Monday, April 13, 2015

Opening their Minds to the Scriptures

Below is a rough translation and some preliminary notes regarding Luke 24:36-48, the Revised Common Lectionary gospel reading for Sunday, April 19, 2015. 
Your comments are always welcomed. 

36 Ταῦτα δὲ αὐτῶν λαλούντων αὐτὸς ἔστη ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν.
Yet while they were speaking these things he stood in the midst of them and says to them, “Peace to you.”
λαλούντων: PAPart gpm, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound  2) to speak
ἔστη: AAI 3s, ἵστημι, 1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set  1a) to bid to stand by, [set up]  1a1) in the presence of others, in the midst,
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω 1) to say, to speak  1a) affirm over, maintain

37 πτοηθέντες δὲ καὶ ἔμφοβοι γενόμενοι ἐδόκουν πνεῦμα θεωρεῖν.
Yet having been terrified and having become fearful they were supposing to be viewing a spirit.
πτοηθέντες: APPart npm, πτοέω, to terrify; pass. to be terrified
γενόμενοι: AMPart npm, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being  2) to become,
ἐδόκουν: IAI 3p, δοκέω, 1) to be of opinion, think, suppose  2) to seem, to be accounted, reputed  3) it seems to me
θεωρεῖν: PAInf, θεωρέω, 1) to be a spectator, look at, behold  1a) to view attentively, take a view of, survey 
1. The appearances of Jesus continue to be mystical in nature. The two on the road to Emmaus do not recognize him until he breaks the bread. Here, they seem to know that it is Jesus, but fearfully reckon that it is a spirit. Each gospel (except perhaps Mark’s enigmatic ending in 16:8), struggles to identify what the risen body of Jesus is, exactly. The terror and confusion here may be due to the fact that they witnessed Jesus die; but they had just been hearing that he is risen. 

38 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τί τεταραγμένοι ἐστέ, καὶ διὰ τί διαλογισμοὶ ἀναβαίνουσιν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν;
And he said to them, “Why are you having been troubled and on what account are deliberations arising in your heart?
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, , λέγω 1) to say, to speak  1a) affirm over, maintain
τεταραγμένοι: PerfPPart, npm, ταράσσω, 1) to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro)  1a) to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of  mind, disturb his equanimity 
ἐστέ:  PAI 2p, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
ἀναβαίνουσιν: PAI 3p, ἀναβαίνω, 1) ascend  1a) to go up  1b) to rise, mount, be borne up, spring up
1. I know that “Why are you having been troubled” is very awkward, but I want to point out that there are two verbs, “are” (ἐστέ in the present tense) and “having been troubled” (τεταραγμένοι in the perfect tense) together.

39 ἴδετε τὰς χεῖράς μου καὶ τοὺς πόδας μου ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι αὐτός: ψηλαφήσατέ με καὶ ἴδετε, ὅτι πνεῦμα σάρκα καὶ ὀστέα οὐκ ἔχει καθὼς ἐμὲ θεωρεῖτε ἔχοντα.
See my hands and my feet that I am he; touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bone just as you view me having.
ἴδετε: AAImpv 2p, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
ψηλαφήσατέ: AAImpv 2p, ψηλαφάω, 1) to handle, touch and feel  2) metaph. mentally to seek after tokens of a person or a thing
ἔχει: PAI 3s, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
θεωρεῖτε: PAI 2p, θεωρέω, 1) to be a spectator, look at, behold  1a) to view attentively, take a view of, survey 
ἔχοντα: PAPart asm, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
1. Most translations have “as you see I have” at the end of this verse. I want to show that there are two different verbs here: “see” (ἴδετε) and “view” (θεωρέω). 2. Technically, θεωρέω could be translated as “see,” but then the English would lose the distinctions that are in the Greek.

