Re: John 3:6

Date: Fri May 01 1998 - 01:43:21 EDT

Edgar Foster wrote:
> In a valuable essay entitled "Reading Text As Discourse", JP Louw
> says: "The second of the two units [of Jesus' reply to Nicodemus in
> John 3] states the issue [of begettal] unambiguously: "what is born of
> a human is PHYSICAL, what is born of the Spirit is SPIRITUAL" (Caps.
> for emphasis. Words in brackets inserted for clarity).
> Based on these grammatical insights, my question is:
> Is it "permissible" to use the terms "physical" and "spiritual" in
> John 3:6? This rendering seems to obfuscate the meaning of Jesus'
> words. Before saying any more, I wonder what you think about Louw's
> suggestion.

Hi Edgar ~

I have no idea of what is permissible. The text simply seems to say
"That which has been begotten out of flesh is flesh." And the same
for spirit. 3:7 would seem to take the purpose of this
differentiation a little further, as does 3:8. There is no word for
'human' [ANQROPOU], not physical [FUSIS], just spirit and flesh. Is
Spirit spiritual? This line doesn't seem to be saying so. It merely
says it IS Spirit. Same with flesh. Is flesh fleshy or human? The
text doesn't seem to be saying so ~ Only that it IS flesh.

What was Louw trying to take from this passage? ~ Or what did he want
it to say? ~ Or think it might be saying. It seems so clearly to just
be establishing the dichotomy for a purpose that will develop as the
reader continues reading. Maybe I'm not getting your question. Yes??


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