ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

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John Wright
Posts: 15
Joined: December 13th, 2015, 10:12 pm

ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

Post by John Wright » December 14th, 2015, 7:54 pm

I am just barely getting started with Greek, so I hope this question is not too trivial.

In John 8:7, can ἀναμάρτητος be understood to have a double meaning? The senses would be 'sinless' and 'not missing, being a good shot'. So the whole utterance would have the extra (not familiar from most translations I have known) pun-sense "whoever's good at throwing should throw the first stone".

Thank you for your help.
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John Wright
Posts: 15
Joined: December 13th, 2015, 10:12 pm

Re: ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

Post by John Wright » December 15th, 2015, 11:26 am

ὡς δὲἐπέμενον ἐρωτῶντες αὐτόν, ἀνέκυψενκαὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ὁ ἀναμάρτητος ὑμῶνπρῶτος ἐπ' αὐτὴν βαλέτω λίθον
Sorry -- forgot to include the text before.

Edit: I have no idea what I'm doing wrong -- the whole verse shows up in the preview, but not in the post.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 16th, 2015, 6:58 am

If a pun is intended, it would have to be made obvious. I don't think that anyone would think of this anymore than we think of "understand" as "stand under," unless someone would writer something such as "You don't understand how to stand under the bridge."
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

John Wright
Posts: 15
Joined: December 13th, 2015, 10:12 pm

Re: ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

Post by John Wright » December 16th, 2015, 7:38 am

Well, I was thinking that the context was or might be sufficient in that way -- the two senses make sense in context. Both could apply to the situation. Sinlessness and "aiming" are relevant, depending on how you look at it. The response looks like goading when reading one way, and shaming the other. But I guess I was wrong! Thanks for your reply.
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Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1860
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: ἀναμάρτητος - senses in John 8:7

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 16th, 2015, 9:14 am

John Wright wrote:Well, I was thinking that the context was or might be sufficient in that way -- the two senses make sense in context. Both could apply to the situation. Sinlessness and "aiming" are relevant, depending on how you look at it. The response looks like goading when reading one way, and shaming the other. But I guess I was wrong! Thanks for your reply.
Well, it shows you are really thinking about the text, which is a good thing. In general, a word has one meaning in context, and unless it is clear that the author is making a pun, the other meanings don't even occur to someone fluent in the language. For example, if we read "Please run the vacuum cleaner after you run your race..." It's unlikely that anyone would see a pun, and native speakers will generally not even hear "run" as the same word, unless you ask them to think about it. Here, I see nothing in the text which would signal a pun, even with stones being thrown (which I suspect did not require any careful aiming).

I also doubt that any sense of "missing the mark" was in the minds of speakers of the language during this period. BDAG:
ἀναμάρτητος, ον (s. ἁμαρτάνω; Hdt. [5, 39, 2]+; Musonius 6, 16 H.; Epict. 4, 8, 6; 4, 12, 19; Plut., Mor. 419a; Appian, Liby. 51 §224 πρὸς τ. θεούς; ins [Muratori, Nov. Thes. vet. ins IV, p. 2062, 6 Ναρκίσσῳ τέκνῳ ἀναμαρτήτῳ]; pap; Dt 29:19; 2 Macc 8:4; 12:42; En 99:2; TestBenj 3:8; ApcSed 14:8 p. 136, 11 Ja; EpArist 252; Philo, Mut. Nom. 51; Jos., Bell. 7, 329 πρὸς τ. θεόν Ar. 15:11 [Milne 76, 41]; Just., D. 47, 5 al.; ἀναμαρτῆτως 44, 4) without sin, i.e. not having sinned (Teles p. 55, 13=ἐκτὸς ἁμαρτίας) ὁ ἀ. ὑμῶν J 8:7.—M-M.

Even the LSJ does not list suggest anything like "having good aim" as a possible meaning:
making no mistake, unerring, X.Cyr.8.7.22, Pl.R.339b.
in moral sense, blameless, Hp.Fract.16 (Comp.), cf. Antipho 3.2.10, Men.Epit.487, Phld. Sto.Herc.339.17; sinless, Ev.Jo.8.7, cf. Aristeas 252, Muson.Fr.2p.6H.; ἀ. πολιτεία a faultless form of government, Arist.Pol. 1275b2; ἀ. πρός τινα having done no wrong to a person, Hdt.1.117; τινί 5.39; ἀ. τινός guiltless of a thing, 1.155: τὸ -ητότατον, = ἀναμαρτησία, X.Ages.6.7, cf. Pl.R.477e; πρὸς τὸ ἀ. to preserve from error, Arist.EN1155a13. Adv. -τως without fail, unerringly, X.Mem.2.8.5; without making a mistake, Ps.-Alex.Aphr. in SE15.33; inoffensively, [D.]61.21.
of things, not done by fault, done unavoidably, συμφορά Antipho 3.2.11.
unfailing, Dion.Byz.17.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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