Re: From whence it IS?

Date: Thu Jun 04 1998 - 11:39:17 EDT wrote:
> John 2:9 - KAI OUK HDEI POQEN ESTIN - I am thinking this means, "and not
> knowing from whence it was," but ESTIN is present tense. Would that be ,"and
> not knowing from whence it is?" That sounds awkward to me. Why present tense
> instead of past?

This thread has been dragged about everywhere it can be...

I have no problem with the very literal rendering:

"And he was not knowing where it is from."

This does not feel awkward in English to me at all.

And given what I believe to be John's very time centered focus in this
gospel, I would translate ESTIN as 'was' only if I signed off my work
as an editorial translation. I do not have any insight on why John
uses ESTIN here, only the simple fact that he does use it, and that if
we are going to change his tense usage, we edit the text with great
potential to mislead its meaning. As well, we thereby condescend to
and underestimate our readership's ability to understand it.

When reading John's use of the present tense, I tend to regard it as
the reader's present, unless compelled otherwise by contextual factors
that simply will not allow such a rendering.

So are you glad you asked the question? And have you benefitted from
the responses to it? And have you come to a new understanding now
that clarifies this passage to your satisfaction?

I sure hope so!!

George Blaisdell

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