion of mamzerut due to their differing halakhah or deficient observance with respect to divorce and/or levirate marriage. "Purification" was the term used in connection with mamzerim much later in the Talmud, when the rabbis sought to find a way around the unfairness of this biblically-mandated hereditary pariah caste.

                            Although John acknowledges that in his death Jesus would "draw all men to him," John's Jesus is never depicted interacting with Gentiles in his ministry, in contrast to the Synoptics. John 4 is not a prototype of "outreach" to Gentiles; it is about reuniting the House of Israel. John was discreet about it because his (and Jesus') ties to the Samaritans (of which there is other evidence in John) were closer than John wished to acknowledge publicly.

                            Just explaining the method in my madness, or the madness behind my method. From this perspective, for John's Jesus to dismiss Samaritan worship in a statement that doesn't withstand close logical scrutiny makes sense. I was not probing the limits of the Greek merely to torture it.

                            Kevin Snapp
                            Chicago, IL

                            --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "Ramsey Michaels" <profram@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > To me the parallel with Acts 17:23 was illuminating: "That which [neuter pronoun] you ignorantly worship I make known to you."
                            >
                            > A different word for worship to be sure, but it is language Paul uses in addressing Gentiles, telling tham that in fact they are worshipping the true God, but in ignorance. Something similar is going on here, I suspect, with the Samaritans being viewed as Gentiles, and in some sense representative of the Gentile world.
                            >
                            > Best,
                            >
                            > Ramsey Michaels
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
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