Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

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Stephen Hughes
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Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 3rd, 2015, 5:50 am

John 11:44 wrote:καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ σουδαρίῳ περιεδέδετο .
By using ὄψις "face" (BDAG 3.) is the nuance intended that Lazarus could not see, or that they could not see it was Lazarus? Both of the interpretations are allowable from context. I hope to understand enough to make a valid choice between the two.

In other words, is ὄψις is face as the part of the body possessed of the faculty of sight, or the part of the body that we see and recognise people by (either as individuals distinct from others or what mood or emotion someone is expressing)?

[This question is in aid of understanding the synonym pair πρόσωπον (BDAG 1a) and ὄψις (BDAG 3) (listed in L&N at 8.18).]
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
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cwconrad
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Re: Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by cwconrad » August 3rd, 2015, 6:38 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
John 11:44 wrote:καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ σουδαρίῳ περιεδέδετο .
By using ὄψις "face" (BDAG 3.) is the nuance intended that Lazarus could not see, or that they could not see it was Lazarus? Both of the interpretations are allowable from context. I hope to understand enough to make a valid choice between the two.

In other words, is ὄψις is face as the part of the body possessed of the faculty of sight, or the part of the body that we see and recognise people by (either as individuals distinct from others or what mood or emotion someone is expressing)?

[This question is in aid of understanding the synonym pair πρόσωπον (BDAG 1a) and ὄψις (BDAG 3) (listed in L&N at 8.18).]
Synonyms sometimes are and sometimes aren't. My quick mental review was shamelessly etymological: ὄψις is a person's "look" or "looks" -- how a person "looks" -his/her "face" or, if we prefer the French-derived expression, "visage"; πρόωσπον, on the other hand, is "what you look at" and "what you recognize a person by". To that extent, the two Greek words are synonymous. For evidence of the synonymity, note two texts cited by L&N 8:.18 are unquestionably synonymous:
ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ‘his face shone like the sun’ Mt 17:2.
ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος φαίνει ‘his face was shining like the sun’ Re 1:16.]
On the other hand, the πρόσωπον is the "recognizable person", the distinctive self as in dramatis personae or τά τοῦ δράματος πρόσωπα or, in Trinitarian doctrine the τρία πρόσωπα of God, while ὄψις is the -σις "action" nominal derivative from the verb-root οπ-, "seeing" or the faculty of "sight" or "vision" -- nor would I claim that's exhaustive. We're dealing here with words that in one usage are synonymous but not in other usages. We've often discussed the question of the synonymity of ἀγαπᾶν and φιλεῖν in Jn 21. There are those who still maintain there's a nuanced distinction between the two verbs in the dialogue between Jesus and Peter there.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 3rd, 2015, 10:46 am

The "logical" context of the rest of the verse would suggest that he couldn't walk or balance himself because his hands and feet were bound, AND he couldn't see because his όψις was covered.Like he was quite disabled from his normal bodily functions by the burial procedures.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by cwconrad » August 3rd, 2015, 12:38 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:The "logical" context of the rest of the verse would suggest that he couldn't walk or balance himself because his hands and feet were bound, AND he couldn't see because his όψις was covered.Like he was quite disabled from his normal bodily functions by the burial procedures.
Some masks are dominoes, others cover the whole face. Are you suggesting that only his ὀφθαλμοί were wrapped up, and not the rest of his "face", and that we should suppose that ὄψις here means simply his "eyes"? I'd still conclude from the usage of Rev 1:16 that ὄψις here means "face." If you look at the "examples from the corpus" at Logeion for ὅψις, the usage doesn't really seem to be questionable.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 3rd, 2015, 1:07 pm

cwconrad wrote:My quick mental review was shamelessly etymological: ὄψις is a person's "look" or "looks" -- how a person "looks" -his/her "face" or, if we prefer the French-derived expression, "visage"; πρόωσπον, on the other hand, is "what you look at" and "what you recognize a person by". To that extent, the two Greek words are synonymous.
Exodus 34:40 wrote:καὶ εἶδεν Ααρων καὶ πάντες οἱ πρεσβύτεροι Ισραηλ τὸν Μωυσῆν καὶ ἦν δεδοξασμένη ἡ ὄψις τοῦ χρώματος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν ἐγγίσαι αὐτοῦ
I think that his verse might explicate the difference that you are talking about. Both words are used here. πρόσωπον is what they were looking at, the physical "organ" and ὄψις is the impression that they got.
Genesis 4:5,6 wrote:ἐπὶ δὲ Καιν καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις αὐτοῦ οὐ προσέσχεν καὶ ἐλύπησεν τὸν Καιν λίαν καὶ συνέπεσεν τῷ προσώπῳ. 6 καὶ εἶπεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς τῷ Καιν ἵνα τί περίλυπος ἐγένου καὶ ἵνα τί συνέπεσεν τὸ πρόσωπόν σου
Here, however, it seems that emotions are recognised on the πρόσωπον of Cain. I guess that it means that in his sadness, (all the lines - such as brow-line - of his) face converged together in sadness and consternation. His once bright and open face closed in together on itself.

Θάλεια and Μελπομένη
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cwconrad wrote:We're dealing here with words that in one usage are synonymous but not in other usages. [/quote
Issues of polysemy need to be considered together with synonymy
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Jn.11:44 ὄψις "face" (couldn't see or couldn't be seen)?

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 3rd, 2015, 1:08 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:The "logical" context of the rest of the verse would suggest that he couldn't walk or balance himself because his hands and feet were bound, AND he couldn't see because his όψις was covered.Like he was quite disabled from his normal bodily functions by the burial procedures.
Some masks are dominoes, others cover the whole face. Are you suggesting that only his ὀφθαλμοί were wrapped up, and not the rest of his "face", and that we should suppose that ὄψις here means simply his "eyes"? I'd still conclude from the usage of Rev 1:16 that ὄψις here means "face." If you look at the "examples from the corpus" at Logeion for ὅψις, the usage doesn't really seem to be questionable.
There are apparently some uses in other places, where just the area around the eyes is meant, but here I think that σουδάριον is more square than a bandage (something with a high length to width ratio), so it means the whole face. I'm mooting that the distance between "sight" and "face" in the polysemy of ὄψις is not so great - ie, that covering the face obscures the function of sight - as opposed to the ability of others to see him.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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