Re: meno in John 15

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Thu Jun 06 1996 - 10:32:34 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote;
>At 2:45 PM -0500 6/6/96, David Tinberg wrote:
>> I am doing some study onthe verb meno and find it interesting that
>> jesus uses the term in John 15:4. The context seems to dictate a verb
>> that can refer to a horticultural or agricultural process. My research
>> however, shows it refering to nautical experiences, traveling (by road)
>> experiences, referring to cities (as lasting) and living conditions (
>> dwelling), etc. Is there any agricultural process referred to by this
>> verb?
>No, there is nothing distinctly horticultural or agricultural itself
>referred to be the verb MENW, although John seems to pun on the notion of
>the grain of wheat in 12:24 as one that MENEI MONOS if it does not
>"fall/get buried" into the earth and "die/get executed." MONOS, "alone"
>appears to have no etymological relationship to the verb MENW, yet John
>plays upon the verbal similarity here and apparently deliberately so to
>contrast the notion of "abiding" as properly associated with the "mutual
>indwelling" of members of a community in each other with the notion of
>"remaining alone." In 14:2 Jesus says that there are many MONAI in "my
>Father's house." Here the noun MONH ("abode"--KJV: "mansion" which is
>Elizabethan English for "dwelling place") is indeed clearly related to the
>verb MENW ("abide") and a key Johannine theme of covenant community is
>emphasized. The verb MENW recurs repeatedly throughout the entire gospel of
>John, and this recurrence is important enough that Raymond Brown has a
>special appendix on it in his Anchor Bible Commentary on John's Gospel,
>Volume 1, pp. 510-512. He cites a couple older articles on it there; I
>would imagine there's more been written on the subject since then. It would
>be good to check BAGD for bibliographical references under the heading of

Surely this word is thematic in John. I heard G.B. Caird's last series of
lectures in the winter term of 1984. He maintained that the theme starts
in John 1:38 when the disciples asked the question POU MENEIS. Caird
maintained that the real question is answered by the thematic of MENW which
generally has a theological meaning of "abiding in God" and vice-versa and
especially in 10:38 when he said, "The Father is in me and I am in the
Father." Then, as Carl has pointed out, in 14 MONH/AI is clearly related
then the vine and branches in 15.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College

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