Re: John 12:27 DIA TOUTO

From: Christopher Hutson (
Date: Sun Oct 18 1998 - 14:38:39 EDT

John M. Harkins asked:
>Is there a grammatical or a logical referent for DIA TOUTO in the
>text itself? e.g. possibly 12:23 hINA DOXASQH hO hUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU


a neuter pronoun can stand in apposition to an entire sentence or
clause, "this thing" = "this idea, I am discussing." In this case, I
would understand the antecedent of TOUTO to be the specifically the
idea of Jesus' "troubled soul" just expressed in 12:27, or more
generally, the whole pregnant idea of "this hour," also just expressed
in 12:27 but loaded with ominous content throughout the Fourth Gospel.

Your suggestion of 12:23 seems a bit too remote, so the nearer
antecedent(s) in 12:27 seem preferable.

You suggestion of 12:28 seems to me to strain the thought of this
verse. For one thing TOUTO *usually* (not always) refers to a prior
antecedent, not a following one. But more important, ALLA marks a
strong contrast with what precedes. The prior sentence contains a
rhetorical question, TI EIPW? and a possible answer to that question,
PATER, SWSON ME EK THS hWRAS TAUTHS. Then ALLA rejects this possible
answer as inappropriate and sets up an alternative answer, DIA TOUTO
HLQON EIS THN hWRAN TAUTHN. This alternative answer is clearly the
more appropriate answer to the rhetorical question, and presents the
"correct" understanding of "this hour." I would suggest, then, that
TOUTO points to the broader idea of "this hour" as elaborated
throughout the gospel. In the immediate context, the elaboration of
"this hour" is that Jesus' soul is "troubled" plus a consideration of
pleading to be saved from "this hour."

The neuter pronoun TOUTO instead of a feminine TAUTHN suggests that
the antecedent is not simply hWRA, but the whole troublesome and
dreadful content for which hWRA is merely a catchword in this gospel,
and specifically for the ideas associated with "this hour" in verse

I hope this helps. Perhaps the big Greeks will be able to offer other


Christopher R. Hutson
          Hood Theological Seminary
          Salisbury, NC 28144

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