40 καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας.
And having said this he showed to them the hands and the feet.
εἰπὼν: AAPart nsm, λέγω 1) to say, to speak  1a) affirm over, maintain
ἔδειξεν: AAI 3s, δεικνύεις, to show, exhibit;

41 ἔτι δὲ ἀπιστούντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς καὶ θαυμαζόντων εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ἔχετέ τι βρώσιμον ἐνθάδε;
Yet while they were disbelieving from the joy and were wondering he said to them, “Do you have something edible here?”
ἀπιστούντων: PAPart gpm, ἀπιστέω, 1) to betray a trust, be unfaithful  2) to have no belief, disbelieve
θαυμαζόντων: PAPart gpm, θαυμάζω, 1) to wonder, wonder at, marvel  2) to be wondered at, to be had in admiration
Ἔχετέ: PAI 2p, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold
1. It seems that we have a couplet “disbelieving (from joy) and wondering” (ἀπιστούντων ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς καὶ θαυμαζόντων) to answer for the couplet of “terrified and becoming fearful” (πτοηθέντες καὶ ἔμφοβοι γενόμενοι) in v. 37.

42 οἱ δὲ ἐπέδωκαν αὐτῷ ἰχθύος ὀπτοῦ μέρος:
Yet they gave to him a piece of cooked fish;
ἐπέδωκαν: AAI 3p, ἐπιδίδωμι, 1) to hand, give by hand  2) to give over  2a) give up to the power or will of one

43 καὶ λαβὼν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ἔφαγεν.
and having taken he ate in front of them.
λαβὼν: AAPart nsm, λαμβάνω, 1) to take  1a) to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing  in order to use it
ἔφαγεν: AAI 3s, ἐσθίω, 1) to eat  2) to eat (consume) a thing  2a) to take food, eat a meal  3) metaph. to devour, consume

44 Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου οὓς ἐλάλησα πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἔτι ὢν σὺν ὑμῖν, ὅτι δεῖ πληρωθῆναι πάντα τὰ γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Μωϋσέως καὶ τοῖς προφήταις καὶ ψαλμοῖς περὶ ἐμοῦ.
Yet he said to them, “These my words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that it is necessary for all the writings in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the psalms concerning me to be fulfilled.”
ἐλάλησα: AAI 1s, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound  2) to speak
ὢν: PAPart nsm, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
δεῖ: PAI 3s, δέω, 1) to bind tie, fasten  1a) to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains
πληρωθῆναι: APInf, πληρόω, 1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
1. The phrase “these my words” is awkward. One can supply a verb ‘to be’ (“are”) here and treat ‘these’ as the nominative subject and ‘my words’ as the nominative predicate, which is what most translations seem to be doing.
2. The ὅτι could be translated as ‘that’ or it could simply introduce a quote: “These my words which I spoke to you while I was with you, ‘It is necessary …’.”

45 τότε διήνοιξεν αὐτῶν τὸν νοῦν τοῦ συνιέναι τὰς γραφάς.
Then he made open-minded their mind to the like-mindedness of the writings/scriptures.
διήνοιξεν: AAI 3s, διανοίγω, 1) to open by dividing or drawing asunder, to open … to open one's soul, i.e. to rouse in one the faculty of  understanding or the desire of learning
συνιέναι: PAInf, συνίημι, 1) to set or bring together  1a) in a hostile sense, of combatants  2) to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived  2a) to set or join together in the mind  2a1) i.e. to understand: the man of understanding  2a2) idiom for: a good and upright man (having the knowledge  of those things which pertain to salvation)
1. This is a very awkward translation, I admit. But, I want to pick up on the duplicity of the words “open one’s mind” (διήνοιξεν) and “mind” (νοῦν). I think the word “meaning” (συνιέναι) is also in this vocabulary family – especially considering that one definition is “to join together the mind”.
2. The phrase that is typically translated to “love God with all your … mind” has the noun διάνοια, which is the nominal version of this verb “open the mind” διήνοιξεν.
3. I have written a blogpost for The Politics of Scripture, centering on this verse, at http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/the-politics-of-resurrection-hermeneutics-luke-2436-48/.

