Re: John 2.4

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Mar 12 1996 - 08:33:50 EST

On 3/12/96, wrote:

> In John 2.4, Jesus has some querulous remarks to make to his mother: TI
> EMOI KAI COI, GYNAI . . . . Although Walter Bauer says that the vocative
> GYNAI "is by no means a disrespectful form of address, my students tend to
> interpret Jesus' remarks in accord with various translations in English. In
> vain do I remind them that an English translation cannot determine the
> meaning of a Greek text, and in vain I seek for a courteous-sounding
> translation. Is Bauer right? Of course he is, as evidenced by John 19.26,
> where Jesus (respectfully) addresses Mother: GYNAI IDE hO YIOC COY.
> But could someone provide me with a decent (non-confrontational)
> translation of John 2.4?
> Richard Arthur Merrimack NH

How about, "Madam"? (or "Ma'am")? archaic, stilted, but no more stilted
than "Ms." Perhaps for the whole, "Why ask ME, Ma'am?" Polite, but not

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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