Re: John 21:15

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri May 30 1997 - 08:44:02 EDT

At 11:08 AM -0400 5/30/97, T & J Peterson wrote:
>In John 21:15, Jesus asks Peter, "AGAPAiS ME PLEON TOUTWN?" which is
>generally translated, "Do you love me more than these?" Now, I know
>there is debate as to what the antecedent is of TOUTWN, but I don't
>recall any argument that it refers to the other disciples in the sense
>of "Do you love me more than these [love me]?" Is there any way to
>determine grammatically whether TOUTWN refers to the subject or object
>of AGAPAiS? I haven't been able to find anything specific enough on the
>genitive of comparison to tell one way or the other.

I honestly believe that this is an ambiguity in the Greek that is beyond
simple grammatical resolution, by which I don't mean that the author
intended it to be ambiguous (though I wouldn't rule that out in Johannine
literature, where we have what many think is a deliberately ambiguous
ANWQEN in Jn 3:3), but simply that we don't get any grammatical clues as to
whether TOUTWN is masculine or neuter or what it must refer to. As I
recall, this was one issue discussed in the course of the lengthy threads
we had on this pericope in Jn 21 at the end of last summer and at least
once since then. You might want to consult the archives for that
corresponcence at

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243

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