RE: John 21:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Aug 31 1997 - 07:39:45 EDT

At 5:37 AM -0500 8/30/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>Carl wrote:
>What strikes ME as stilted and abrupt is the opening META TAUTA ("after
>that ..." or "afterwards"). Just a tiny little DE to make it META DE TAUTA
>would, I think, make the reader who has just come from the ending of
>chapter 20 so much more comfortable! And Aristotle starts almost every
>new section of his discussions of whatever topic with a META DE TAUTA,
>"and next ..."
>META TAUTA and META TOUTO are favorites of John, are they not? He uses
>them frequently for introducing transitions, both in the Gospel (12
>occurrences) and Apocalypse (9 occurrences). I find only one case where
>John uses META DE TAUTA in John 19:38. In John 13:7 we have DE META
>TAUTA. Perhaps John had not read enough of Aristotle to internalize this

If we really had DE META TAUTA in John 13:7 I would be shocked out of my
gourd, as the saying goes, not just hear a trumpet blowing. I guess you got
this from a concordance or search program. The reading is actually GNWSHi
DE META TAUTA. Perhaps this author is no great stylist, but at least he
doesn't start a clause with DE.

No, I don't imagine that the author had read much (or any) of Aristotle. My
point was simply that the very fact that John uses META TOUTO or META TAUTA
without a DE (or some other linking particle) shows that abruptness in a
transition is not a major concern to him. My point was rather that the
omission of a DE was more abrupt in my view than the coda of the sentence,

>John's style is rather simple and unadorned, is it not? The clause
>EFANERWSEN DE hOUTWS in John 21:1 struck me like the blowing of
>trumpets at the opening of a new scene. John doesn't generally blow
>trumpets. I am probably just misreading the force of EFANERWSEN DE
>hOUTWS. Perhaps it is just as bland as META TAUTA only indicating a
>different kind of transition.

As I've tried to say, I don't really think that META TAUTA at the beginning
of a new section IS bland at all without the addition of some linking
particle. I think that the whole of 21:1a is an abrupt marker of what is
agreed to be and is recognizable as an addendum to the gospel, and that the
linkage is made to the gospel by means of the verb EFANERWSEN hEAUTON with
PALIN, indicating that there is an important addition to be made to the
sequence of epiphanies narrated in chapter 20. Therefore, once this
proposition has been fully enunciated in 21:1a, then 21:1b is NOT
remarkable at all--it is little more than what we achieve by adding a colon
to a sentence introducing a narrative or exposition (it doesn't really take
an awful lot of study of Greek--particularly of the way it managed direct
quotations--to become aware that the ancient language had regular ways of
indicating the kinds of transitions for which we employ punctuation). There
is no blowing of trumpets here (at least not in 21:1b). 21:1a says "Hey,
there was another epiphany later!"; and then 21:1b says, "and (DE) this is
how (hOUTWS) it happened (EFANERWSEN repeating the main verb of 1a)" or "He
did it (EFANERWSEN) in fact (DE) as follows (hOUTWS):"

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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