Re: GINWSKW/OIDA + hOTI

From: Tom Belt (virginia@destination.com.lb)
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 14:50:34 EST


Jim Beale wrote:

"I think, if my understanding is correct, that without hOTI, the verbs of
knowing can both connote some level of union between the subject and object.
However, when the verb is followed by hOTI, a barrier is more-or-less
erected between the subject and object."

And:

"For instance, in John 9:20, the parents of the man born blind say to the
Pharisees, "OIDAMEN hOTI hOUTOS ESTIN hO hUIOS hHMWN" in (what seems to me
to be) an effort to distance themselves from him so as to avoid retaliation
of the Jews. If they had said, "OIDAMEN TON hUION hHMWN" that would have
been a statement of solidarity with their son. It would have been
equivalent to saying, "we know our son is telling the truth" and would
surely have provoked the wrath of the Pharisees."

Jim, could you elaborate on what you mean by „barrierš? The examples you
give seem to imply that knowledge + hOTI = a less personal, more academic
kind of knowledge, whereas knowledge + direct object (without hOTI) = a more
personal, and so truer(?), sort of knowledge.

Such a distinction can be applied only with difficulty in some cases. For
example, in Jn. 5.32, „OIDA hOTI ALHQHS ESTIN hH MARTURIA∑š („I know that
the testimony he [God] gives is true∑š), what sort of barrier are we to
imagine exists in the state of Jesus‚ knowledge here spoken of? Is Christ
attempting to put some distance between himself and God by using hOTI? Or
perhaps expressing some doubt with regard to God‚s testimony of him? Should
anything be concluded about the state of his knowledge merely on the basis
of hOTI? Probably not.

You comment:

"∑John 14:9∑Jesus asks Philip, őOUK EGNWKAS ME?‚ This is a personal kind of
knowing used to make Philip realize that he has őseen‚ the Father in Him.
This would make one think that Jesus and the Father are united."

Certainly Jesus is speaking of a personal kind of knowing. But do we get
this from the absence of hOTI? Would Christ necessarily have intended a less
personal kind of knowing had he used hOTI? I‚m not so sure. As your English
sentence above shows, such a „personal kind of knowing∑would make one think
that [an interesting use of "that/hOTI"!] Jesus and the Father are united.š
But shoud I assume that you intend to erect a barrier of any kind between
the one knowing and what is known simply because you used „thatš in
expressing the object of knowledge ("that Jesus and the Father are united")?

You comment:

"But in the latter [Jn. 6.69], Peter declares "EGNWKAMEN hOTI SU EI hO
hAGIOS TOU QEOU." This is a profound declaration, but nevertheless, it seems
to me to be primarily an intellectual one. Peter sees the truth, but is
still somewhat distant from it."

The distinction is getting fuzzy. Peter's declaration is profound, and it is
doubtless a revelation from God to Peter via the Spirit (which I add without
explanation at this point), but yet it remains primarily intellectual? Can
hOTI by itself bare the weight of such a fine distinction in Peter? I
concede it may mean this, but must it? To use Jn. 5.32 once again („OIDA
hOTI ALEIQEIS ESTIN hEI MARTURIA∑š), if hOTI introduces such a distinction,
are we to conclude that Jesus enjoyed a „merely intellectualš knowledge
regarding God‚s affirmation of him? Or was his certainty of God‚s testimony
of a more personal and direct nature? Or, for example, Jn. 12.50, „OIDA hOTI
hH ENTOLH AUTOU ZWH AIWNIOS ESTINš („I know that his commandment is eternal
lifeš). Is anything significant being said about the state of Jesus‚
knowledge by his use of hOTI here? Had he said, „OIDA THN ENTOLHN AUTOU ZWEI
AIWNIOS ESTINš (if indeed I have the Greek cases correct; nonetheless∑„I
know his commandment is eternal lifeš) would anything significantly change?
Lastly, 1 Jn. 3:24, „EN TOUTW GIVWSKOMEN hOTI MENEI EN hHMINš („All who keep
his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And [begins my quote] by this
we know that he abides in us∑š). Are we too understand that keeping his
commandments leads to a merely intellectual understanding that he abides in
us? Had John not used hOTI would something significantly different have been
said?

