Re: John 6:22

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sun Jun 08 1997 - 08:53:56 EDT


At 9:14 AM -0400 6/7/97, Jim Beale wrote:
> THi EPAURION hO OXLOS hO hESTHKWS PERAN THS QALASSHS
> EIDON hOTI PLOIARION ALLO OUK HN EKEI EI MH hEN KAI
> hOTI OU SUNEISHLQEN TOIS MAQHTAIS AUTOU hO IHSOUS EIS
> TO PLOION ALLA MONOI hOI MAQHTAI AUTOU APHLQON.
>
>I have questions regarding "hOTI PLOIARION ALLO OUK HN EKEI EI
>MH hEN." Does this mean "only one other boat was there" or
>"there was only one boat there"? If it means the latter, then
>why the apparent distinction between PLOIARION and PLOION? And
>if the former, how can that be reconciled with the context,
>which seems to imply that the crowd is puzzled over the means
>used by Jesus to leave that place?

I think the meaning is, in fact, "only ONE boat was there." I think the
Greek is strained, probably Semitizing, but perfectly intelligible in an
idiomatic sort of way. I'm reminded of first reading, after picking up bare
bones of Hebrew, Gen 1:11-12 the sequence, "fruit tree bearing fruit which
seed of it is in it" and thinking "what a quaint manner of expression!"

I don't think there's a whit of difference between PLOIARION and
PLOION--they're synonymous. In its long course (almost 3000 years using the
same alphabet) Greek has a tendency to substitute diminutives for at least
some regular nouns, and at least for a period of time the diminutive and
the original form are synonymous.
The modern Greek noun for "ship" is PLOIARI from PLOIARION, for "boy" is
PAIDI from PAIDION). You might compare NT usage of PAIS (probably used
mostly in the idiomatic sense of "servant" like French "garćon" and English
"boy") and PAIDION, TEKNON and TEKNION. It may be that this is
Indo-European or even universal, but I find it fascinating that Latin
PUELLA is the standard feminine equivalent to masculine PUER, although one
can find the older PUERA in early Latin poetry. I don't know the relevant
history of German, but I've occasionally wondered what original "Mädchen"
is a diminutive of--surely not "Magd," is it?

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
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:18 EDT