Re: John 11:35

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Mon Jun 22 1998 - 12:44:10 EDT wrote:

> And I sometimes really wonder, given all the 'possibles' that flow
> forth as each of us grapples with these three little words, if we
> might be better served, in our understanding of Jesus' weeping here,
> by not setting up in our understanding the idea that it must be only
> one or another motive that is operating. Surely, if you are correct,
> [And I think you are], that Jesus is weeping for the human condition,
> then all of us are correct in understanding him, each from the
> perspective of the particular window of the human condition that we
> are...

Exegete Gerald Borchert has warned about the reader of John's Gospel
trying to psychoanalyze Jesus. That being said, I think we can only
know possibilities about why Jesus wept. The compassionate, empathetic
cry seems plausible; but the context and the words used by John MAY
militate against such an understanding. Luther understood the Greek of
John 11:33ff to delineate the anger of Jesus. English commentators
have generally taken a different view. Be that as it may, the NWT
handles the aorist in John 11:35 as "Jesus gave way to tears." I think
this is a good solution to the problem of translating the aorist in
this verse.

Edgar Foster

Classics Major

Lenoir-Rhyne College

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