Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of John’

ἐντολὴν καινὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους,
καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους.

Mandatum novum do vobis
ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

The Gospel of St John

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Christ Washing the Feet of His Disciples” (c. 1655)

See maundy

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Matthew 3.1-2

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας [καὶ] λέγων, Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

1) παραγίνεται : dep. pres. 3rd sg., παραγίνομαι, to be at hand; arrive, come
2) κηρύσσων : pres. act. part., nom. sg., κηρύσσω, to cry, proclaim, herald; see κήρυγμα, preaching
3) Μετανοεῖτε : pl. impv., μετανοέω, to change one’s mind, repent
4) ἤγγικεν : 3rd sg., 1 aor./pft, ἐγγίζω, to draw nigh, be at hand

In those days came John the baptist proclaiming in the desert of Judea, [and] saying, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”


There seems, in the Gospel of Matthew, a certain connection between the action of κηρύσσω, preaching/proclaiming, and the at-hand-ness, ἤγγικεν, of theἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven

Mt 4.17
ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Jesus began to proclaim and say, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Mt 10.7
πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
And as you go forth, proclaiming saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

βασιλεία, kingdom, dominion is a term used throughout the breadth of the New Testament. Here specifically we have ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven, a term Matthew uses eighteen times in his composition. This count excludes kingdom of God in 19.24 and 21.31, kingdom of my father in 26.29, Your kingdom in 6.10, or just the kingdom; all of these could be understood to be equivalents theologically speaking.

In Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven is a thesis statement, a message of proclamation, κήρυγμα, against all the kingdoms of the world(4.8). ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is never mentioned in Mark or Luke, both using ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ instead. John, too, opts for the the Kingdom of God, or my kingdom, (Jn 18.36Ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, my kingdom is not of this world)

Postscript: Consider the Book of Daniel:
και εν τοις χρονοις των βασιλεων τουτων στησει ο θεος του ουρανου βασιλειαν αλλην ητις εσται εις τους αιωνας και ου φθαρησεται και αυτη η βασιλεια αλλο εθνος ου μη εαση παταξει δε και αφανισει τας βασιλειας ταυτας και αυτη στησεται εις τον αιωνα (LXX)

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV)


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εἰ οὖν ἐγὼ ἔνιψα ὑμῶν τοὺς πόδας ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ διδάσκαλος, καὶ ὑμεῖς ὀφείλετε ἀλλήλων νίπτειν τοὺς πόδας

si ergo ego lavi vestros pedes Dominus et magister et vos debetis alter alterius lavare pedes

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

St John’s Gospel, Chapter 13

Also, here is last year’s Maundy Thursday portmanteaus.

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As I indicated on a previous post, there are certain items that I would have in my portmanteaus if ever a cataclysm of noble note were to strike our civilization and threaten our humanity; the items in my portmanteaus’ keep might offer something to the people or civilization attempting to emerge from such calamity.

A Rod and Reel

In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.  We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tried his own flies and taught others.  He told us about Christ’s disciples being fisherman, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean

They picked up the gear from the boat.  The old man carried the mast on his shoulder and the boy carried the wooden box with the coiled, hard-braided brown lines, the gaff and the harpoon with its shaft.  The box with the baits was under the stern of the skiff along with the club that was used to subdue the big fish when they were brought alongside.  No one would steal from the old man but it was better to take the sail and the heavy lines home as the dew was bad for them and, though he was quite sure no local people would steal from him, the old man thought that a gaff and a harpoon were needless temptations to leave in a boat.

The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway

Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”  They said to him, “We also will come with you.”  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;  but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”  They answered him, “No.  So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”  So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.

The Gospel of John

My father is a fisherman.  This is not his paid profession, though he has won and placed in many tournaments and with them the spoils of his art and diligence.  He’s fished all his life, since his early days growing up here in Raleigh on a small pond behind his house. He works to provide for the family, but I imagine he will give up his career in medical research and statistics, and give over his many remaining years to searching out and catching the many fish from which his job has kept him.

Throughout my own lifetime, my father has imparted much of his fishing knowledge to me, so that fishing is less about skills and knowledge and more about natural feel and intuition. Still, all his skills and knowledge are the easy reason he catches many more fish than I ever will.

I wonder why my father wasn’t born to a fishing village, to which he would offer his skill and knowledge to keep the village feed and thriving.  Some tribes honor their great warriors or chieftains or even priests; his tribe would honor its champion fishermen. His fisherman guild would inspire the youth of the clan and the surrounding clans to send their young boys and men to learn his near mystical approach to fishing:  one part expertise and knowledge of fishing, one part intuition, perception and insight on fish.

My father attended university to become a veterinarian, and so naturally studied chemistry and zoology.  Mastery of zoology only makes sense for a master fisherman: knowledge of build, feeding and migratory patterns, etc .  I remember in his study, adjacent to my bedroom, posters of fish and shark species, complete with their Latin and Greek nomenclature, and so as I studied these ancient languages, we’d chat about the taxonomy of the fish he had caught many times over.