46 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὕτως γέγραπται παθεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ ἀναστῆναι ἐκ νεκρῶν τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ,
And he said to them “Thus it has been written the Christ to suffer and to rise out of death on the third day,
γέγραπται: PerfPI 3s, γράφω, 1) to write, with reference to the form of the letters  1a) to delineate (or form) letters on a tablet, parchment,  paper, or other material  2) to write, with reference to the contents of the writing
παθεῖν: AAInf πάσχω, 1) to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a  sensible experience, to undergo  1a) in a good sense, to be well off, in good case  1b) in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight  1b1) of a sick person
ἀναστῆναι: AAInf. ἀνίστημι, 1) to cause to rise up, raise up  1a) raise up from laying down  1b) to raise up from the dead
1. Grammatically, what has been written is described with the noun in the accusative case “the Christ” and an infinitive verb “to suffer”. The pattern is repeated in the second part of this sentence in v.47 with the noun “repentance” and the verb “to be preached.”

47 καὶ κηρυχθῆναι ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ μετάνοιαν εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἀρξάμενοι ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλήμ:
and repentance into release of sins to be preached in his name into all the nations which are beginning from Jerusalem;
κηρυχθῆναι: APInf, κηρύσσω, 1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald  1a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald  1b) always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an  authority which must be listened to and obeyed  …  3) used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters  pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the  apostles and other Christian teachers
ἀρξάμενοι: AMPart npm, ἄρχω, 1) to be chief, to lead, to rule

48 ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες τούτων.
you [are] witnesses of these things.
1. This sentence has no verb, so I supplied one.

Reflections:
This resurrection appearance moves from convincing “the eleven and their companions” (including now Cleopas and the other Emmaus road traveler) that he really is the risen Christ and not a spook, to opening their minds to understanding. I really wish we had an English word that could make v.45 work as well as it does in Greek, with Jesus mind-blowing their minds to mind the scriptures. (See, it just doesn’t work with “mind.” Got a better option?)

The content of what Jesus reveals to them is given in this way:
A: v.44: The words that Jesus spoke before the crucifixion came to this: “It is necessary for all the writings in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the psalms concerning me to be fulfilled.”

    B: v.45: Then, after the resurrection, he opened their minds to the meaning of
    the Scriptures.

A1: v.46-8: What the Scriptures mean is this: “Christ is to suffer and to rise out of death on the third day, and repentance into release of sins is to be preached in his name into all the nations which are beginning from Jerusalem.”

    B1: v.48: The community’s commission is this: You [are] witnesses of these
    things.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Releasing and Retaining Brokenness

Below is a rough translation and some initial comments regarding John 20:19-29, the lectionary gospel reading for Sunday, April 12. There are two pericopes here, the first appearance, with its repetitious proclamations of peace and the second appearance with the intriguing struggle of Thomas and doubt. I like to see the Thomas story as an instance of the early church community, empowered by the spirit to ‘release and retain’ brokenness. I hope that makes sense from the comments below.

19 Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν 
κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων,ἦλθεν ὁ 
Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. 
Then - being evening on that first day of Sabbaths, and the doors having been shut, where the disciples were for fear of the Judeans - Jesus came and stood in the midst and says to them, “Peace to you.”
Οὔσης: PAPart gfs, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
κεκλεισμένων: PerfPPart gfp, κλείω, 1) to shut, shut up
ἦσαν: IAI 3p, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
ἦλθεν: AAI 3s, ἔρχομαι, 1) to come 
ἔστη: AAI 3s, ἵστημι, 1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
1. Re: “first day of Sabbaths,” see the comment on last week’s text, as this phrase is repeated from v.1 and shows up in every gospel account of the resurrection (Mk. 16:2, Mt.28:1, Lk.24:1).
2. The verb is supplied in the common translation of Jesus’ words as “Peace be with you.”

20 καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῖς. ἐχάρησαν οὖν 
οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες τὸν κύριον. 
And having said this he showed the hands and side to them.  Then, the disciples were overjoyed having seen the Lord.
εἰπὼν:  AAPart nms, λέγω, to say, to speak 
ἔδειξεν: AAI 3s, δεικνύω, to show, exhibit
ἐχάρησαν: API 3p, χαίρω, 1) to rejoice, be glad  2) to rejoice exceedingly  3) to be well, thrive  4) in salutations, hail!  5) at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute
ἰδόντες: AAPart nmp, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
1. Jesus shows the disciples his scars and it moves them from φόβον (v.19, fear) to χαίρω (rejoice). This is a key moment, not only with respect to what follows with Thomas, but with respect to the key role that ‘seeing’ plays in John’s story. One example is the story that immediately precedes this story, when the Beloved Disciple went into the tomb and saw and believed (καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐπίστευσεν, v.8).
2. I consider it one of the gifts of the Christian tradition that every gospel account of the resurrection includes Jesus’ scars. Perhaps one role of the scars is to rebut docetic arguments that Jesus did not really suffer and die on the cross, but only appeared to do so. For me, it is less a matter of “proof” and more a matter of telling the story with authenticity and hope – Friday really did happen, but there is more.

