Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

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Nathan Schmidt
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Joined: November 12th, 2017, 7:10 pm

Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Nathan Schmidt » November 12th, 2017, 8:00 pm

John 1:25-27:

καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις εἰ σὺ οὐκ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς οὐδὲ Ἠλίας οὐδὲ ὁ προφήτης;
ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰωάννης λέγων· Ἐγὼ βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι· μέσος ὑμῶν ἕστηκεν ὃν ὑμεῖς οὐκ οἴδατε, ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἄξιος ἵνα λύσω αὐτοῦ τὸν ἱμάντα τοῦ ὑποδήματος.

I'm a newbie, but as I understand it, τί is nominative as well as accusative for "who." So it appears to me that the messengers' question can be read as, "Whom do you baptize?" even though they obviously intend to ask "Why do you baptize?"

With that meaning of τί in mind, it sounds to me as though John's response could be a clever use of wordplay to sidestep the messengers' actual question. Whom he baptizes is Jesus. I would think that the Gospel of John is familiar with Jesus' baptism by John, even if it is not explicitly described.

(1) Is my Greek at least technically correct, that "Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις" could be read "Whom then do you baptize?"
(2) Does it appear likely to anyone with a better grasp of the linguistic and social context that John's response involves deliberate wordplay?
Nathan Schmidt

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 13th, 2017, 6:47 am

Actually, Nathan, note that τί is neuter here, "what," but the neuter accusative is often used adverbially to mean "why." "Whom" would have to be masculine/feminine accusative, τίνα, singular, τίνας, plural.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 13th, 2017, 9:45 am

A few more examples of τί; meaning "why?":

Matthew 7:3 τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ  δελφοῦ σου, τὴν δὲ ἐν τῷ
σῷ ὀφθαλμῷ δοκὸν οὐ κατανοεῖς;
Matthew 11:9  ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε; προφήτην ἰδεῖν; ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, καὶ περισσότερον
προφήτου.

The most common way to ask "why" is διὰ τί; But διὰ τί; ἱνατί; εἰς τί; τί ὅτι; χάριν τίνος; are all used, and are mostly synonymous. I wonder how the accusative for τί, when used alone as a question, is related to the accusative in διὰ τί; ἱνατί; εἰς τί;

διὰ τί;
Matthew 9:11 Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν;
Matthew 13:10 Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς;
Rev 17:7 καὶ εἶπέν μοι ὁ ἄγγελος· Διὰ τί ἐθαύμασας;

ἱνατί;
Matthew 9:4 Ἱνατί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;

εἰς τί;
Matthew 14:31 Ὀλιγόπιστε, εἰς τί ἐδίστασας;

τί ὅτι;
Luke 2:49: Τί ὅτι ἐζητεῖτέ με; οὐκ ᾔδειτε ὅτι ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου δεῖ εἶναί με;

χάριν τίνος;
1 John 3:12: καὶ χάριν τίνος ἔσφαξεν αὐτόν; ὅτι τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ πονηρὰ ἦν, τὰ δὲ τοῦ
 δελφοῦ αὐτοῦ δίκαια.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Nathan Schmidt
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Joined: November 12th, 2017, 7:10 pm

Re: Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Nathan Schmidt » November 13th, 2017, 1:46 pm

Oops. I read my lexicon wrong, that's the problem. I see now that it was trying to tell me that τί is neuter and τίνα is masculine/feminine.

It seems that, in my yearning to discover deeper meaning in the New Testament, I invented it for myself!

Thank you. :lol:
Nathan Schmidt

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 13th, 2017, 2:31 pm

Nathan Schmidt wrote:
November 13th, 2017, 1:46 pm
Oops. I read my lexicon wrong, that's the problem. I see now that it was trying to tell me that τί is neuter and τίνα is masculine/feminine.

It seems that, in my yearning to discover deeper meaning in the New Testament, I invented it for myself!

Thank you. :lol:
But look, through the exercise and getting it wrong chances are you will never forget it, so your Greek has improved that much. That's how it rolls when you are getting started.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Jason Hare
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Location: Rehovot, Israel
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Re: Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις

Post by Jason Hare » November 13th, 2017, 9:06 pm

Nathan Schmidt wrote:
November 13th, 2017, 1:46 pm
Oops. I read my lexicon wrong, that's the problem. I see now that it was trying to tell me that τί is neuter and τίνα is masculine/feminine.
Actually, it has case also. τίς is nominative. τίνα is accusative. The complete paradigm is here.

τίς βαπτίζει;Who is baptizing? (מי מטביל?)
τίνα βαπτίζει;Whom is he baptizing? (את מי הוא מטביל?)
τί βαπτίζεις;Why are you baptizing? (מדוע אתה מטביל?)
τί βαπτίζει;Why is he baptizing? (מדוע הוא מטביל?)
Nathan Schmidt wrote:
November 13th, 2017, 1:46 pm
It seems that, in my yearning to discover deeper meaning in the New Testament, I invented it for myself!
This is something that it's good to learn now. A lot of people impute meaning to the text that they think they've discovered in the language (like "dynamite power" coming from δύναμις and ἀγάπη meaning "God-type love"). It's good to get this lesson out of the way and to get into learning the language as a language. :)

Happy studying!
Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

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