Re: Jesus & Phillip in John 1:43

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 11:59:15 EST

At 10:52 AM -0600 1/13/00, Dave Jagger wrote:
>i have a question about Jn. 1:43. inthat verse, Jesus decides to go to
>Galillee and meets Phillip. the text seems ambiguous to me and different
>English translations treat it differently. When, or where, did Jesus meet
>Phillip? Did he meet him before he left for Galillee, or once he got
>there? My Greek Bible punctuates a comma after GALILAIAN and a period after
>Philip so that it reads:
>"GALILAIAN, KAI EUPISKEI Phillip." But, also offers an option for the
>comma to be a period and the period to be left out so as to read:
>it seems to me that if the first punctuation option is chosen, Jesus met
>Phillip before going to Galillee. Jesus decided to go to Galillee, finds
>Phillip and asks him to go with him, follow me.
>However, if the second punctuation option is chosen, then Jesus goes to
>Galillee, where he finds Phillip and asks him to follow him.
>What do others think about all this?
>I want to tell the story during a sermon, and would like to know where
>Jesus met Phillip.
>Thanks for any help you can give.

One ought to realize in the first place that the punctuation (whether or
not the two clauses are read as consecutive or as independent clauses) is a
matter of editorial choice rather than something clearly indicated in the
oldest manuscripts. On the surface, it would appear that the entire
narrative section of chapter 1 of John's gospel following upon the prologue
is set in the area of Judea where John was baptizing; verses 35-42 record
the attachment of Simon Peter and Andrew to Jesus as his first disciples as
an event taking place in the vicinity of John's baptizing and even indicate
that these two were previously disciples of John the Baptist. This is not
the appropriate forum to discuss the problem of how one should reconcile
this account of the call of Simon Peter and Andrew with the account in the
Synoptic gospels of a call that takes place there on the lakeside. I would
comment here only on a couple matters that seem to be indicated by the text
of John 1:35-51: (a) the setting of the narrative would appear to be the
area in Judea near the Jordan river where John was baptizing; (b)
nevertheless, it appears that ALL of these named disciples are natives of

So the question arising is one that you have raised at the outset: How are
we to understand the intrusive narrative assertion in 43a: THi EPAURION
HQELHSEN EXELQEIN EIS THN GALILAIAN followed by the present tense narrative
assertion KAI hEURISKEI FILIPPON? I can think of only two possible
explanations of this sequence, both of them (unfortunately) highly

(a) inasmuch as Jesus himself was a Galilean and had already drawn from
among the disciples of John the Baptist two Galileans (Simon Peter and
Andrew), he decided to go to Galilee and proceeds to seek out other
Galileans in the vicinity, the first of which turns out to be Philip of
Bethsaida, after which ensues the confrontation also with Nathanael;

(b) the phrase HQELHSEN EXELQEIN EIS THN GALILAIAN in 43a is either an
interpolation (it might conceivably have been added by a scribe who was
concerned by the differences between John and the Synoptic accounts of
Jesus drawing disciples directly in Galilee) or--perhaps more likely--it is
a misplaced snippet (it could belong conceivably with chapter 2, verse 1,
which might conceivably have originally had something like KAI THi TRITHi
GALILAIAN ... Admittedly this is highly speculative. It is a lot easier to
discern that John 1:43 is problematic than to resolve the problems easily.


Carl W. Conrad Department of Classics/Washington University One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018 Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

--- B-Greek home page: You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [] To unsubscribe, forward this message to To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:54 EDT