Re: John 11:35

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Mon Jun 22 1998 - 14:05:14 EDT

Jonathan Robie wrote:

> The point Eric was making was that this could be seen as an inceptive
> aorist, that Jesus started crying. "Jesus wept" does not convey that to me.
> "Started crying" conveys the inceptive aorist without the melodrama of
> "burst into tears".

A.T. Robertson views this as an "inceptive" or "ingressive" aorist. I'm not so sure if it's
that inceptive or just the plain historical aorist.

> >And even more, I like the
> >indefinite English historical present: "Jesus weeps." He does weep,
> >you know... And I believe this is the first time in John that this
> >fact is noted, though I could be mistaken.
> Frankly, I find this really odd. The only way I could see "Jesus weeps"
> would be if this were a gnomic aorist, but it isn't - it refers to a
> specific occasion, to the response of Jesus upon hearing that Lazarus died
> and seeing Mary and the Jews weeping.

FWIW, I agree with Jonathan.

> I like "started crying", with the inceptive sense, but "Jesus wept" also
> makes sense, if this is merely reporting a past event.

"Started crying" sounds to me like a translation of an inceptive imperfect.

Since the act of crying/shedding tears is not a one-tear deal, but a process, I guess the
aorist tense can be used without implying that it was a sudden or an over-in-an-instant act.

I suppose "Jesus wept" may be the best translation. "Burst into tears" sounds too
melodramatic to me, too, which is why I didn't like it to begin with.

"Eric S. Weiss"

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