Re: The Father who sent me

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 17:38:15 EST

At 4:34 PM -0600 1/13/00, Eric S. Weiss wrote:
>John 8:16 and 8:18 read in part - hO PEMYAS ME PATHR.
>Is the participle substantival ("the one who sent me"), with "father"
>being, I guess, some kind of predicate nominative with an implied
>copulative verb, or otherwise in apposition to hO PEMYAS? [How would you
>translate this?]
>Or is PEMYAS adverbial (temporal), and hO goes with PATHR? ("the father
>having sent me")?
>Or does hO go with both PEMYAS and PATHR in some kind of idiomatic Greek
>construction that cannot be translated fully into English? Maybe that's
>what is meant by the usual translation: "The Father who sent me."

It is indeed idiomatic; in older Greek it is quite common indeed.

>In 8:29 Jesus simply says hO PEMYAS ME, which is, to me, substantival ("he
>who sent me"). But that might imply that 8:16 and 8:18 are also to be
>understood as being substantival usages of PEMYAS, which is not apparently
>the choice of translators.

(1) There's no way that PEMYAS can be adverbial when inside the article;
the participle has to be attributive;

(2) but I wouldn't understand PATHR as an appositive here--I think we'd
need another article; rather what we have is a construction that is perhaps
more common in classical Attic than in Koine (although I don't think it's
really very rare in Koine): PEMYAS ME is an attributive phrase to be
construed with hO PATHR; as attribute PEMYAS ME is conveyed by a relative
clause rather than by an adverbial clause: it's "the Father who sent
me"--NOT "the Father when/since/because/although he sent me."

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

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