21 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς [ὁ Ἰησοῦς] πάλιν, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν: καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με  
πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς.  
Then [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace to you; just as the father has sent me, I also send you.” 
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, to say, to speak 
ἀπέσταλκέν: PerfAI, 3sg ἀποστέλλω to order (one) to go to a place appointed  
πέμπω: PAI, 1sg ἀποστέλλω to order (one) to go to a place appointed
1. There are numerous references throughout John’s gospel to Jesus having been “sent” by God. Most notably it is repeated in Jesus’ prayer in c.17.  

22 καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον: 
And having said this, he breathed and says to them, “Receive a holy spirit.”
εἰπὼν: AAPart, nms λέγω, to say, to speak 
ἐνεφύσησεν: AAI 3sg, ἐμφυσάω, to blow or breathe upon
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω, to say, to speak 
Λάβετε: AAImpv 2p, λαμβάνω, 1) to take  
1. The lexicons greekbible.com and the Zondervan Analytical Greek Lexicon say that ἐνεφύσησεν is rooted in the verb ἐμφυσάω, which, greattreasures.org says, “[has] in view the primary meaning of the words רוּחַ and πνεῦμα.” I’ll have to take that as true, but the aorist singular form here, ἐνεφύσησεν, looks like the root could be νεφύσ, which sounds like a transliteration of the Hebrew nephesh, the word for soul/mind. Would one of you Hebrew scholars help me make this connection or disabuse me of it?
2. If this word is etymologically related to πνεῦμα, then it would be consistent to make Jesus’ words, “Receive a holy breath.” “Breath” is always a possible choice for πνεῦμα.
3. Regarding the spirit, see John 7:38-39: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' Now he said this about the spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” In our pericope, Jesus has been “glorified” and breathes the spirit to them. To get a fuller sense of what John means by “glorify,” see the stories of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in c.13 and Jesus’ prayer in c.17, both of which have repeated references to it. In the next chapter, Jesus speaks of how Simon Peter will “glorify” God through his death.
4. Here is an interesting pattern:
19: “Peace to you”
20: “Having said this, …”
21: “Peace to you”
22: “Having said this, …”

23 ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀφέωνται αὐτοῖς, ἄν τινων κρατῆτε 
κεκράτηνται. 
If you would release the sins of any, they are released to them; if you would retain, they are retained.   
ἀφῆτε: AASubj 2p, ἀφίημι, 1) to send away  1a) to bid going away or depart  1a1) of a husband divorcing his wife  1b) to send forth, yield up, to expire  1c) to let go, let alone, let be  1c1) to disregard  1c2) to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic)  1c21) of teachers, writers and speakers  1c3) to omit, neglect  1d) to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit
ἀφέωνται: PerfPI 3p, ἀφίημι (see above)
κρατῆτε: PASubj 2p, κρατέω, 1) to have power, be powerful  1a) to be chief, be master of, to rule  2) to get possession of  2a) to become master of, to obtain  2b) to take hold of  2c) to take hold of, take, seize
κεκράτηνται: PerfPI 3p κρατέω (see above)
1. The word ἀφίημι is often translated “forgive,” especially when it is used in relation to “sin” (ἁμαρτία). But, as one can see above, the potential definitions are quite varied and ‘forgive’ is not among the first choices. It may be that in the Christian church we have a more moralistic understanding of ‘sin’ than in the first century. What if ἁμαρτία means “brokenness,” rather than some kind of moral failing, often associated with ‘sin’? What would be the meaning of Jesus’ gathered followers having the spirit and power to “release” or “retain” brokenness?
2. This seems to be the whole point of receiving the holy breath/spirit from Jesus – to release or to retain ἁμαρτία. Is this John’s version of the church’s commission? It is certainly not in the imperative voice, implying that the church is sent to go and release sins or to retain sins. It is in the subjunctive mood – “if you do this, this happens; if you do that, that happens.” It may be less of a commissioning and more of a statement, even a warning – “This holy breath empowers you to do this, or to do that.”

