More on Word Games: John 3:3 (was RE: Lamsa and Aramaic (puns again))

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Wed Aug 06 1997 - 11:08:16 EDT

I can't speak to *studies* on the subject, but the original (not the
revised) New Testament to the New American Bible pointed out the use of
"word games" in John 3:3, explicitly contrasting "begotten from above"
in this verse with "born again" in v.4. The notes for this verse in
that translation read:

<<*begotten*: the Greek verb can mean "born" from a female principle,
or "begotten" by a male principle. As in 1:13 John primarily means it
as "begotten," though many early versions translate it as "born" or
even, with heightened baptismal symbolism, "reborn". *From above*: the
Greek term *anothen* means both "again" and "from above". V. 31 below
shows that Jesus means it as "from above", but Nicodemus misunderstands.
 (A misunderstanding that brings out Jesus' treaching is a common
literary device in John.)??

Theological perspectives aside, is this reasonable, both in this
specific instance and, as the notes assert, elsewhere in the Gospel of

    -Chuck Stevens [SMTP:]

>From: Steven Cox[]
>Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 1997 7:20 AM
>Subject: Re: Lamsa and Aramaic (puns again)
> Hello b-greekers
> the last time this came up I asked if anyone had seen a
> reliable study on the comparative incidence of wordgames
> (ie puns like John 15:2) in the recorded words of Christ
> as recorded in Greek vs a hypothetical Aramaic.
> I've only browsed one of Lamsa's books once but didn't see
> anything that seemed more than the natural "incidence of
> coincidence" ... have I missed the good stuff?
> surely someone has done comparative research on this?
> Cheers
> Steven

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