Re: Jn 14:7; Did they know?

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Fri Feb 20 1998 - 13:01:50 EST

On Fri, 20 Feb 1998 05:31:10 -0600 "Carl W. Conrad"
<> writes:
>At 8:34 PM -0600 2/19/98, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>>The majority of manuscripts, and translations, tend to support the
>>in Jn 14:7 that Christ did not believe His disciples knew (GINWSKW
>>[EGNWKATE]) Him. The existence of AN in the apodosis of these
>>manuscripts renders this a contrary to fact conditional.
>>Both the UBS and NA favor the reading supported by p66, aleph, D, etc,
>>EGNWKATE ME, KAI TON PATERA MOU GNWSESQE, "if you know >>(intensive
perfect) Me, you will also know my Father." (cf. NRSV)
>>There is a big difference, of course. It seems the whole argument
>>upon this reading, well, in a sense. Indeed, Christ goes on
is true, because they have known (and seen) Christ. If so, then it
>>from verse 7.
>Just this: I'm not a textual critic, but I've looked at the critical
>apparatus and at Metzger's note on this. What's particularly
>interesting to
>me is that the shape of a counterfactual condition here seems marred
>by the
>perfect indicative in the protasis (EGNWKATE): we normally have a
>tense (imperfect or aorist, possibly pluperfect) in both halves of the
>counterfactual condition. The alternative readings do make the verb in
>apodosis appropriate in pluperfect forms (EGNWKEITE AN, AN HiDEITE).
>one might conceivably argue that the perfect tense form in the
>(EGNWKATE) shows a Hellenistic (Latinate?) conflation of perfect and
>aorist, that seems very unlikely for this gospel with its numerous
>perfect tense expressions (e.g. TETELESTAI; hO GEGRAFA GEGRAFA). I'm
>sure that I understand the purport of Kurt Aland's appended note in
>Metzger's textual commentary: "The purpose of the Evangelist as well
>as the
>laws of textual development have been misunderstood. If a negative and
>positive statement about the Apostles stand side by side in the
>tradition, the positive one is usually the later." This appears to be
>against the majority committee view explained in Metzger's preceding
>Looks to me like this is a pretty sticky wicket. At any rate, I'd
>like to see an explanation for the perfect tense in the protasis of a
>counterfactual condition.

Thanks, Carl, for your excellent comments. I especially appreciated your
remarks regarding the normality of secondary tenses in both halves of a
contrary-to-fact conditional. That had eluded me.

Yes, Aland's comments do run contrary to the committee's. I suppose
there was a tendency for subsequent scribes to paint the disciples in a
more favorable light, but so much of scripture clearly paints them as
they really were anyhow, typically human with all the accompanying

I am still rather struck, however, by the fact that the vast majority of
translations seem to support the contrary to fact variant readings.

Paul Dixon

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