24 Θωμᾶς δὲ εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα,  λεγόμενος Δίδυμος, οὐκ ἦν μετ' αὐτῶν ὅτε 
ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς. 
But Thomas, one out of the twelve, who is called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 
λεγόμενος: PPPart nsm, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak  1a) affirm over, maintain  1b) to teach  1c) to exhort, advise, to command, direct  1d) to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say  1e) to call by name, to call, name 
ἦν: IAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
ἦλθεν: AAI 3s, ἔρχομαι, 1) to come 
1. This verse begins, in my view, the second story in our pericope.
2. One commentator suggests that, if we did not know Matthew and Luke, it would appear that Thomas is Jesus’ twin. I’m feeling a sequel to The Da Vinci Code coming.

25 ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ ἄλλοι μαθηταί, Ἑωράκαμεν τὸν κύριον.  δὲ εἶπεν 
αὐτοῖς, Ἐὰν μὴ ἴδω ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτοῦ τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων καὶ βάλω τὸν δάκτυλόν μου εἰς τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων καὶ βάλω μου τὴν χεῖρα εἰς τὴν 
πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω. 
Then the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and insert my finger into the mark of the nails and insert my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 
ἔλεγον: IAI 3p, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
Ἑωράκαμεν: PerfAI 1p ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
ἴδω: AASubj 1s, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
βάλω: AASubj 1s, βάλλω, 1) to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls  ...  2) to put into, insert
πιστεύσω: AASubj 1s, πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place  confidence in  1a) of the thing believe
1. Just to be clear, Mary had already told the disciples “I have seen the Lord” but they are overjoyed when they see the hands and side. In this story, the disciples say “We have seen the Lord,” but Thomas cannot accept it until he, too, sees the hands and side. To me, the point of this story is not that Thomas is the disbelieving holdout because he needs to see evidence before he believes. I think there is more to Thomas’ “doubt” than a lack of evidence.
2. I’m curious about the use of the imperfect form of ‘to be’ (with a negative particle οὐκ ἦν, “was not being”) in v.24 and the imperfect form of ‘to say’ (ἔλεγον, “was saying”) in v.25. It would have been easy to use the aorist tense to say that Thomas was not with them, right at the moment that Jesus first arrived. But, by using the imperfect tense, John may be saying that Thomas was no longer with them when Jesus came the first time, as if he had given up on following Christ, with them, after the crucifixion. Likewise, if they had only said to Thomas, “While you were out getting bagels one day, Jesus came,” the aorist tense would suffice. But, the imperfect, “were saying” implies ongoing past action. Perhaps they were trying over and over to convince Thomas to return. Finally, Thomas threw down the gauntlet, “I’ll come back, but unless I see and touch, etc., I won’t believe it.” I guess I’m seeing the possibility that this was an extended conversation about Thomas’ participation in the community, and not just that Thomas happened to miss out on the first visit. 
2. Thomas makes seeing and touching prerequisites for believing. This pair of verbs returns in v. 29.
3. The term βάλλω is a bit more than ‘to place’ something. It is the world that is used to throw, toss, and to cast, as in casting out demons.

26 Καὶ μεθ' ἡμέρας ὀκτὼ πάλιν ἦσαν ἔσω οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ Θωμᾶς μετ' 
αὐτῶν. ἔρχεται  Ἰησοῦς τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων, καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον 
καὶ εἶπεν, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. 
And on the eighth day again his disciples were inside and Thomas with them.  Jesus enters the locked doors and stood in the midst and said, “Peace to you.” 
ἦσαν: IAI 3p, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present
ἔρχεται: PMI 3s, ἔρχομαι 1) to come  1a) of persons  1a1) to come from one place to another, and used both of  persons arriving and of those returning
κεκλεισμένων: PerfPassPart, gfpl, to lock, close up, shut
ἔστη: AAI 3s, ἵστημι, 1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set  1a) to bid to stand by, [set up]  1a1) in the presence of others,
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
1. I am translating ἔρχομαι as ‘enters’ instead of ‘comes’ because it is in the middle voice.
2. “and Thomas with them.” Thomas has been reconciled to the community. Perhaps the business of receiving the spirit for releasing and retaining is all about reconciling others to the community.  

