Re: Greek Help?

From: Michael A. Ferrando (
Date: Tue Aug 26 1997 - 16:26:34 EDT

On Tue, 26 Aug 1997, Jonathan Robie wrote:

> At 02:21 PM 8/26/97 -0400, Michael A. Ferrando wrote:
> >I am a student of Greek, self taught.
> Me too!

Well, good to hear it, the pressures off then.

> >My library is the for study is the Library of Congress shelves
> >and some seminary friends. But I have a question
> >that I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer.
> library is a bit smaller ;->

Probably less dust too.

> First let's look at the context: the hour is coming that the dead will hear
> the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live, for just as the
> Father has life in himself, so also has he given the Son to have life in
> himself, and he gave him the authority to judge, since he is the Son of Man.

Doesn't this verse reflect the same structure as v.21
(except for the EDWKEN)?

And more so, it seems from my readings that there are very
few NT comparatives that use hWSPER GAR... hOUTWS KAI structure.
The use of HWSPER is rare in the NT.
And there is an alternate reading in the Sinaticus and D of hWS.
Without the particle would the force be strengthened of the correlative
adverbs or lessened? I found very little on the difference of useage
between hWS and hWSPER.

> The dead do not "have live in themselves" - otherwise, they wouldn't be
> dead. God does "have life in himself". He did not obtain life from anyone,
> does not depend on anyone for life, and his life can never be taken away.
> God is the source of life, and he has also given Jesus the status of "having
> life in himself", which apparently gives him the right to raise the dead to
> life. I find it significant that he calls them to life as the Son of God,
> and has authority to judge as the Son of Man. This reminds me of the
> formulation "fully God and fully man", and that we have a judge who was
> tempted in the same way we are tempted.

Amen, Amen.

> EDWKEN, of course, refers to the giving of this status.
> Jesus received this status long before the incarnation.

> After all, "he was
> in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and
> without him nothing came into being that came into being. In him was life,
> and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the
> darkness did not grasp it."

As much as I agree with you, isn't the "status" in John 1
denoted by the use of the imperfect? esp. 1.18.
but here the "giving" is in aorist?
Why not use the imperfect here too?

> >edoken is 3p. 1 aor. act. ind.
> >
> >Robertson's Word Pictures state "timeless aorist" concerning
> >this verse.
> I looked it up, and it does indeed, but I don't understand why. Presumably,
> Jesus was given to have life in himself before the creation of the world,
> since the the context of John 5:26 indicates that you have to "have life in
> yourself" to call others to life, and John 1 indicates that all things were
> created through Jesus. Then again, if he did have life in himself, how could
> he be killed? This is one of many reasons that I don't claim to understand
> theology...

I think that it must be remembered that the Logos was before the
man Jesus. Two natures, one person.

> >Calvin and Pink and Abbott (_Johannine Grammar_) state it
> >refers to the incarnation (the Logos coming into the
> >human being in Mary's womb).
> I wonder what they think "have life in himself" means, since the incarnation
> certainly wasn't the start of this state as I interpret the phrase.

I agree. I think that they just wanted to concentrate
on the revelation of the Son, instead of the paradox in the verse.

> >Augustine, Westcott, and others denote
> >that it speaks of the "begotteness" of the Son,
> >generated from the Father but not exculsive of the
> >incarnation which is in sight as well.
> In other words, God gave Jesus to have life in himself before the
> incarnation? It works for me.

I think that it is impossible to exclude this aspect since
the text is comparing the Father's Life in Himself.

> >And also concerning the verse, of what degree are the
> >adverbs "hosper" and "houtos" giving the verbs "ekia"
> >and "ekain" dominate force in this sentence?
> Well, the sentence does revolve around "have life in himself". I don't know
> if I like the term "dominant force", because the two main thoughts are: (1)
> the father has life in himself, and (2) the father has given Jesus to have
> life in himself. I don't know that the *has* is dominant in those two
> statements.

According to one source, A Greek guide to translation of John
by Newman, I can get the exact source if you want, the wieght
of the adverbs lie upon the EKEI and EKEIN, not on the aorist.

That is the confusing thing.

> >Certainly, the Manner adverbs give some weight to the
> >"timelessness" of the aorist in this case, yet it seems
> >to me that what is being stressed is "how life is IN the Father"
> >by the Adverbs "hWSPER" and "hOUTWS". The emphasis from the
> >many Greek commentaries I have read lies upon the Father
> >"having life in himself".
> But it does not speak of Jesus having life in the Father,
> it speaks of Jesus having life in himself, just as the Father
> has life in himself.

But its the "just as" that makes it so difficult.
Here is the rub. If God is God, asiety, then how could
another be "given" asiety? The Father's LIFE IN HIMSELF
is in view in talking about the Son's LIFE. Certainly
God the Father did not "come into existence" nor was
His life "given" to him. But the Father has "life in himself."

Doesn't the preposition EN also demand that the nature of
that LIFE is the exact same?

I read in one commentary that John 6.53 used this same phrase
EN hEAUTWi of other beings, humans. However, the context is
from the negative, if you don't partake of the Son you will
NOT HAVE LIFE IN YOUR SELF. Quite different from this context.

> >Am I right in thinking that only the aorist could give the
> >proper sense of the completeness of the event without implying
> >anything about its nature or duration?
> Hmmmm...I wonder if a perfect would really be that different from the aorist
> in this particular case. After all, the context makes it clear that Jesus is
> in the state of "having been given" to "have life in himself"...

Interesting that Conrad points to this too. The use of the perfect
in the NT time.


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