Talk:John 15-21 (Translated)

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Reversion explained

First, we don't censor ideas here. Second, the edit comment did not justify the censorship.

Discuss rather than censor.--Andy Schlafly 14:31, 27 February 2010 (EST)

Well, it makes perfect sense for Christians to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, would have known about the modern-day political meaning of "right" and "left" 18 centuries before; so from a Christian point of view this objection is not valid. --Maquissar 14:41, 27 February 2010 (EST)
I'll add the non-political translation: follow my instructions is correct (right) or Jesus leads him to the righteous way, to success. --Jpatt 15:13, 27 February 2010 (EST)
Well, this is a wordplay that's only valid for English, however, and not for aramaic or greek :P --Maquissar 15:14, 27 February 2010 (EST)

I disagree that the designation of "right" to connote "conservative" and "left" to connote "liberal" is purely arbitrary. John's use of the Greek word for "right" may be a political statement here.--Andy Schlafly 15:50, 27 February 2010 (EST)

Well, THAT modern political meaning did not exist at the time yet. Of course you can claim that Jesus, being the Son of God, could know the modern meaning, but barring that, the word did not have that meaning at the time. Modern usage derives from French Revolution assemblies, in which those who favoured the Ancien Régime (monarchists, aristocrats, clergymen) would sit at the right, and those who were in favour of the republic, secularization, and the need for revolutionary changes, were at the left.
Of course, in many cultures the "right" hand meant skill, strength, virtue and therefore "good", whereas the "left" hand meant lack of skill, clumsiness, and therefore came to mean "bad". That's because most people are naturally right-handed; the word "dexterity" comes from the latin word for "right" (as in "right hand"), and the word "sinister" comes from the latin word for "left". Many left-handed people were forced to become right-handed, because being left-handed was seen as something to be corrected rather than accepted... in Italy, it still happened as late as the early second half of the 20th century. --Maquissar 16:02, 27 February 2010 (EST)
"Conservative" is a modern word, but its underlying political meaning is as old as politics itself, and long predates the Gospel of John. John used the word δεξιός , which did have politically conservative connotations.--Andy Schlafly 18:12, 27 February 2010 (EST)
Your claim seems to have some basis. My Ancient Greek dictionary lists δεξιός as meaning, other than "right-handed, "able", and "fortunate", also "cautious", which is consistent with the notion of "conservative" (i.e., resisting change). PERSONALLY, I am still not convinced that that was what Jesus meant, as Jesus did not speak Greek, but the hypothesis is etymologically plausible. --Maquissar 18:28, 27 February 2010 (EST)
Jesus probably did speak Greek, and there is liberal bias in denying that fact. Moreover, John wrote in Greek, and it's significant that John chose "δεξιός" to convey the point, possibly a political one.--Andy Schlafly 20:35, 27 February 2010 (EST)
I would agree that Jesus spoke Greek. John 12:27, Greeks asked to see Jesus and that message was relayed by I think Philip. The scripture said his soul was troubled "What shall I say?". This passage doesn't mean he was troubled by communicating with the Greek's. --Jpatt 21:20, 27 February 2010 (EST)
I agree that Jesus spoke Greek. The evidence for this is overwhelming. First, His use of the word "hypocrite," which does not appear to have an exact equivalent in first century Aramaic, and was not in common usage in Jewish culture at the time. The very idea of the "hupocrite" comes from the Greek culture, and actually meant "actor" during the first century. So Jesus was actually borrowing an idea from Greek/Roman culture, and calling the Pharisees "actors" (accusing them of "playing a role, not being sincere," which would indicate that, not only did Jesus speak Greek, He was aware of Gentile culture). Second, the switch back and forth between certain words within the gospels themselves (such as the Aramaic "rabbi" and the Greek "didaskalos") give strong support for the idea that Jesus Himself switched back and forth between Greek and Aramaic, and often spoke in Greek when addressing people in public. This would fit with what we know from history of the Jewish nation. One of the motivations behind the creation of the Septuagint by Jewish scholars several generations before Jesus was because the Jewish people could speak and read Greek, but could no longer read pure Hebrew. Further, more than 90 percent of the OT quotations in the NT made by Jewish writers are directly, word for word, from the Septuagint. Only about 10 percent are direct translations of the Hebrew (which, with Greek being so free form in terms of word order, is easy to spot). Third, it is highly unlikely that the uneducated fishermen who followed Jesus could read and write proper Greek (such as John and Peter), when the "teacher" they followed could not. Fourth, Jesus is actually recorded interacting directly with Gentiles on several occasions, with no translation necessary. Finally, there are several times in which the exact words Jesus spoke in Aramaic are recorded, and are then translated. On at least one of these occasions (on the cross), many of the people standing around did not understand what He was saying. That did NOT occur during any of His normal conversations or teachings, again, strongly indicating that Jesus switched freely back and forth between Greek and Aramaic depending on the situation and the audience.
As for the whole "right versus left" = "conservative versus liberal" in the Bible . . . aside from the fact that Jesus simply refused to let Himself be used by or drawn into political agendas (always redirecting people BACK to focusing on serving God), I simply do not believe that Jesus was then going to make several HIDDEN political statements that could NOT be fully understood by ANY believers during the first 1800 or 1900 years of Christianity, and could only be properly decoded by English speaking Americans (or French speaking Europeans) almost two THOUSAND years later. That simply does not fit. The teachings of scripture are UNIVERSAL, they transcend culture and era, and Jesus taught ABSOLUTE Truth, NOT American political views. Anything that is true of the political "Conservative" view is because WE line up with God's position, NOT because He agrees with ours. In Joshua 5:13, when Joshua encountered the the commander of the Lord's armies, Joshua asked him: "Are you for us or for our enemies." Despite the fact that Israel was OBEYING God and doing the will of God, the answer was "neither." God does not "join" our positions, we join HIS. The question is NOT whether or not He is with us, the question is whether or not we are with HIM. Speaking as a life long Conservative, I can say with no hesitation that God is NOT a right wing conservative (it is NOT a conservative political position that one MUST be a follower of Jesus to be a conservative, as there are very prominent, NON-Christian JEWISH conservatives in America - and that IS the central message of the Bible). God is not a member of OUR coalition. If we are correct, if we proclaim Truth, it is because we have joined HIS side, NOT because He has joined ours. If there is some deeper meaning to be attributed to His use of "right," it needs to be drawn from how the words were used, and what their meanings were, during the first century, NOT how a tiny group of believers (historically speaking) would use those words two thousand years later in modern American political culture.--Michael Back 13:46, 17 March 2010 (EDT)