27 εἶτα λέγει τῷ Θωμᾷ, Φέρε τὸν δάκτυλόν σου ὧδε καὶ ἴδε τὰς χεῖράς μου, 
καὶ φέρε τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ βάλε εἰς τὴν πλευράν μου, καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος 
ἀλλὰ πιστός. 
Then he says to Thomas, “Place your finger here and see my hand, and place your hand here and insert [it] onto my side, and do not become unbelieving but believing.” [or “do not be/become an unbeliever but a believer.”] 
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
Φέρε: PAImp 2s, φέρω, 1) to carry   1a) to carry some burden   1a1) to bear with one's self   1b) to move by bearing; move or, to be conveyed or borne, with   the suggestion of force or speed
βάλε: AAImpv, 2s, βάλλω, 1) to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls ...  2) to put into, insert
γίνου: PMImp 2s, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being  2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
1. I strongly disagree with the NIV’s translation of Jesus last phrase as a separate sentence that reads, “Stop doubting and believe.” The words ἄπιστος  and πιστός are not verbs; they are adjectives, modifying the verb γίνομαι. (Or, they could be predicates. They are in the nominative case because because the verb γίνομαι can take a nominative predicate.) The verb γίνομαι is in the middle/passive voice, which is not uncommon in John’s gospel. Its primary meaning is ‘to become’ but it can simply mean ‘to be’ or it can take on many shades of meaning. This is the verb that the KJV often translates “it came to pass,” because it points to a state of being, rather than a particular action performed by a particular person. I don’t think γίνομαι really fits into our typical patterns of ‘active’ v. ‘passive’ v. ‘middle’ verbs, where the actor and action are clearly identified. In this case, however, γίνομαι is in the imperative mood, which we customarily see as a very direct demand of the actor/action. How do we reconcile the imperative mood with the nature of the verb γίνομαι and the middle/passive voice? I’m not entirely sure, but I do feel the NIV’s translation skips over the thickness of the words and grammar in order to present this as a dual command. Simply commanding someone to be in a state of faith or doubt sounds to me like commanding someone to “Be happy!” Faith and doubt are more complex than that.

28 ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ,Ὁ κύριός μου καὶ  θεός μου. 
Thomas answered and said to him, “My lord and my God.” 
ἀπεκρίθη: API 3s, ἀποκρίνομαι, 1) to give an answer to a question proposed, to answer
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
1. The term “lord” seems to be a term that is often used to show respect, like “Señor” in Spanish. But, to declare Jesus “my Lord” might be Thomas’ way of declaring Jesus to be his ultimate ruler, as opposed to Caesar, for whom this term was often used. Moreover, to call Jesus “my God” would be blasphemous for a Jew. This is no small declaration. No wonder Thomas needed to work this through. If Thomas had left the community, this declaration could be his becoming (again) a disciple.

