From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun May 28 2000 - 09:22:16 EDT

At 7:49 AM -0400 5/28/00, Jay Adkins wrote:
>The attributive adjective ALHQINH appears to be positive here, it is no
>doubt meant in an absolute since, but is it also superlative with an
>implicit PSIEUDHS? Or would it need to be used substantivally in order for
>it to be considered superlative?

Do you mean in antithesis to an implicit hH YEUDHS? While it's conceivable
that hH ALHQINH could represent the Hebraic superlative that uses the
article with an adjective, but I don't think that's a necessary notion
here. What needs to be remembered is the characteristic Johannine absolute
dualism: one is either blind or seeing, in the darkness or in the light, a
child of God or a child of Satan. Characteristically John doesn't allow for
gradients between his antithetical realms of reality and unreality, truth
and falsehood; one abides in Christ and "does the truth" and has Eternal
Life or else one has only a terminal existence, no permanence but sins and
perishes. I think therefore that it is best to understand John 15:1 as what
this configuration normally is in Greek: hH AMPELOS is the predicate noun
in a copulative first-person construction, and hH ALHQINH is an attributive
adjective which is the more emphatic because of this positioning with
repeated article FOLLOWING the noun. So here Jesus says he is the
"true"--perhaps better the "real" vine, perhaps best understood as an image
of the Tree of Life. But John's images of Jesus fade into each other
kaleidoscopically. In 10:10 it was EGW EIMI hO POIMHN hO KALOS in the very
same grammatical construction: he is not "the best shepherd" but rather the
only "real" shepherd, for all the others were KLEPTAI.

I don't know if that gets to your concerns, Jay, or not, but it does seem
to me that the grammatical construction here is itself a simple one and
that the only thing complicating it is perhaps that absolute Johannine
dualistic polarity.


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

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