On 17/11/2012 21:57, Puey McCleary wrote:
> Thank you, Ray!  I look forward to hearing more about
> this verse.

Thanks, Puey    :)

> It seems that there are two issues.  The first is an
> interpretation of this verse.  Both of the sentences seem
> a little puzzling.


> Second, there’s the issue of how to render them into a
> very alien idiom.

Yes, indeed.  Also, I think, there's a question of whether
one wants to make the alien idiom version as close a copy of
John's original, or whether one is just loosely portraying a
similar sort of miracle in an alien setting.

Perhaps at this point I should make it clear that I am using
'John' simply to mean the author, without any implication
about the authorship of the 4th Gospel (i.e. who the 'John'

> For instance, some of us may have languages which, for
> social or taboo reasons, one simply cannot address one’s
>  mother as “woman.” Can she be addressed by her first
> name in one’s language?  Perhaps a child, at any age, can
> only address her as “my-mother.”  Does one have to use
> an honorific when addressing one’s mother, or is one
> expected to be humble about one’s family and to exalt
> someone else’s?

Yes, indeed. I think those are questions that can only be
answered by the creators of particular alien conworlds. I'll
concern myself only with *here.*

I think the easiest thing is to take "What to me and to
you", "Woman"  and "My hour has not yet come" separately
and, for reasons that will become apparent, to take them in
reverse order.

οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου.

  ou-pō  hēk-ei           hē           hōra          mou
not-yet have.come-3SG.PR the.F.NOM.SG hour.F.NOM.SG 1SG.GEN

The verb _hēkein_ = to be present, to have arrived.  That
is, altho it is grammatically a present tense, it has an
"in-built" perfect meaning, thus _hēkei_ = he/she/it has
come [and is present].

Thus the translation is: "My hour has not yet come."

A reading of the 4th Gospel makes it quite clear that what
John understands as Christ's "hour" is his crucifixion and
resurrection.  Obviously this time hasn't come; it has to
wait three years (if we accept John's chronology).

That's the easy bit.  Now let's move on.



On 18/11/2012 08:40, Douglas Koller wrote:
>> Patrick Dunn wrote:
>>> Well, γυνή covers a lot more semantic area than the
>>> English "woman."  It can be used as a term of address
>>> for one's wife, one's female servant, and as a
>>> general term of address for women like "lady."

This is quite true. (For those who don't know Greek, I guess
it should be pointed out that γυνή [gynē] is the nominative,
i.e. the "dictionary form.").

>> I think English "woman" is at home with any of those
>> uses, as well as uses that apply to men...
> Perhaps I'm reading too much into the US's slavery
> legacy, but "woman" to me smacks of servitude and/or
> disdain,

You are.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to rid oneself of later
meanings etc. when reading ancient texts.  But we have to try.

As Patrick has observed above, one might have addressed a
servant girl as "gynai", but it was also found as a term of
respect: "lady" or "Madam".  Indeed, there have been
suggestions that it be translated a "Ma'am" here.

But although it was a polite title for addressing women,
there is no parallel for it being used by a son addressing
his mother.  So why is the word used here?

John records a second occasion where Jesus addressed his
mother as "Woman."  That is in chapter 18, verse 26.  This
is very much when his "hour" has come; he is dying on the
cross and seeing his mother and the 'beloved disciple'
standing by, he says to his mother: "Woman, behold your
son."  In the next verse we read that Jesus says to the
disciple: "Behold your mother."

One can hardly interpret a dying son making provision for
his mother as a rebuke ! So why didn't he address Mary as
"mother"? Why not say: "Mother, behold your son"?

I will go further.  If on both occasions, Jesus was saying
the equivalent of "Ma'am" or "Lady", why didn't John use the
unambiguous Κυρία [kyria]?  Why did he use "woman."

The 4th Gospel begins "in the beginning ...", just as
Genesis begins.  This story of the wedding feast at Cana
comes in the 2nd chapter.  There are echoes of Genesis in
the first two chapters.  For example: besides the opening
words, we the coming of light into darkness and the Spirit
_remaining_ on Jesus at his baptism, just as it moved over
the face of the primeval waters.

John has already made it quite clear in the first chapter
that he considers Jesus to be the _divine_ Messiah. So it
likely IMO that John is making an illusion to Genesis 3:15
where God is reported as saying to the Serpent: "I will make
you enemies of each other, you and the _Woman_, your
offspring and her offspring; he will crush your head ...."
[My emphasis]

The early Christians saw the offspring that would crush the
Serpent's head as a reference to Jesus. Therefore, it has
been suggested that by addressing his mother as "Woman" he
is identifying himself as the promised Messiah and her as
the mother of the Messiah.  Certainly this would be quite in
keeping with the way John saw things in his account of Jesus
addressing Mary when he has "come into his hour" on the
cross.  So why here?

Well, John does stress in verse 11 of chapter 2, that the
change of water to wine at Cana was the _first_ of the signs
(John never calls them 'miracles') that Jesus worked.  At
the beginning of his ministry, Jesus is identifying himself
as the promised Messiah.

How does one translate?  My own opinion is that if one is
producing a translation of the scriptures for *here*, then
one should be as literal as possible as far as the English
language allows.  Once one starts paraphrasing, then you are
putting a subjective view on the matter and putting another
layer between the render and the original text.  For that
reason, I reject translations that have things like "Lady",
"Madam" - the Greek has "Woman."  That IMO is how it should
be translated (add footnotes if one wants).

However, if you're transposing the story to an alien
conworld culture, then it is surely up to you.  You may wish
just to use a polite term of address, or even "mother" - or
you may want a term that has some reference to the
mythology/ religion of that culture.


τἰ ἔμοι καὶ σοί ;

ti   em-oi   kai s-oi ?
what 1SG-DAT and 2SG-DAT

On 17/11/2012 23:32, Padraic Brown wrote:
> There seems to be two basic interpretations. One is the
> "rebuke" -- the "what have I got to do with you"
> translation. The other is the "what me worry?" -- the
> "what's this to us (it ain't our party!)" translation.

Either translation, as I see it, could be taken as a rebuke
or as a casual "What me worry?" thing.  The trouble is the
writers of the New Testament didn't use smileys  ;)

> Take a look at

Wow!  I'm not even going to try and compete with that.  It
is a pretty exhaustive treatment.

A fairly literal translation is: "What is this to me or to you?"

But, however you take these enigmatic words, it is clear
from the context that Mary understands Jesus to indicate
that he will do something about the situation, otherwise
Mary's telling the servants "Do whatever he tells you"
doesn't make sense.

So what's going on?

My own take on it is something like this:

It's not really our problem, is it? But, yes, I am the
Messiah, and I can help others out and give the first of my
divinity while I can before my "hour" comes - and we know
what that will mean.

How that is to be transposed into an alien conculture or,
indeed, how much of it one would want to transpose must be
up to the 'sub-creator' of that conculture.

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.