29 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Οτι ἑώρακάς με πεπίστευκας; μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες.
Jesus says to him, “Because you have seen me you have believed?  Blessed those who have not seen and who believe.” 
λέγει: PAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
ἑώρακάς: PerfAI, 2sg ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
πεπίστευκας: PerfAI, 2sg πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place  confidence in  1a) of the thing believed
ἰδόντες: AAPart npm, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes  2) to see with the mind, to perceive, know
πιστεύσαντες: AAPart npm, πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in 1a) of the thing believed
1. Somewhere in the transmission of the Greek text, someone decided that the word ὁτι (“that” or “because”) should be capitalized and set off with a comma. That is not part of the original text, but an interpretive judgment that was made along the way. Likewise, the question mark is someone’s judgment that this is a question followed by a statement. However, ὁτι is often used as a way of setting up a quote and can go un-translated. If that were the case here, Jesus’ words could read as two statements: “You have seen me and have believed. Blessed those who have not seen and believed.” The reason I want to offer this possibility is to say that Thomas’ path may be one way of embracing Jesus, while the path facing John’s readers may be the other. By placing two statements side-by-side, perhaps the gospel is simply acknowledging that there are two authentic ways of embracing faith – one is through seeing and the other is through not seeing. In fact, the “blessing” that is conferred on those who will never see and touch Jesus’ body may be a way of assuring them that their path of not seeing or touching is as valid as Thomas’ path of seeing and touching. (One could argue that the “blessed” suggests the path of not seeing or touching is more valid. If, however, the question asked by John’s readership is whether belief is possible at all without seeing or touching, then the “blessed” may not be privileging their path but assuring them that their path is equally valid.)
2. There is no main verb in the latter part of this verse. Perhaps the verb ‘to be’ (“are”) is implied, because the οἱ follows the μακάριοι, making μακάριοι the subject and οἱ the predicate nominative. I guess. In any case, the οἱ is the definite article for “who have not seen and who believe.”  
3. This sentence is set up as a chiasm. But, a true chiasm would posit seeing and believing against not seeing and not believing. This one has seeing and believing, then not seeing and yet believing. I believe this is a dramatic ending to John, summarizing all that Jesus has said before about “seeing and believing,” both positive and negative.
4. On this point, see the article, “The Faith of the Beloved Disciple and the Community of John 20”, by Brendan Byrne (Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Feb., 1985, p.89). One comment in particular sums up Byrne’s point, I think: “'Sign' faith is, of course, variously evaluated in John's Gospel. But where such faith is negatively rated (e.g., 2.23-24; 3.2-3; 4.45-48; 6.14-15; 7.3-7) the problem is not so much that a sign initiates the process of faith as that the preoccupation with the sign proceeds from purely human categories and needs in a way that obscures rather than serves the divine revelation in Jesus.” 

30 Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα σημεῖα ἐποίησεν  Ἰησοῦς ἐνώπιον τῶν μαθητῶν [αὐτοῦ],  οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ: 

Indeed Jesus made many other signs in the presence of the disciples [of his], which are not having been written in this book;

ἐποίησεν: AAI 3s, ποιέω, 1) to make  1a) with the names of things made, to produce, construct,  form, fashion, etc

ἔστιν: PAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present

γεγραμμένα: PerfPPart npm, γράφω, 1) to write, with reference to the form of the letters  1a) to delineate (or form) letters on a tablet, parchment,  paper, or other material

1. I wonder if this is an acknowledgement of other gospel texts. I’ve often felt that whoever wrote this gospel knew the Gospel of Mark to some extent.

2. If nothing else, this verse shows that “signs” themselves are not an indication of weak faith. I worry that too many sermons coming out of this pericope imply that wanting or needing some sort of ‘sign’ to retain one’s faith is contrary to the gospel. John has a very layered and sophisticated approach to the relationship between signs and faith.

 

31ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύ[ς]ητε ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν  Χριστὸς  υἱὸς 
τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ. 

yet these things have been written in order that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God, and in order that while believing you may have life in his name. 

γέγραπται: PeftPI 3p, γράφω, 1) to write, with reference to the form of the letters  1a) to delineate (or form) letters on a tablet, parchment,  paper, or other material

πιστεύ[ς]ητε: AASubj 2p, πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place  confidence in  1a) of the thing believed

πιστεύοντες: PAPart nmp, πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place  confidence in  1a) of the thing believed

ἔχητε: PASubj 2p, ἔχω, 1) to have, i.e. to hold  1a) to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing, to have  (hold) possession of the mind (refers to alarm, agitating  emotions, etc.), to hold fast keep, to have or comprise or  involve, to regard or consider or hold as 

1. The point of vv.30-31 seem to be building on the comment of v.29. The disciples saw signs and believed, but the readers do not have the signs of Jesus’ hands and side. Still, they can believe because they have these writings. Through them, John’s community can believe as authentically as the disciples and can have life just like the disciples.

2. I think this is the original ending of John’s gospel, with c.21 as a later addition.


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