Re: Jn 14:9

Date: Sat Aug 24 1996 - 14:03:00 EDT

You're very welcome, Carl, I found this to be an invigorating exercise.
'Degree of difference' was what I had in mind, but it was getting late and
all I could think of at the time was 'dative of extent'. Your analogy of
CARIN and hENEKA to this construction is very logical, and with regard to
the quote from Demosthenes we could assume hUSTERON with his "having done so"
(the Greek of this portion is KAI TOSOUTWi CRONWi PRAXANTI...). However,
the fact that this is found in Demosthenes shows that this was done at a
very early time. I sometimes make erroneous assumption that such grammatical
shorthand is historically later than the full form (which is undoubtedly true
up to some early point), when in fact--as in the case of CARIN and hENEKA--
the two may very well continue to exist together. I found hUSTERON ("later")
used several times in the corresponding contruction by later writers.
As to the textual problem, I tend to agree with you that the dative form
would more likely be perceived as an error by a copyist, but I can't be sure
without at least looking at the papyri, though the latter may prove to be of
little help.
For those who may be wondering what I am talking about (even *I* sometimes
wonder what I am talking about), we always assume that an error in the copying
process of a scribe is an attempt to change what he sees in the original as
some kind of mistake, unless we can be fairly certain that an ordinary error
(tantamount to a "typo" in our era) has been committed. Someone somewhere (now
I sound like the writer of Hebrews) has challenged this assumption, arguing
that there must have been good scribes and bad ones (our 'A' and 'D' students,
in effect). This is probably true to some extent, but the sources we take
seriously are those who otherwise do good work, so intentional changes are
more likely. Anyway, given this assumption the important question is which of
two or more readings is harder to make sense of (and therefore more likely to
have been changed). If the dative construction were to prove to be common in
NT times, then we would have to be much more cautious about viewing it as
the harder (and therefore original) reading.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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