John 15:25 - Quotations out of context

Just as a side note, there is an idea floating around today that everything in scripture can only be understood in light of the entire story surrounding it, that unless the full context is given, it is automatically wrong. While there is definitely some validity to the fact that reading the full context of any given passage will add to your understanding, and often open up things that you never saw before, it is clearly not true that small, individual passages cannot be quoted completely out of context, as Jesus did it all the time. In fact, it is very unlikely that one would grasp from reading the context of this psalm, or any of the story surrounding what was happening when David wrote it, that it was a prophecy concerning the Messiah. However, since we cannot be sure that we will always be led by the Holy Spirit like Jesus was, nor that we have the understanding of scripture that He had, we really do need to exercise extreme caution when quoting a passage apart from the surrounding context. The point here is simply that it is NOT "automatically" wrong to quote a passage all by itself, without including the context.--Michael Back 15:22, 22 March 2010 (EDT)

Great point. I agree.--Andy Schlafly 16:17, 22 March 2010 (EDT)

John 17:17

Does John redefine the meaning of "logos" here? Also, capitalize "T" in truth? (This is not my question, but I have moved this question from the analysis column to the talk page, as I believe it fits better here)--Michael Back 15:44, 17 March 2010 (EDT)

First question: Does John redefine logos here? No. John is NOT saying that logos now "means" truth. John is stating that the totality of everything that God says, logos, is the ultimate and absolute standard of Truth. All other "truth" is to be measured against everything that God says. If anything can be said to be absolutely TRUE, is the the logos of God.
Second question: Should truth be capitalized here? Yes. Capitalizing the word "truth" in English is how we identify that we are speaking of an unchanging, eternal absolute. We signify that by capitalizing the word "truth." The comment has been made that Greek has no single word that means the same thing as we mean in English when we capitalize "truth." Actually, English has no separate word for that either. We use the same word for "truth" as we do for "Truth." We do NOT use a separate word, we use the same word, and distinguish between it with a "grammatical" change (we capitalize the first letter). This is very clear in spoken English, as we make no verbal distinction between the two. Greek does the same thing. The distinction between "truth" and "Truth" is found in the grammatical construction and context, NOT as a separate word. So Greek DOES have an equivalent of when we capitalize "Truth," and they illustrate that with context and construction.--Michael Back 15:55, 17 March 2010 (EDT)

