(no subject)

From: Peter Phillips (p.m.phillips@cliff.shef.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Sep 10 1997 - 03:58:33 EDT

I need to respond to B. Rocine's question:

How did the ancient audience hear Christ's use of the word _pneuma_ in John

Rocine goes on in his posting to suggest a number of alternatives.
 However, I don't see that there is a clear solution to how John uses the
word. Its like asking what an English reader hears when we hear the phrase
"It's raining cats and dogs" or a French reader hears when we hear "il
pleut des haillbards" (or however you spell it, apologies for those who are
not as linguistically challenged!). Do we hear and perceive animals or
railings falling from heaven. Of course not. We hear that it is raining

I know that this is not as close a parallel as many would want and I may
get blasted for that - but I think we need to transfer this over to the
Greek hearer. We cannot ask whether they would have heard wind or spirit
because they would have heard PNEUMA and their referant semantic domain
would include both wind and spirit and breath. The ambiguity is completely
lost in translation and I don't think there is an adequate translation that
could allow for that ambiguity - it is one of the problems of translating
from the limited, concise vocabulary of Greek to verbose English.

And of course it is not the same as hearing "herd" or "heard" or "Hurd"!

Pete Phillips
New Testament Lecturer
Cliff College, Sheffield, England


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