[b-greek] Re: John 17:25

From: Michael Haggett (michaelhaggett@lineone.net)
Date: Sat Jun 02 2001 - 06:46:13 EDT

Richard Ghilardi wrote (31 May)

>John doesn't like MEN...DE contrastive. He uses it far less than any
other major NT writer. In fact, it never appears in his letters or

Revelation and only 4 times in his gospel -- 10:41; 16:22; 19:32f;
20:30f. Instead, he employs the Semitic construction KAI...KAI in 6:36;
15:24 and 17:25. This structure may also be found in Ac 23:3; Lk 5:36 and
Mk 9:22. I got these references from the article in BAGD mentioned by HH.

>In light of the above, we cannot say with MH that
<<That idea would more likely be expressed with a MEN ... DE
construction>> but rather that John is just as likely to use either


MH: Thanks for raising this, Richard. The whole idea of TONE is one which
interests me deeply. So you've given me pause for thought.

Perhaps John doesnít use MEN Ö DE as frequently as others, but the examples
you give show that heís quite capable of using it, and it seems to me that
he uses it in much the same way as other writers do.

Comparing your MEN Ö DE and KAI Ö KAI examples from John, I must say that I
donít think they are interchangeable. So for you to say that he prefers to
use KAI Ö KAI as a sort of Semitic equivalent doesnít really seem to me to
be borne out.

Iíd agree that both mean roughly the same, and that the two might be used
interchangeably in a logical or grammatical sense. But I do think that
thereís quite a marked difference of tone between them, and donít think that
one is simply a Semitic way of saying the other. I would characterize
MEN Ö DE as generally quite "matter of fact" or "ordinary", but the
comparisons with an initial KAI as definitely emphatic or "extraordinary".

If we take John 6:36 as an example:


If John had chosen to use MEN ... DE, I think the tone would be best
rendered as:

"although you've seen me, you do not believe"
"you've seen me, but you do not believe"

(Just a couple of notes on translation:
1. It is always hard to translate both MEN and DE without resorting to the
rather long-winded "on the one hand Ö but on the other". I generally prefer
to translate the MEN.
2. The Greek perfect refers to a present state - the people Jesus is
speaking to can STILL see him. So for this reason it might be better to use
an English present ... or carry that "still" across.)

However, because John 6:36 reads KAI Ö KAI, I think the tone changes quite
markedly to something like:

"EVEN THOUGH you see me, you donít believe!"
"YES, you've seen me ... and you STILL don't believe!"

Similarly, I think the tone of John 15:24 is best rendered as:


"but EVEN THOUGH they have now seen, they hate
both me and my Father."

... or something similar. For Iím not saying that this is the only form of
words we might use Ė only that the emphasis conveyed by these initial KAIís
needs to be expressed in a much stronger way than would a MEN. The
past/present nuances of Greek and English perfects are perhaps best left to
another discussion.

In much the same way as Iver and Harry have responded, I would say that the
emphasis carried by these KAI's matters more than any comparison. Indeed, as
I tried to show from Mark 10:26, a KAI like this can stand alone without any
need for comparison at all.

So, in John 17:25, the question of whether a comparison is being made with
the DE or the next KAI clause is not really all that important, so far as
Iím concerned. The KAI is primarily emphatic, and doesnít actually need to
be formally linked to either of the following clauses for it to make sense.

Turning back to John 17:25 in more detail,


I must say that I rather like your translation:

"Righteous Father, THE WORLD does not know you,
(though I know you),
and yet THESE do know that you sent me."

I assume that your capitals mark emphatic spoken stress. So we certainly
seem to be in agreement over the emphatic nature of the first KAI.

I'd also agree with you that the EGW DE SE EGNWN is parenthetic, and even
(perhaps) grammatically unnecessary. However I would say that it is not a
"normal" sort of parenthetic remark (by which I mean some sort of background
or explanatory remark). To me, the EGW is certainly emphatic (even though
the DE is admittedly weak) and this gives the clause a good deal of
prominence. I would say that it is certainly rhetorically necessary, even
though it might be grammatically unnecessary. Therefore I think that
putting the clause in brackets might just fail to give it its proper
rhetorical "weight".

In terms of the structural logic, KAI hO KOSMOS SE OUK EGNW and EGW DE SE
EGNWN seem to me to naturally stand in equal balance to each other in the
sense that they both address the specific question of knowing the Father.

You need to make a slight jump of logic to balance knowing the Father with
knowing that the Father has done something (namely, sending Jesus). This is
hardly an insuperable chasm, but again I think that it tends to shift the
balance away from the initial contrast being between KAI hO KOSMOS SE OUK

I would say that one of the consequences of thinking that the first KAI
NEEDS to be grammatically balanced with something else is that it results
in a false EITHER/OR contrast. If we dump this assumption, I think it frees
us to see varying shades of contrast and a progression of thoughts in a
series of "stepping stones".

I think we'd both agree that the EGW DE SE EGNWN acts as a "stepping stone"
to help cross the first gap but, if we widen the picture, we'd get something

"Righteous Father, yes, the world does not know you
- but I know you, and
{as a consequence}
THESE know that you sent me, and
{as a consequence}
I made your name known to them, and will make it known, so that
{as a consequence}
the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Perhaps the ultimate contrast isn't between the first clause and either
clause 2 or 3, but between the world (not knowing) and those who know both
Christ and the Father's love in them. In terms of tone and balance the
"punchline" is surely at the end of the prayer.

Michael Haggett


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