Born of the Spirit

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thomas.hagen
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Joined: August 14th, 2012, 4:22 pm
Location: Livorno, Italy

Born of the Spirit

Post by thomas.hagen » November 2nd, 2015, 5:03 am

I have a question about John 3.8

"τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ' οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος."

In the context of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, the mysterious action of the wind would seem to refer to the moment of "new birth" (or "from above") produced by the spirit. In this case, thinking in English, I would expect the present tense ("so it is with each one being born of the spirit." ) Then I discover that "born" is an aorist. This gives me the idea that the mysterious action of the wind refers to the period following the moment of birth; it is a characteristic of those who have already been born of the spirit. Or is it possible that it refers both to the moment of birth and to the subsequent experience? Can you help me straighten this out?
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cwconrad
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Re: Born of the Spirit

Post by cwconrad » November 2nd, 2015, 6:03 am

thomas.hagen wrote:I have a question about John 3.8

"τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ' οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος."

In the context of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, the mysterious action of the wind would seem to refer to the moment of "new birth" (or "from above") produced by the spirit. In this case, thinking in English, I would expect the present tense ("so it is with each one being born of the spirit." ) Then I discover that "born" is an aorist. This gives me the idea that the mysterious action of the wind refers to the period following the moment of birth; it is a characteristic of those who have already been born of the spirit. Or is it possible that it refers both to the moment of birth and to the subsequent experience? Can you help me straighten this out?
γεγεννημένος is not aorist, but perfect passive; it suits your phrasing, "characteristic of those who have already been born of the spirit." The aorist passive participle would be γεννηθείς.
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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)

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