From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 09:38:35 EDT
At 8:10 AM -0500 5/11/01, Roseann wrote:
>I'm needing to know the Greek tense (if that would answer my question).
>In John 3:3-5 when Jesus said you must be born of the water (and the spirit)
>what is the "water" referring to? Some say the amniotic fluid of the
>physical birth - others of us say it refers to water baptism which is
>accompanied by the Holy Spirit.
>Is the grammatical construction of that sentence referring back (past tense)
>to a physical birth of those to whom he spoke, or to a future event
>(baptism) involving two elements?
(3) APEKRIQH IHSOUS KAI EIPEN AUTWi: AMHN AMHN LEGW SOI, EAN MH TIS
GENNHQHi ANWQEN, OU DUNATAI IDEIN THN BASILEIAN TOU QEOU. (4) LEGEI PROS
AUTON [hO] NIKODHMOS: PWS DUNATAI ANQRWPOS GENNHQHNAI GERWN WN? MH DUNATAI
EIS THN KOILIAN THS MHTROS AUTOU DEUTERON EISELQEIN KAI GENNHQHNAI? (5)
APEKRIQH IHSOUS: AMHN AMHN LEGW SOI, EAN MH TIS GENNHQHi EX hUDATOS KAI
PNEUMATOS, OU DUNATAI EISELQEIN EIS THN BASILEIAN TOU QEOU.
(a) The Greek simply says EX hUDATOS, "from water": which is to say: the
Greek gives no clue as to how one is to understand what we clearly
understand the Greek to mean by "from water" (or "out of water"). I
personally am inclined to think that the water of baptism is most likely; I
recall reading a lengthy discussion of this in Raymond Brown's commentary:
I suggest that you do that also and then make up your own mind (certainly
if you wait for other opinions, you're going to hear more than one!).
(b) The repeated verb (GENNHQHi subj. 3d sg. in 3; GENNHQHNAI (2x) inf. in
4; GENNHQHi subj. 3d sg. in 5) is in every instance aorist, but the
reference of the aorist is not to time but to successful achievement of
rebirth; personally, I'd translates the infinitives as "get born" and the
subjunctives as "gets born."
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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