Re: Jn 20:16; Did John Goof?

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Sat Apr 11 1998 - 18:55:07 EDT

On Sat, 11 Apr 1998 10:02:24 -0600 "John M. Moe"
<> writes:
>The Vocative DIDASKALE occurs 31 times in NT, all in the Gospels. It
>appears to have become something of a set translation for RABOUNI/RABI
>(I'm not up to speed on the transliteration schemes either). The
>despised TDNT indicates that by mid 1st century the term RABI/RABOUNI
>had taken on the force of a title. Perhaps, as part of a title, the
>personal pronoun had lost any force of meaning.

Excuse me, John, but why is the TDNT "despised?" Is it because so many
spent so much money to get it, then the abridged one volume version came
out and/or so many are now feeling sorry they spent so much money on it,
because they aren't using it very much anymore? Or, is it because there
is something inherently despicable about it? Just wondering. Did I miss

Anyhow, yes, I suppose RABBOUNI could have lost its meaning (but, who
ever heard of words changing meaning? [ha]), and yes, John could have
been the first dynamic equivalent translator.

But, I'm preaching on this tomorrow and am going to go with the Aramaic
meaning, noting the interesting parallel between "my master" (NEB) in
20:16 and "my Lord and my God" in 20:28. Perhaps the vocative DIDASKALE
suggests or implies "my teacher" or "my master." This might be the safe
way to go. Certainly it was true for Mary who uttered the title.

> The other possibility which occurs to me is that perhaps John is
>engaged in a little "dynamic equivalence" translation? Would DIDASKALE
>be the standard form of address among Greek speakers, for a follower
>such as Mary to address a leader/teacher?

Yes, it would be an interesting study to see if the vocative DIDASKALE
was the standard form of address, especially if it was normally
personalized to such an extent that the personal pronoun was implied.

Paul Dixon

>Any thoughts?
>John M. Moe
>Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>> B-Greekers:
>> Upon recognizing the resurrected Lord, Mary in Jn 20:16 addressed
>> as
>> RABBOUNI. The Hebrew/Aramaic (excuse me for not including it, am a
>> little rusty on the Aramaic transliteration scheme right now, but
>> check
>> BAG) from which it comes means "my Lord" or "my master."
>> Yet, John tells us this means DIDASKALE. What happened to the MOU
>> (my)?
>> Why would John not include this, if it is part of the meaning of the
>> Hebrew/Aramaic? Or, should we figure John was simply translating
>> to
>> noun with no consideration for the Aramaic suffix? But, one would
>> think
>> the personal pronoun would be significant in this context.
>> No, I don't believe John goofed (because of my theological
>> presuppositions), but I'd be interested to hear what others think as
>> to
>> an explanation for the omission of MOU. Boy, had I been a scribe
>> copying this I probably would have been tempted to insert the MOU.
>> did
>> note that the NEB has "my Master."
>> Dr. Paul S. Dixon, Pastor
>> Wilsonville, Oregon
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> --
>Rev. John M. Moe
>St. John's Lutheran Church, Rich Valley

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