Rv. 2.2 is interesting:

Rv. 2.2 „OIDA TA ERGA SOU, KAI TON KOPON KAI THN hUPOMONHN SOU KAI hOTI SU
DUNH BASTOSAI KAKOUS∑š ("I know your works, your toil and your patient
endurance, and őhOTI‚ you cannot bear evil men∑š). Their „worksš, „toilš,
and „patient enduranceš are direct objects of his knowledge, but he only
knows „thatš they cannot bear evil men? What distinction is being made by
John's use of hOTI here?

I‚d like to take a stab at explaining what seems to me to be the distinction
between "verb 'to know' + object" and "verb 'to know' + hOTI + object."
First, in looking through a (not exhaustive) list of examples, I noticed a
general tendency to differ between the object in each of the two cases in
the following way: In "verb 'to know' + object" (without hOTI), the object
is regularly a noun, e.g., „OIDA SOU TA ERGAš („I know your worksš), „OIDA
SOU THN QLIPSINš („I know your tribulationš [not necessarily any different
than „I know that you‚re going through a deep trialš]), or „OIDA SOU THN
AGAPHNš („I know your loveš [different than "I know that you love me"?]); on
the other hand: with "verb 'to know' + hOTI + object, the object is
invariably a verb phrase, e.g., „OIDA∑hOTI MIKRAN EXEIS DUNAMINš („I know
that őyou have‚ little strength,š Rv. 3.8), „OIDA hOTI MESSIAS ERXETAIš („I
know that Messiah őis coming‚,š Jn. 4.25), and „GINWSKONTES hOTI hO PALAIOS
hHMWN ANQRWPOS SUNESTAURWQHš („We know that our old man őwas crucified‚,š
Rom. 6.6).

Might it be simply stated that a verb „to knowš + noun (without hOTI)
describes the object of knowledge as a noun, while a verb „to knowš + hOTI +
verb phrase describes the object of knowledge as a verb--without attempting
to comment via hOTI on the nature of the knowledge per say? The later MAY or
MAY NOT (cf. 1 Jn. 3.24 above) suggest a distance or erect a barrier between
the one knowing and the object known. This would account for Rv. 2.2 above:
„worksš, „toilš, and „patient enduranceš are objects of Christ's knowledge,
and he knows „thatš they cannot bear evil men? Why hOTI? To introduce
distance? To erect a barrier? I suppose that's one way of looking at it. But
why not simply because the object of knowledge is described in verbal form
("cannot bear") rather than as a noun ("inability to bare")? Both mean the
same thing, but hOTI is used to introduce the verbal form.

Therefore, hOTI introduces the object of knowledge when the object is
described in predicate/verbal form (and that without necessarily intending
to specify the kind of knowledge; personal/impersonal or
spiritual/academic). When the object of knowledge is a noun there's no need
for hOTI. You can say "I know Jesus," but you can't very well say "I know
that Jesus." The second form calls for a verb ("That Jesus what...?"). But
what this does NOT mean is that "I know my wife loves me" and "I know that
(hOTI) my wife loves me" are necessarily two different statements. More than
likely they are not.

Clear as mud, eh?

In closing, take Jn. 21.17. In response to Jesus‚ question, Peter replies
„PANTA SU OIDAS, SU GINWSKEIS hOTI PHILW SEš („You know all things, you know
that I love youš). Does the presence/absence of hOTI here suggest that Jesus
‚ knowledge of all things is direct and personal but that his knowledge of
Peter‚s love for him is something else? I think not. It would seem that
Peter considers the later („hOTI PHILW SEš, „that I love youš) a mere
example of the former („PANTA SU OIDASš, „you know all thingsš), in which
case there's really no distance or barrier whatsoever.

Forgive the length and poor logic of this post. I'm having fun learning.

Blessings Jim,
Tom Belt
virginia@destination.com.lb

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