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

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  • 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 1 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







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    • 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 2 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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        [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 3 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 4 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 5 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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