John 2.4,Acts 19.2

Date: Wed Mar 13 1996 - 19:18:33 EST

Hi everyone. I'm new to the list and am already enjoying what I see in the
digest. I teach Greek and classics courses at UC Riverside and work with The
Lockman Foundation in Bible translation, etc. In the latter capacity I've
been busy over the past two years or so working on the updated text of the
New American Standard (published recently in the New Ryrie Study Bible), and
John 2:4 was one of the passages we struggled over. Bauer is surely right in
the sense that Jesus is not disrespectful to Mary, but Jesus is addressing
her on a lower level than that of his mother, and I have no doubt that he
is being confrontational in an appropriate manner ("appropriate" may not be
the most accurate term, but it is hard to find the right adjective). It was
pointed out that this is a Hebrew idiom, and one can find the idiom being
used in 2 Sam 16:10 and 19:22, 1 Ki 17:18, 2 Chr 35:21, and of course in
the NT at Matt 8:29 etc. (forgive me if I am duplicating earlier conver-
sation). I would have liked to have brought the NASB more in line with these
passages at John 2:4, but the problem is how to do it without giving too
harsh an impression to the reader who is not familiar with the issue, and to
do so in a way that allows for softer interpretations. This just seems to
be one of those passages where the translator has to bite the bullet.
As to Acts 19:2 and the use of the aorist participle, I was able to do a
fairly extensive computer study (limited to the Bible, however) and came to
the conclusion that the aorist participle can precede or overlap the main
action, but not extend beyond it. I tell my students that the aor. part.
may be simultaneous, but that it is logically prior to the governing action;
e.g. "take and eat" may be virtually simultaneous actions, but you have to
take and eat--eat and take is not possible. In my research I was trying to
deal with the mistaken notion that the aor. part. can be subsequent action
if it is subsequent in word order to the governing verb. Word order affects
emphasis and deemphasis, not the order of actions.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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