John3:1

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Jeffrey Dangel
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John3:1

Post by Jeffrey Dangel » October 16th, 2017, 5:52 pm

In John 3:1, I'm unsure whether or not "anthropos" or "en" is the main subject of that first clause. The initial assumption would be that "anthropos" would be because it is a noun in the Nominative case. I could see that "anthropos" could be the subject and "en" would simply be the imperfect tense verb. I also could see that "en" could act as the subject (substantive) with an embedded subject [like THERE, perhaps] and "anthropos" would be the predicate nominative because it's following a being verb. Would anyone be able to clarify this? Thanks. Jeff
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Jeffrey Dangel

Jonathan Robie
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Re: John3:1

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 17th, 2017, 9:50 am

Hi Jeffrey, and welcome to B-Greek! First off, we have a user name policy on B-Greek, which you must follow to continue to post. Please read this and follow the instructions:

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You might find this resource useful for the kind of question you are asking:

http://ibiblio.org/bgreek/resources/syn ... es/reader/

This is the first clause, where Ἦν is the verb and ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων is the subject of the verb:
v Ἦν
s ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων
The phrase ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων can also be seen as part of the subject:
v Ἦν
s ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων·
Does that help?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John3:1

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » October 17th, 2017, 1:04 pm

NA27
Ὡς δὲ ἦν ἐν τοῖς Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐν τῷ πάσχα ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ θεωροῦντες αὐτοῦ τὰ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίει· 24 αὐτὸς δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἐπίστευεν αὐτὸν αὐτοῖς διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν γινώσκειν πάντας 25 καὶ ὅτι οὐ χρείαν εἶχεν ἵνα τις μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου· αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐγίνωσκεν τί ἦν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ.

John 3:1 Ἦν δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων· 2 οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν νυκτὸς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ῥαββί, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐλήλυθας διδάσκαλος· οὐδεὶς γὰρ δύναται ταῦτα τὰ σημεῖα ποιεῖν ἃ σὺ ποιεῖς, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ὁ θεὸς μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ
.

The sentence under consideration is presentational in articulation. The introduction of Νικόδημος as a participant is very heavily encoded suggesting that Νικόδημος is an important person in the narrative. Richard Bauckham tells us that Νικόδημος was a rare name in palestinian Judaism of that era. He finds only four of them and claims they were all members of the same royal aristocratic family.

I noted at the end of chapter two[1] Νικόδημος opening remarks have already been undermined before he makes them.

The discourse involving Νικόδημος it is tightly bound was the preceding remarks:
πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ θεωροῦντες αὐτοῦ τὰ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίει·
ῥαββί, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐλήλυθας διδάσκαλος· οὐδεὶς γὰρ δύναται ταῦτα τὰ σημεῖα ποιεῖν ἃ σὺ ποιεῖς, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ὁ θεὸς μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ
.

John makes it clear that Jesus was not impressed by the response of the crowd who has seen him work signs and wonders. The antithetical contrast between πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν and αὐτὸς δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἐπίστευεν establishes the background Νικόδημος opening remarks. Νικόδημος οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐλήλυθας διδάσκαλος· we know it because we've seen the signs you have worked. This suggests Νικόδημος is one of the crowd. It isn't a very flattering portrayal.

Another possible reading: Νικόδημος is adopting the attitude of the crowd as a form of irony, in other words suggesting working signs and wonders is not in fact an indication that the miracle worker is an emissary of God. There are probably several other alternatives.

[1] By all means we should ignore the chapter divisions here as elsewhere.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stephen Hughes
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Re: John3:1

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 19th, 2017, 5:12 am

Hi Jeffery,
If Greek is defined by the English grammar needed to translate it - as some grammarians still do - then the internal subject of ἦν could be used as the (pseudo)subject and ἄνθρωπος, Νικόδημος, and ἄρχων would be the predicates. This happens in other other uses of the verb to be too. Since the introduction of pseudo-subjects is a requirement of English, the eternal, ἐγώ εἰμι "I am" statements of Jesus (e.g. Jn.13:19) seem ungrammatical, while the ordinary statements where ἐγώ εἰμι may be translated as "it's me" (e.g. Mt.14:27) are natural enough to escape notice. As an other example of how the needs of the English language in this regard are quite demanding, have a look at this sign from Kunming airport:
mmexport1508402506239.jpg
mmexport1508402506239.jpg (329.3 KiB) Viewed 781 times
It was intended to help passengers understand where they are in the airport, but if the simple sentence were to be kept in translation, something like, "This is where you are" might prompt readers to look for other information on the sign, rather than looking at their feet.

If Greek grammar is defined in terms of Greek grammar, then ἄνθρωπος, Νικόδημος, and ἄρχων are the explicated subjects of the internal subject of ἦν.

In most cases, translational grammar and analytical or systemic grammar coincide, but not always - this is one of those non-coincidental cases. What you have brought up in your question is an example of where translational grammar interferes with or alters our understanding of analytical or systemic Greek grammar. An example of where analytical or systemic grammar affects translational grammar is when a beginner applying their understanding of Greek to the translation into English and translates λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς as "Jesus he says to them". The inclusion of tge spurious "he" demonstrates a knowledge of analytical or systemic Greek grammar, which is good, but that knowledge is inappropriately applied in a translation task, where a translational grammar should be used.

In brief, you have correctly identified that there are two competing and yet complimentary Greek grammars that we need to master. In college or university exams on Greek, both types of knowledge are usually tested - a typical question is "translate this passage and comment on the grammar of the underlined words and phrases".

You are on the right track. Balanced learning means learning to understand Greek in itself, and it also means developing the skills needed to render your new found knowledge of Greek texts into a language that others can understand and appreciate.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: John3:1

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 20th, 2017, 5:33 pm

At the beginner's level, I think two more things might be helpful:

1. Look at how Ἦν+δὲ is used in other places in the New Testament with the meaning "there was" or "now there was".

2. You are probably curious about how Νικόδημος ὄνομα αὐτῷ is related to the initial clause. Here is one way of understanding it - it's a predication about the subject that has been introduced:
v Ἦν
s ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων, ἄρχων τῶν Ἰουδαίων·
:
p Νικόδημος
s ὄνομα
adv αὐτῷ,
This is equivalent to saying "there was a man of the Pharisees, a leader of the Jews ... Nicodemus was his name". The Greek works a lot like the English in this loose connection between the initial clause and predication made in the other clause.

Does that help? Are we answering your questions?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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