Validity of Chapter 21

This is a response to the note at the beginning of chapter 21. This idea is so completely without merit that I cannot understand why we would even give it the recognition of mentioning that it exists. We need to dispense once and for all with giving any kind of authority or credibility to views derived from perceived "style" changes within the Bible. Those "observations" never pan out. First, John actually varies his style in several places within this gospel, so singling out the last chapter just shows a lack of knowledge about the book and about Greek. Second, John references himself in the third person throughout the entire book. One use of the third person in chapter 21 is a direct reference back to the use of the third person in chapter 13 (where John leans up against Jesus' chest). Phrased EXACTLY the same in both places. Further, his use of the third person when he identifies himself as an eye-witness matches when John is giving a direct, eye-witness account of seeing blood and water come out of Jesus' side in chapter 19. He maintains the THIRD PERSON, despite wanting the reader to know that this is an eye-witness report. What would be a STRANGE, abnormal switch in style would be if he suddenly referenced himself in the FIRST PERSON in chapter 21. Further, the vocabulary within the last chapter is uniformly consistent with the vocabulary within the rest of the book. Almost every chapter of John contains a few words not used by John anywhere else, and then several words that are favorites of John. The last chapter is exactly the same. A few words not found anywhere else in John's writings (ἀριστάω - breakfast, δίκτυον - net, αἰγιαλός - beach) that unavoidably MUST be used to describe the setting, and several words that John uses a lot (φανερόω, ἐγείρω).

Finally, as mentioned in the note, every copy of John ever found which contains the end of the book includes the last chapter, including the oldest copy of John in existence, P66 (the very last page of P66 is missing, but the second to last page still exists, and it contains 21 all the way up to verse 9). P66 dates from somewhere in the middle of the second century, making it within one generation of the original. This is the OLDEST nearly complete copy of ANY book in the NT, with only about 40 - 60 years between the original and this copy, and although the speed with which it was copied created huge numbers of copy errors, giving it less weight on the details, the sheer age of the document means it carries a huge amount of weight as to the general layout and content of the original. With only 40-60 years between it and the original, it also stands alone as the shortest distance between an original and a nearly complete existing copy of ANY ancient document, secular or biblical, in existence today (in fact, nearly all of the top ten are biblical manuscripts, with p75 coming in second, p46 possibly third - depending on which scholar you believe, etc - you have to go down the list to several hundred years between an original and an existing copy before you encounter the first ancient secular manuscript on the list). In short, P66 settles the issue. If it doesn't prove that chapter 21 is original, then no textual evidence on any topic, dealing with any manuscript, in any field, secular or biblical, means ANYTHING, as no other manuscript that I am aware of even comes close to this one.--Michael Back 15:10, 17 March 2010 (EDT)

Michael, your contributions to the project are truly appreciated, but walls of text do not add to discussions. I'm simply unsure if you're making a point or ranting. DouglasA 17:18, 17 March 2010 (EDT)
I never rant, I'm just long winded, and have an almost irresistible desire to be as thorough as possible. If I express an opinion, I try to give the full reason for that opinion. The short little two sentence, "this is my opinion" and "this is my counter opinion" does me no good and I find no value in it. Most of the time I don't even bother to read them. On the other hand, opinions supported by facts, logical reasoning, and evidence are very powerful, and I alway read those. I personally want to know facts, or at the very least, reasons, so that is what I provide. I only participate in discussions that I have researched, so I provide most of my findings, and the reasons for my positions up front. Possibly this is not the forum for that kind of thing. If not, just let me know and I will stop doing it. --Michael Back 17:53, 18 March 2010 (EDT)

I didn't want to editorialize and I'm happy with the current version. I just wanted to make the three year old phrase However, no ancient manuscript of John that actually ends at 20:31, so, if John 21 is an addition, the addition occurred immediately after the original text was finished into a sentence. --AugustO 14:13, 27 September 2012 (EDT)

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