From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Aug 23 2001 - 17:31:25 EDT
At 7:01 PM -0400 8/23/01, George Blaisdell wrote:
>>From: "Bret A. Hicks"
>>I was studying John 14:22 and Judas asks Jesus TI GEGONEN HOTI HEMIN
>>My question is how to understand TI GEGONEN. Does it mean
>>a) "What has happened (that you now only intend to show yourself to us and
>>not to the world)
>>b) "Why (do you intend to show yourself only to us and not to the world)
>>Choice (a) seems more literal, and this seems to be the understanding of
>>the NASB. However, Jesus' reply seems to answer option (b), and this is
>>how the NIV translates it. Robertson (Grammar, 739) seems to understand it
>>to mean something close to option (b).
>>Any comments on how to understand this?
>Bret - I would guess that the question involves the expression TI GEGONEN
>hOTI, and not just TI GEGONEN, so that perhaps the hOTI is not so much
>introducing a 'hOTI' clause, although it certainly does do that, but more to
>the point might be that when a hOTI clause follows TI GEGONEN, it may be
>understood in English as "Why", and the English sense of the Greek might be
>seen as "What has come to be that...?" So that in the Greek, what seems to
>be being asked is an accounting of events, or at least AN event, that
>happenned, such that something else happens, in this case Christ's
>intentions... And it very well might could be that this was simply a casual
>way of asking "Why?" in koine 1st century Greek... The BGs will have to
>answer that one!
For my part, I think George is essentially right here: TI GEGONEN hOTI asks
for an explanation for the unexpected assertion of Jesus and essentially
asks "Why are you going to ...?"
Older (classical Attic) Greek had a couple idiomatic constructions of the
type, TI PAQWN TAUTA POIEIS? ("having experienced what do you do these
things" = "why are you behaving like this?" or TI AKOUSAS TOUTO LEGEIS?
"Having heard what do you say this?" = "What did you hear that makes you
say this?" = "Why are you saying this?"
There's something similar, I think, in the TI GEGONEN hOTI ... My guess is
that the perfect tense GEGONEN (and we recall that John uses perfect tenses
often very deliberately) reflects the perception of the speaker that what
Jesus has just said implies that there's been a radical transformation in
the situation since the public ministry is over and Jesus is now speaking
directly, privately, and frankly to the disciples alone. So that it
becomes: "What is the alteration of circumstances that accounts for your
Or so I think.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
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