Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

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Jacob Rhoden
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Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Jacob Rhoden » October 18th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Wallace describes πνεῖ in John 3:8 (τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ) as an example of 'gnomic' present, it follows that the next statement 'καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει·' is also generally gnomic in nature. But to my native English ears, the fact that ἀκούεις and οἶδας are second person singular sounds odd.

I am not sure if it feels odd because I am used to reading it in English and reading the "you" in English as a general collective statement, or if grammatically speaking, the fact that Jesus is making a direct statement to Nicodemus individually in the first person, that ἀκούεις and οἶδας should be understood as a direct statement to Nicodemus rather than a more gnomic/general statement? Is it odd, or natural, that gnomic statements might use the second person singular?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 19th, 2018, 5:42 am

In the context of the discourse, the you singular refers specifically to Nicodemus. In the broader context of John's literary purpose, Nicodemus represents any inquirer, and so the statement has general application to everyone.
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Bill Ross
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Re: Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Bill Ross » March 13th, 2019, 2:34 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 5:42 am
In the context of the discourse, the you singular refers specifically to Nicodemus. In the broader context of John's literary purpose, Nicodemus represents any inquirer, and so the statement has general application to everyone.
I think that's clearly the case. So am I correct that the OP's concern was well founded and indeed pnei, akouo, etc. are not gnomic? IE: It is specific to Nick?: "The wind/spirit is blowing where it intends and you [Nick] are hearing the sound of it but you can't tell whether it is coming or going. That's the case with all that are born of the wind/spirit"?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 13th, 2019, 5:46 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 2:34 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 5:42 am
In the context of the discourse, the you singular refers specifically to Nicodemus. In the broader context of John's literary purpose, Nicodemus represents any inquirer, and so the statement has general application to everyone.
I think that's clearly the case. So am I correct that the OP's concern was well founded and indeed pnei, akouo, etc. are not gnomic? IE: It is specific to Nick?: "The wind/spirit is blowing where it intends and you [Nick] are hearing the sound of it but you can't tell whether it is coming or going. That's the case with all that are born of the wind/spirit"?
Yes and no (I'm like an elf in that respect). They are not "gnomic" because they are present, and I would resist creating a "gnomic present" category to explain the usage. The gnomicness? gnomicity? Garden gnome? of the passage is a function of the context and not the form of the words per se.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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