From: Edward Otte (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 10:19:53 EST
First let me recast this in our more conventional transliteration scheme
and punctuate it according to the USB4 text:
10:17 DIA TOUTO ME hO PATHR AGAPAi hOTI EGW TIQHMI THN YUCHN MOU, hINA
PALIN LABW AUTHN. 18 OUDEIS AIREI AUTHN AP' EMOU, ALL' EGW TIQHMI AUTHN
EMAUTOU. EXOUSIAN ECW QEINAI AUTHN, KAI EXOUSIAN ECW PALIN LABEIN AUTHN;
TAUTHN THN ENTOLHN ELABON PARA TOU PATROS MOU.
The verb about which you are raising the question is LAMBANW, which
in this passage three times: as LABW (aor subj. 1 sg act.) in verse 17,
as LABEIN (aor. inf. act.) and ELABON (aor. ind. 1 sg. act.) in verse 18.
The Greek verb is grammatically ACTIVE in each of these three instances. I
think, however, that what you find disturbing and perhaps misleading is
that this verb LAMBANW is sometimes TRANSLATED into English as "receive"
which seems more to emphasize the "passive" role of Jesus as one to whom
YUCH is being given by another -- and at other times as "take" -- which
seems more to emphasize the "active" role of Jesus as one who actively and
deliberately GRASPS YUCH.
Thanks for responding. I really would say it is disturbing to me one way
or another if the context here is take or receive I am more or less
curious on how the translation (thanks for the correction) is gotten to.
You would do well to study carefully the five columns of BDAG's discussion
of this verb in its various usages (10 headings with subheadings to two of
the headings) and/or the SIXTEEN distinct semantic
into which Louw & Nida classify the verb's meanings.
Where would I find BDAG's dicussion?
I don't know whether this will be very helpful to you or not, but I have
personally found it easier to see how the semantic range of this verb
reaches by starting with a most fundamental concrete sense of "get a grip
on" or "take in hand."
I understand that "get a grip on" and "take in hand" are the original
meanings in older usage.
Depending on how we visualize or conceive of a
particular instance of a person "taking in hand" something, it is possible
to think of the action as one governed wholly by the intention of a
who grips the object in question, seizes it and appropriates it to his/her
own possessions and/or purposes or, on the other hand, it is possible to
think of the action as one governed by the subject's ACCEPTANCE/RECEPTION
of something that is given/offered to him/her by another. LAMBANW may thus
mean, on the one hand (in the right context) "I am seizing/taking by force
(something) or, on the other hand (in the right context) "I am
accepting/receiving (something) given/offered by another person."
That is the sense that I have from what I have read on this.
The text about which you are asking uses the verb LAMBANW in the aorist
with the object YUCHN (or its equivalent pronoun, AUTHN), and it uses the
phrase which I will designate with the infinitive form YUCHN LABEIN in
antithesis to the phrase YUCHN QEINAI. In this context YUCHN QEINAI
normally would have the sense "lay down (one's) life" = "voluntarily die"
while the antithetical phrase YUCHN LABEIN normally would have the sense
(particularly with PALIN as here) "get/receive (back) (one's) life.
So the indicator is the context? And could not it be seen that to lay ones
life down is an active action?
I want to sustain the focus upon language and conceptual perspective here;
I do NOT wish to get into theological concerns.
Of course, this forum is not dedicated to that. But it is clear this is a
very important theological passage and to some extent it is hard to not in
some way touch on that aspect.
I hope that I may stay
within those limits by noting that the death and resurrection of Jesus are
represented in the NT from alternative perspectives on that death and
resurrection: the death as a voluntary act performed by Jesus or as a
suffering inflicted upon him by enemies, the resurrection as a deliberate
resumption of life by Jesus or as an "awakening" or "revival" of a dead
person by the power and will of God. That ambivalence of perspective may
noted even in the ambiguity of the verbs used to refer to the event of
resurrection: ANISTHMI and the middle-voice EGEIROMAI are both used to
describe the resurrection from the perspective of awakening from sleep or
rising from a reclining position, but both verbs certainly seem to imply
that the rising or awakening is something performed by the
rather than initiated by another or by an external factor. Yet on the
hand the resurrection is sometimes referred to by use of the verb
in a fully PASSIVE sense: Jesus is "awakened" or "raised up" by God --and
the agent is clearly represented by an agent construction, hUPO QEOU or
hUPO TOU PATROS.
Very interesting. First I have to learn what the voicing aspect means and
then look further. And please never be shy of going into the full detail
with me even if I do not intially understand it. I appreaciate the whole
value of the discussion.
Now, to return to the passage at hand, John 10:17-18. It seems to me that
in this instance the semantic emphasis rests upon the POWER held by Jesus
to die and rise AT WILL. He asserts that he has EXOUSIAN: whether one
chooses to understand that EXOUSIA as "power" or "authority," the
implication is clear enough: the initiative is his own for his death,
he describes with the phrase of YUCHN QEINAI ("lay down (one's) life") and
the initiative is his own for his resurrection, which he describes with
phrase LABEIN PALIN AUTHN (THN YUCHN)--he says that he holds the EXOUSIA
do these things--and he says that he does so "of my own accord" (AP'
EMAUTOU). And yet, nevertheless, he ALSO clearly indicates that this
authority (EXOUSIA) and even obligation (ENTOLH) are things that were
him "BY MY FATHER" (PARA PATROS MOU).
I only hope this may have been more helpful than confusing.
Not at all confusing but rather enlightening. You gave me more to think
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
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