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

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  • 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 1 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
      --- 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 2 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
        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 3 of 17 , Mar 18, 2009
          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

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 of 17 , Mar 22, 2009
            --- 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 5 of 17 , Mar 23, 2009
              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]
            • 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 6 of 17 , Mar 24, 2009
                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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