John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

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Jonathan Robie
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 14th, 2014, 9:39 am

Hefin J. Jones wrote:Focusing on the forest might take us out of b-greek.
That depends partly on which forest you focus on, but I do think we need to be careful. Here's a forest that interests me: my impression is that John is very careful in his use of antecedents and pronouns. Iver's interpretation seems to require a level of imprecision that I would expect in Mark but not in John, but this is purely my impression, based largely on the wonderfully precise and poetic use of reference in the first chapters of John and 1 John.

I have not yet looked carefully at the passages Iver has brought up, I am going to take a look and see if I can find similar examples of imprecise use of antecedents in John. Can anyone think of such examples?
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Paul-Nitz » November 23rd, 2019, 7:51 am

To refresh the debate,
Are the the πεπιστευκοτες of vs. 31 the ones who απεκριθησαν in vs. 33?

Sure seems to me that the natural grammatical sense is to take it as the οἱ πεπιστεύκοτες who ἀπεκρίθησαν. It does jar the senses, though.

I wonder if the answer to the apparent contradiction here is in followiing the ASPECT trail in verses 30-31. I’m not absolutely sure I’m NOT just “seeing things” here, but this is what comes to my mind when I trace the verbal aspects:
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Brian Gould
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Brian Gould » November 23rd, 2019, 8:37 pm

It is sometimes said that the presence/absence of the preposition εἰς makes a difference. In v. 30 they “believe in him,” i.e. they believe he truly is who he says he is, but in v. 31 they only “believe him,” in the sense that they believe what he just said, they accept that one particular statement as being true.

Thus runs up against the difficulty, however, that Jesus’ statement (in v. 28) is about himself:

28 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς: ὅταν ὑψώσητε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, τότε γνώσεσθε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ ἀπ' ἐμαυτοῦ ποιῶ οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ καθὼς ἐδίδαξέν με ὁ πατὴρ ταῦτα λαλῶ.

Because of this, I don’t really see how there might be a meaningful distinction, in this context, between “believing him” and “believing in him.”
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 23rd, 2019, 11:31 pm

Brian Gould wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 8:37 pm
It is sometimes said that the presence/absence of the preposition εἰς makes a difference. In v. 30 they “believe in him,” i.e. they believe he truly is who he says he is, but in v. 31 they only “believe him,” in the sense that they believe what he just said, they accept that one particular statement as being true.

Thus runs up against the difficulty, however, that Jesus’ statement (in v. 28) is about himself:

28 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς: ὅταν ὑψώσητε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, τότε γνώσεσθε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, καὶ ἀπ' ἐμαυτοῦ ποιῶ οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ καθὼς ἐδίδαξέν με ὁ πατὴρ ταῦτα λαλῶ.

Because of this, I don’t really see how there might be a meaningful distinction, in this context, between “believing him” and “believing in him.”
People keep reviving necro-posts, but good to see these things are being read and still stimulating discussion.

Now that was just a general observation. Brian, I'm not sure of the logic behind your citation of v. 28 to support your point, but I agree with your conclusion. Here the parallelism seems to indicate that πιστεύω εἰς and πιστεύω + the dative are essentially equivalent, and I think that runs true consistently throughout the NT.

I've always seen the antecedent as those those who believed, but that John is playing with the idea of belief to demonstrate that the claim to belief must be backed up by action, and the response of the believers shows that their belief was not what it was supposed to be.

Paul, I love your presentation. I'm not even sure how to do that! This shows some of the practical application that aspect and discourse theory can have in our understanding of the text. Not totally convinced, but it gives us something to chew on.
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Brian Gould
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Brian Gould » November 24th, 2019, 5:00 pm

Thank you, Barry. I hadn't noticed that it was what you call a necro-post. I like that expressive coinage, by the way. I hope you won't mind if I use it on other websites!
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 8:33 Antecedant of "they"

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 24th, 2019, 8:24 pm

Brian Gould wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 5:00 pm
Thank you, Barry. I hadn't noticed that it was what you call a necro-post. I like that expressive coinage, by the way. I hope you won't mind if I use it on other websites!
It's not original to me...

https://en.scratch-wiki.info/wiki/Necropost

But here we don't mind if it brings up or restarts a good discussion.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

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