John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

How can I learn to express my ideas in clear and intelligible Greek?
Sean Kasabuske
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John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Sean Kasabuske » December 8th, 2019, 1:53 pm

Greetings,

At John 17:5 we find these words:

καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ Πάτερ παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί

It has been suggested to me that this text is not saying that the one who became Jesus literally existed in heaven in a glorious state before the world came to be, but that it's referring to glory that the Son was destined to have according to God's plan. It is argued that in ancient Judaism it was common to speak of things that God planned as though they already existed before the world came to be because they were certain to take place. While that seems uncontroversial, to me it seems rather strained to suggest that John 17:5 is an example of such an idiom at work.

This did cause me to wonder, though, in light of the language available at the time for expressing such ideas, what are the ways that Jesus may have said what in English may be rendered something like this?:

"And now, Father, glorify me with the glory which I'm destined to have according to your plan from before the world was."

If you were to channel your inner ancient Jewish mindset and set out to write a sentence in Koine that had Jesus asking the Father to glorify him with the glory God planned for him since before the world came to be, how would you say it?

If this is an inappropriate question for the forum, then feel free to delete the post.

Sean Kasabuske
Ohio, USA
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 8th, 2019, 4:11 pm

Sean Kasabuske wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 1:53 pm
Greetings,

At John 17:5 we find these words:

καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ Πάτερ παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί

It has been suggested to me that this text is not saying that the one who became Jesus literally existed in heaven in a glorious state before the world came to be, but that it's referring to glory that the Son was destined to have according to God's plan. It is argued that in ancient Judaism it was common to speak of things that God planned as though they already existed before the world came to be because they were certain to take place. While that seems uncontroversial, to me it seems rather strained to suggest that John 17:5 is an example of such an idiom at work.

This did cause me to wonder, though, in light of the language available at the time for expressing such ideas, what are the ways that Jesus may have said what in English may be rendered something like this?:

"And now, Father, glorify me with the glory which I'm destined to have according to your plan from before the world was."

If you were to channel your inner ancient Jewish mindset and set out to write a sentence in Koine that had Jesus asking the Father to glorify him with the glory God planned for him since before the world came to be, how would you say it?

If this is an inappropriate question for the forum, then feel free to delete the post.

Sean Kasabuske
Ohio, USA
No, it's good, because it's ultimately about the Greek, and your instincts are good, because the Greek of John 17:5 in no way supports this "interpretation." How would you say it? A number of possibilities. Try καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ Πάτερ τῇ δόξῃ ἥν μοι προώρισαι κατὰ τὴν γνώμην πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Sean Kasabuske
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Sean Kasabuske » December 8th, 2019, 4:40 pm

Barry wrote:No, it's good, because it's ultimately about the Greek, and your instincts are good, because the Greek of John 17:5 in no way supports this "interpretation." How would you say it? A number of possibilities. Try καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ Πάτερ τῇ δόξῃ ἥν μοι προώρισαι κατὰ τὴν γνώμην πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι.
You're the only person I know of who can speak Koine as well as he can English!

Can you provide an English translation for me? I'm working my way through Mounce, but I'm not ready to sit on a translation committee yet;-)

Does this capture it adequately?:

"Now glorify me with you, Father, with the glory that you determined for me beforehand according to your purpose from before the world was"
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Jason Hare
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Jason Hare » December 8th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 4:11 pm
Not, it's good, because it's ultimately about the Greek, and your instincts are good, because the Greek of John 17:5 in no way supports this "interpretation." How would you say it? A number of possibilities. Try καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ Πάτερ τῇ δόξῃ ἥν μοι προώρισαι κατὰ τὴν γνώμην πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι.
I think it'd be προώρισας ("you predestined") rather than προώρισαι ("you were predestined"). Perhaps change the whole phrase to the aorist passive participle: τῇ δόξῃ τῇ προορισθείσῃ μοι πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι.

