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

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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 1 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

      [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 2 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 3 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




          [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 4 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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