Re: John 5:26

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun May 09 1999 - 21:51:11 EDT

At 6:17 PM -0700 5/9/99, John Oaklands wrote:
>Thank you Carl for this enlightening and challenging material. I like
>your reference to parallel structures here. I was also interested in
>your understanding of EDWKEN as to giving life. I found the parallel
>with v. 27 also meaningful. I agree with you about keeping out of the
>theological ramifications. I want to give your reply some more thought
>yet of course. However, how do you arrive at "condemn" for KRINW?
>Should we see any difference between KRISIS and KRIMA?

While properly speaking KATAKRINW is used for condemn, yet in quite common
usage KRINW and KRISIS are used negatively, as also, far more often than we
may be aware, "judge" and "justice" are used negatively: this is clearly
the case in Mt 7:1 MH KRINETE, KAI OU MH KRIQHTE and I think it is very
common in Hellenistic Greek. In John's gospel KRISIS is a major theme, but
as I read John, the functions of the Son of Man are twofold and
antithetical: to judge/condemn and to give life; as I said before, this is
all part of a much larger context of eschatological language and concepts
that have a rather distinct focus in John's gospel; KRINW and KRISIS also
involve a notion of discrimination, discernment, distinction--and I think
that in one sense the primeval separation of the light from the darkness of
Genesis 1 finds its parallel in the roles of Light and Darkness in the
Johannine prologue--but the more important KRISIS performed by Jesus (who
IS the Light) in John is the separation of the SEEING from the BLIND, i.e.,
of those who see the Light and come to him, and of those who fail to
recognize and welcome him. KRIMA and KRISIS should be seen partly in terms
of the formative elements: -SIS yields normally a verbal noun for the
action of the verb--hence KRISIS is 'judging' or 'distinguishing'; -THS (or
THR or TWR) yields normally an agent noun--hence KRITHS, the 'judge' or
'the one sitting in judgment'; -MA normally yields a verbal noun referring
to the object or result of the verbal action--hence KRIMA is the verdict
given by the KRITHS, and in the negative sense is "condemnation." I think
that a brief study of these words in the lexicon as well as examination of
several of the passages containing them such as listed in a concordance is
very instructive, but it also helps to know something about standard
patterns of Greek word-formation.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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