Thus, both of the following would represent the idea espoused by those arguing for what the OP said, but the text as it stands represents the traditional interpretation (that Jesus indeed possessed glory before the creation of the world).
  1. καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ, Πάτερ, τῇ δόξῃ ἣν προώρισας μοι πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι κατὰ τὴν ἐπίγνωσίν σου.
    "And glorify me now, Father, with the glory that you predestined for me according to your knowledge before the world existed."
  2. καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ, Πάτερ, τῇ δόξῃ τῇ προορισθείσῃ μοι ἀπὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον κτισθῆναι.
    "And glorify me now, Father, with the glory predestined for me since the creation of the world."
The concept of predestination was easily composed in Greek. We see it in Ephesians expressed in many ways. This verse doesn't use such language. It literally says, when the relative clause is drawn out, that Jesus "had glory before the world existed" («δόξαν εἶχε πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι») in heaven, which is what παρὰ σοί means. I don't see how this text can be interpreted otherwise without suffering violence.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

Jason Hare
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Jason Hare » December 8th, 2019, 7:07 pm

Sean Kasabuske wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 4:40 pm
You're the only person I know of who can speak Koine as well as he can English!
With as much respect that I can muster for my friend Barry... :roll:

No native English speaker you meet will speak Koiné as well as they speak English. No one you will meet will speak Koiné better than they speak their native tongue. That is not even a reasonable expectation.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

Sean Kasabuske
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Sean Kasabuske » December 8th, 2019, 7:31 pm

"No native English speaker you meet will speak Koiné as well as they speak English. No one you will meet will speak Koiné better than they speak their native tongue. That is not even a reasonable expectation."

It was hyperbole employed for emphasis.

You're one of those folks to takes everything literally, huh? ;-)
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 8th, 2019, 7:37 pm

There are others on this forum, so I won't be the only one. Ancient Greek is as "doable" as any other language, and it's just matter practice. Your translation reflects what I intended, so I must have gotten something right... :lol: The point, however, is that there is a set of biblical vocabulary and phraseology which can be used to describe things like predestination, and John 17:5 has nothing remotely like it.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Jason Hare
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Jason Hare » December 8th, 2019, 7:46 pm

Sean Kasabuske wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 7:31 pm
You're one of those folks to takes everything literally, huh? ;-)
That's an odd phrase for hyperbole. If it was hyperbole, perhaps it was intended as an insult to Barry. How am I supposed to read your emotions? All I can see is what you write on the screen. Without a wink, without a laugh emoji, without something or anything at all, I'm left to read your words literally and assume that you're being serious. Perhaps, though, your wink at the end of this quote is intended to mean that you don't really think that I take things literally.

Written mediums do not allow us to read emotions. I don't have your facial expressions or your hear the irony in your voice. So, say what you mean... That's all I can ask.

Added to enable you to read my emotions: :shock: :? 8-) :lol:
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

Jason Hare
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Jason Hare » December 8th, 2019, 7:49 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 7:37 pm
There are others on this forum, so I won't be the only one. Ancient Greek is a as "doable" as any other language, and it's just matter practice. Your translation reflects what I intended, so I must have gotten something right... :lol: The point, however, is that there is a set of biblical vocabulary and phraseology which can be used to describe things like predestination, and John 17:5 has nothing remotely like it.
Yeah, you were certainly correct in your position that this concept was readily expressible for Greek authors. Nothing prevented them from phrasing it in such a way that it would mean exactly what Unitarians (for example) interpret it to mean, that Jesus didn't exist before the world and that God simply planned to give him glory at his resurrection/assumption.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

Jason Hare
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Re: John 17:5 and Existence in God's Plan

Post by Jason Hare » December 8th, 2019, 8:09 pm

Reading the thread again, I guess what you meant to say was that although Barry might understand the text without recourse to English translation, you yourself need it to be translated into English. This isn't how I understood your message initially. Is that what you meant? We do kinda assume on this forum that you have a working knowledge of Greek, especially when you open a new thread in the "Writing Greek" subforum and not in the beginners' forum, per se.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

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