Leiostomus xanthurus : spot (croaker), my grandmother’s favorite eating fish.

Sciaenops ocellatus : red drum, which my dad would hold up to my ear, so I could hear the near-percussive drumming sound, giving the fish its name.

Rachycentron canadum : cobia, of which my father has recently become a master. In recent years he caught either the first keep-able cobia of the season, or the largest of the tournament.

I’m not sure if my father loves competing in fishing tournaments like other athletes do their respective contests.  Part of me gathers he likes the camaraderie of his fellow fishing friends, and he loves the fishing and the fish, but I do doubt he’s compelled by the trophies that he’s occasionally brought home as spoils (n.b., I do know he likes the fishing gear that is offered as tournament prizes).

A rod and reel would only make sense in my portmanteaus, especially if I were to seek out Shakleford Banks as my place of escape given the cataclysm.  I’m not the champion my father is at fishing techniques, fishing seasons, and fishing spots, not to mention the skills to handle the fish once they are caught, though we’d both concede to my mother and his late mother, my grandmother, as to the cooking of those fish.  With a rod and reel I’d have a possibility of continuing and sustaining life, eating fish, and enjoying their catching.

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As I indicated on a previous post, there are certain items that I would have in my portmanteaus if ever a cataclysm of noble note were to strike our civilization and threaten our humanity; the items in my portmanteaus’ keep might offer something to the people or civilization attempting to emerge from such calamity.

The Greek New Testament

Choosing the Greek New Testament offers and asks perhaps more questions than it may eventually answer, so let us go right ahead and ask them.

  • Why the New Testament, and not a Holy Bible containing both the New and Old Testaments, books that provide the scriptures to a catalog of the Christian faith?
  • Why the Greek New Testament. Don’t you speak English and assume that anyone with whom you rendezvous at Shackleford would most likely speak English and not know Greek, specifically Koine (biblical) Greek?
  • You never scored high than a B on your college Greek classes, and you don’t know all the vocabulary or even grammar that The Greek New Testament contains. If this book is so important to you, why not a version that wouldn’t necessarily without worth if you were to pass.

Great questions.

I spent the morning reading through the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and I found it slowly coming back to me, but not without some difficultly. I haven’t read Greek, biblical or classical for near two years, since trying to teach the course at Broughton. There were a few things I had going for me.

First, the grammar and vocabulary are straight-forward but not easy; the Gospel of Mark is “easy.” The Gospel of John has often been described as the poetical Gospel, and the opening lines seem more like verse than prose.

εν αρχη : In (the) beginning | no article before αρχη. Saying initially sounds a bit casual.

ην ο λογος : there was the word | this word λογος, word, idea, speech, discourse

και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον : and the word was with God | there is an article preceding God, but saying THE God might sound silly.

και θεος ην ο λογος : and God was the word or the word was God | the inversion is a nice poetic turnabout.

There is a lot here.

The New Testament is a primary deposit of faith for the Christian Church.  What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may gave life in his name, or ινα πιστευητε οτι ιησους εστιν ο χριστος ο υιος του θεου και ινα πιστευοντες ζωην εχητε εν τω ονοματι αυτου.

For whatever reason, and I’m sure there is good reason, a majority of the first writers of the Christian tradition wrote in Greek to tell the Jesus story.  In first century Palestine Greek was a common spoken language, most likely along with Aramaic,  and even more so a common written language.  As a good Roman, Paul, whose letters we have, wrote in Greek.  And perhaps written before Paul, many sayings of Jesus, documented in common in Matthew and Luke and attributed to a theoretical document scholars called quelle or Q, were written in Greek.

Did Jesus speak Greek? Maybe. I’d like to think he knew enough to converse, say, at a market (αγορά), and if he did speak with the Roman Centurion (εκατονταρχος), they might have had the conversation in Greek. Surely the conversation with the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate would have been in Greek, though the governor may have had a working vocabulary of Aramaic.

“τι εστιν αληθεια”What is truth? the same αληθεια can be found back in the opening lines of the John’s Gospel.

In reading the Greek, I have to remember not only the vocabulary and the Grammatical breakdown, I have to remember up those earliest days when I was compelled by my Sunday School teachers to memorize certain passages of the scripture.  The Greek requires a heightening of the senses to distinguish and interprets just what Paul, or the Gospel writer demands, just as the priest raises the Gospel, bound in gold and precious materials for the congregation, now standing.

I would keep in my portmanteaus a Greek New Testament, the ancient deposit of the Jesus story in the language in which it was first written.

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Jesus saith to him, He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew him that should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. (13.10-12)

The Gospel of St John

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet, Monreale Cathedral, Sicily


n., Christianity the ceremonial washing of the feet of poor persons in commemoration of Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet

[Middle English from Old French mande from Latin : mandātum novum dō vōbīs, A new commandment give I unto you]

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