Full Text for Some Observations on The Vocabulary of the Fourth Gospel (Text)

arnurnrbtu nTqtnlngirul 1Inut41y Continuing LEHRE UNO WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.~LuTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERL Y ~ THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. XU February, 1941 No.2 CONTENTS Page Faith. Ed. Koehler ---------________________________________________________________________________________ 81 Luther's Spiritual Martyrdom and Its Appeasement. Theo. Dlerks 102 Teaching Situations, Outlines, and Lesson Plans. P. E. Iuetzmann 108 Some Observations on the Vocabulary of the Fourth Gospel. R. T. Dl1 Bl'al1 _________________________________________________ 114 Outlines on the Wuerttemberg Gospel Selections ________________________________ 118 Miscellanea ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 126 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches ____________________ 139 Book Review. - Literatur __________________________________________________________________________ 153 Ein Predlger muss n1cht allein wei- den, also dass er die Schafe unter- weise. wle sle rechte Christen sollen sein. sondern auch daneben den Woel- fen we7,rert, dass sie die Schafe nich t angrelfen und mit falscher Lehre ver- fuehren und Irrtum einfuehren. Luther Es ist kein Ding. das die Leute mehr bei der K1rche behaelt denn die gute Predigt. - Apo\ogie, Art. 24 If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? -1 Cor. 14:8 Published for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PUBLISHING HOUSE, St. Louis, Mo. 114 Some Observations on Vocabulary of Fourth Gospel then being that employed in Biblical theology, which usually carries conviction to the student. It stands to reason that the alert teacher will often use a com_ bination of these various forms of motivation or that he will discover others which can be applied with good success. It will be best for him to remember at all times that the requirement in the lower grades is chiefly to stimulate curiosity and arouse interest, while the upper grades of the elementary school demand that he meet the psychological level of the children. During the post-confirma_ tion age the approach must be based upon the contacts with life established by the young people and by the interests which they develop, and in adults the instructor must strive'to meet the think- ing of his pupils with reference to social and economic conditions with which they are concerned. P. E. KRETZMANN Some Observations on the Vocabulary of the Fourth Gospel The fact is well known that the "disciple whom Jesus loved" frequently employs such simple but withal deeply significant terms as "life," "light," "truth," etc., and their antonyms, words and phrases totally lacking in the synoptic gospels. The Gospel of St. John has none of the terms translated "com- passion," or "pity" (EAEO<;, EAEEOl, 01tAayxvL~OfJ.aL), although the synop- tists have thirty-three of them. John supersedes them with uya1tl1, and its verb uy«1taOl. The noun is exclusively Biblical, used by both the LXX and the New Testament. The assumption that the "Great Prayer to Isis" (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus No. 1,380), composed in the second century A. D., may have called Isis uYWcCll) in the North Egyptian coast town of Thonis (line 28), or even u(ya)ml {lEW'll in Italy (according to a more or less doubtful restoration in line 109), does no violence to this claim. As early as the second century a gradual interchange between Christian and pagan vocabularies began to take place; indeed, it is difficult to draw the line always to determine just which expression was exclusively Christian and which pagan. So, for instance, some of the early Christian writers had no scruples to use EQOl<;, love between the sexes, in place of the apostolic UyWcl1. Theodoret writes: "He who hath received the divine love (0 'to'll EQOl'ta 'to'll itELOV IlE!;afJ.Evo<;) despises all earthly things"; but Theodoret did not despise the use of the very earthly EQOl<;. Ignatius uses the noteworthy expression: "My love hath been crucified" (0 EfJ.O<; EQOl<; EO'tUlJQOl'tUL). Origen interpreted 0 E~<; EQOl<; of Christ and thus gives evidence by the introduction of EQOl<; into the Christian vocabulary for the departure from apostolic care Some Observations on Vocabulary of Fourth Gospel 115 purity of expression. By the same token it is not impossible for pagan phraseology to be touched by the ever-growing Christian vocabularies, particularly of the Apologists. The sacred writers, and among them St. John, while employing the Greek language, "the noblest and most subtle instrument of human speech ever invented," repudiated certain pagan terms which might involve the acceptance of unworthy heathen ideals and purposes. At the same time they appropriated to a nobler and Christian use such terms as conveyed the expression of what was best and purest in pre-Christian thought. This fundamental method is still employed by Bible-translators of today. But when we say that uyWt1l is exclusively Biblical, we make reference to the truth that Christianity literally revealed a new life, made a new life possible, and thus required a new vocabulary to express the new conditions. Thus words came into use which in some cases were absolutely new coinings; in others they were so charged with fresh meaning as to be the equivalent of new words. To St. John (1st Ep., 4: 8) uya,1tll expresses the very essence of the divine nature. It also expresses the greatest Christian grace, the sacred bond of Christian society, the fulfilment of the new law bequeathed by the Lord to His disciples. ' A yWtl] is not classical in the sense of being found in the writings of Greek authors of antiquity. The LXX use it, however, and it may therefor have been a colloquial word before it took its place in Biblical literature. But the LXX use differs widely from its use in the New Testa- ment. There