This just came up again in Sunday school today, and the commentaries I looked at were all over the map. This time, I found myself wondering: How formal is the vocative γύναι? How unusual is it to use the informal σοί with the moral formal γύναι in the same address? How similar is Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί to the modern English "what's it to you?"cwconrad wrote:I'm going to have to chime in with SH on this one. The whole phase here -- τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; -- has always seemed to me like one of those Sophoclean gems of diction that sparkle differently every time you cast an eye on them. Moreover, I tend to be suspicious of anything in John's gospel that looks too simple. I've seen many a discussion on the intonation and implication of "γύναι" and several discussions also of "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί;" It's sort of like the ἄνωθεν of Jn 3:3,7. Shall we cry out, "Play it again, Sam"? and hope that we'll understand it better this time?
How similar is γύναι to ma'am in modern English? Where I grew up, if I had said ma'am to my mother, that would have been smart mouthing. Where I now live, many children are taught to address their parents this way as a sign of respect. Did children commonly address their mothers as γύναι?
Mary does not respond directly to Jesus, but turns to the servants: λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις· Ὅ τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε. Does this imply that she was offended and taken aback, had no idea what to say, and was painting him into a corner?