it is used in a sense identical with EQror;, a sense abso- lutely excluded from the New Testament. In the sense of EQror; the new word occurs in 2 Sam. 13: 15. As far as its history was concerned, uyWtl] could not present an unblemished record for admittance into the Christian vocab- ulary. But if the choice lay between uyWtl] and EQror;, as it surely did, then there could be little doubt as to the decision. Although Plato had idealized EQror; to such a degree that all civilized tongues still can speak of "Platonic love," EQror; was nevertheless so steeped into the worst associations of pagan life as to render it ill fitted to convey the sublime message of divine love. ' Ay Wtl] , on the other hand, with its literary newness, its suggestion of pure and self- sacrificing affection (as should indeed be present in connubial love), became an apt instrument of expression in the gospels, particularly that of St. John. It occurs twice only in the synoptic gospels: Luke (11: 42) modifies it by 'tou ilEOU i our Lord uses the word when He prophesies the coldness of love in these latter days, 'I\lUyl]oE'tUL it uyWtl] 'twv 1tOAAWV, the love of the many will wax cold, Matt. 24: 12. In the fourth gospel uyWtY) is used eight times, most often in chapter 15. The epistles of St. John have it nineteen times; it is 116 Some ObservatiollB on Vocabulary of Fourth Gospel found twice in Revelation. In the remaining apostolic writings few important words occur as often as u'VWt'l1. Christianity itself is summed up in u'VWt'l1. Eternal, aLwvLO';, lasting for an age, or even longer than the ages, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting, is not only more frequent with John, but he always uses it with ~oo~. If life is brief and fleeting, it is not so with the beloved disciple: In Christ it is a life eternal, 0 l'tL0''t8UOOV d,; 'tOY ULOV i!X,8L ~oonv aLwvLOv, 3:36, et al. A form of EQ8UVa.OO, I search, not known before the first century A. D., is EQauva.oo. It occurs nowhere in the synoptic gospels, but John has it in the celebrated passage 5:39 and'in 7:52. 'EQauvil't8 is now commonly taken to be a statement rather than a command. The Lord was here making an assertion with an implied condem- nation. His opponents to whom He here addresses Himself were as a matter of fact in the habit of searching their own Scriptures, because they thought they had eternal life in them. They were mistaken in this, for eternal life is not in the Scriptures apart from Him of whom these same Scriptures testified. They were wrong, indeed not in searching the Scriptures, but in doing so with prejudiced minds and mistaken motives and refusing to come to Him who is the Life and the Light of men. Strikingly the first seven verbs in the J ohannine gospel fall into two groups: d~(, four times; then 'V(VO~!J.L, three times: the Word "was"; everything else "became." As an ellipse is described about its two foci, so all philosophy is said to be involved in these two concepts, d~(J I am, and 'V(VO~!J.LJ I become. Common English par- lance has no fine distinction here, but the German differentiates between sein and werden, as also the subtle Spanish with its two verbs ser and estar. The Greek is always very careful to distin- guish between the two. John in his vocabulary observes a fine discrimination where the absoluteness of the Deity in contrast to the relativity of what- ever is human is under consideration. "Before Abraham came to be, I am," 8: 58, says the Lord. The eternal Son is not in the same category as Abraham, who had no being until a given point in time. Subsequently, the Word became flesh; without ceasing to be what He ever had been, He became what previously He was not; and so our salvation is bound up with Him who eternally was and yet in time became. The force of 'VLVO~!J.L can be recognized from such passages as speak of a change in the nature or appearance of some- thing. At Christ's first miracle, water became wine; remaining fluid and a beverage, it took to itself new qualities and became what it was not before. Stephen became 'the first in a long line of Christian martyrs, Some Observations on Vocabulary of Fourth Gospel 117 but the verb I1-UQ't;UQEOO does not occur in Mark; it is found once in each Matthew (22: 31) and Luke (4: 22); while it is extremely common in John, being found there thirty-three times. John's gospel has no parables, and the word nUQu~OAl] is en- tirely absent, while frequent enough among the other three. But nUQoLI1-LU occurs in John 10: 6; 16: 25,29. Elsewhere in the New Testament it will be found only 2 Pet. 2: 22, employed by John's lone companion in the morning race to the empty tomb. II UQOLI1-LU is a "cryptic saying," a "veiled speech," a way of stating things "be- side the common way" (nuQu and 0[11-0(;). The Doric form ma.~oo, I seize, apprehend, arrest, etc., occurs eight times in John, but is not found in the synoptists, although Luke employs it Acts 3: 7 and 12: 4. The famous noun nLo't;L(; occurs 24 times in the synoptic gospels, but is never used by st. John. On the other hand, its verb, mO't;EuELV, while employed only 36 times by the synoptists, is used over 100 times by st. John. Certain heretics, like Celsus, later, might say that nLo't;L(; simply means "credulity" or, in its earlier pagan meaning, a certain "intellectual conviction"; but St. John's per- sistent use of mO't;EUELv forbids such shallow interpretation. A further peculiar feature of John's vocabulary is that nQoa- €UX0I1-UL and nQoa€UXl] (pray and prayer) are never used by him, while the synoptists have these words 54 times. Neither has John 11-€'t;UVOEOO and 11-€'t;UVOLU (repent and repentance), although these occur 24 times in the three other gospels. These few observations on St. John's vocabulary do not purport to be exhaustive and all-inclusive, but they serve to show that a comparison of the evangelists' vocabularies yields rich reward in stimulating and often revealing study. R. T. Du BRAU