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> Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2012 15:32:59 -0800
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: The Cananite Wedding In Flanders Fields
> To: [log in to unmask]

> --- On Sat, 11/17/12, Puey McCleary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > How is one supposed to interpret John 2:4?  What is its intended meaning 
> > and tone?
 
> 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. I
> honestly don't understand how they get the first translation out of
> what is clearly two people joined by a conjunction. I don't see the 
> disjoint in "moi kai soi" / "mihi et tibi", both of which seem to be the
> formal and semantic equivalents of "me and thee".

> In general, I prefer Occam's Razors, for their simplicity. If I look at
> a sentence like the above for ten minutes and can't figure out how they
> got translation #1 (the rebuke) out of it, but translation #2 leaps off
> the page like a jumping spider, well, I'll go with the simple and obvious
> until a very convincing argument to the contrary is made.
 
> > For the Greek we have:
> > Legei aute o Iesous, “Ti emoi kai soi, gunai?  Oupo ekei e ora mou.”
 
> > In the Vulgate:
> > Et dicit ei Jesus : Quid mihi et tibi [est], mulier? Nondum venit hora 
> > mea.

> > It seems that there are two issues.  The first is an
> > interpretation of this verse.  Both of the sentences
> > seem a little puzzling.
 
> It didn't seem that puzzling to me, leastways in reading the Greek or
> Latin. The rebuke translation in English always struck me as odd: was
> Jesus always a crabby old sod, or was he just having a bad day, or was
> he feeling miffed cos his mum was dragging him along to another of his
> mother's friend's daughters' weddings of the "see, dear Jesus, look at
> that girl there! She's so happy! See how happy she's made her mother? When
> are you going to settle down and give me some grandbabies already? Your
> brother James has already got three boys and another one the way, and
> here you are, thirty-two years old and haven't even asked that Mary out
> on a date yet!" sort of thing?

Yeah, going in *totally* cold, I went to the interlinear Greek first and then looked at the multilingual translations and was a bit baffled by the rebuke interpretation. ("Wow, there must be a *whole* lot of pragmatics behind this sentence that scholars of Greek are privy to here that are beyond my ken.") As a narrative, it's also a bit irrationally snippy and certainly unfilial to bark: "Get out of my face, you stupid cow!" ("Whoa, dude, where's this coming from?"). It makes more sense to me that the response would be: "So? A little early for parlor tricks, isn't it, my good woman?" But then, I'm also baffled that, having said that, he then goes ahead and does it without an intervening "Oh no, I couldn't possibly.......oh well, if you insist.......nothing up my sleeve....." in the text. (Maybe Mary's "Do what he says. Run, boil water, tear sheets." (with that knowing thinning of eyelids, slight smile, and nodding that mothers have) bridges that gap?) "No, it's not my time .... Shazam!" ("I'll be at the Sands later this week."). But limited Biblical exposure seems to show a certain degree of "Oh no, I couldn't" before things of import happen.

> > For instance, some of us may have languages which, for social or taboo 
> > reasons, one simply cannot address one’s mother as “woman.”
 
> Fair enough. Obviously, a complication would arise if you left the
> translation a literal one. You would naturally want to choose a culturally
> appropriate term of address, use that, and perhaps make a foot note to the
> effect that the original says "woman", and this is a normal (if barbaric!)
> way of addressing one's mother back on Earth.

The Chinese has Jesus say "Mother" with a parenthetical ("The original text has 'Woman' here.") smack dab in the middle of the sentence.
 
> As for the (rather broad) translation I offered, one generally doesn't
> address one's mother as "woman". Leastways, if one doesn't wish to get his
> backside tanned to within an inch of its life. 

> 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."  
 
> 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, and as such, has the smaller semantic space that Patrick alludes to. I cringe at the thought of calling my mother "Woman", and not just because I'd fear having a wet tea towel catapulted at my face. Which is why I, in a different cultural milieu, find it a little jarring in the text. If γυνή covers a "my good woman" interpretation, as I used above, I could live with that. Slightly patronizing in English, perhaps, but I would have no problem saying to mother, "My dear woman, this is not our concern." ("What, you want I should run out a buy a 36-pack or something?") And *if* I called my mother or any elder female relative "Ma'am" or "Miss XX", there would be a pregnant pause, and perhaps a nervous giggle, before we all launched into an ad hoc performance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" or "Dallas".
> > I wouldn't read Jesus' use of γυνή as distancing himself from his mother 
> > at all.
I think it's the translation into other langs that does that. Or maybe it's John? Somewhere in this process I think I read somewhere that only John doesn't call Mary by name, opting for the periphrastic "Jesus' (or "His") mother", which is a little frosty. 
 
> I think the distancing comes in with the "mihi et tibi" bit, more than the
> "mulier" bit.
 
> > I know a lot of people do, but I just don't see it in the Greek there.
 
> Nor do I, neither in the Latin. I'm sure Ray will concur, but I'd like to
> see what he has to add to this. Also Charlie, if he's reading this.
Yes, I'm looking forward to others opining a bit before I hang out this particular swash of tapestry.
 
> > I think the trickier clause, for me, is the first one, which I want to
> > translate as "what is it to me and you, madam?"  In other words, "what
> > concern is it of ours if they have wine or not?  we're not the hosts!
> > We're guests."  But I'm not sure that's the original intent.
> Makes more sense to me anyway than the alternative.

I quite concur.
> Then I'd do the same with the other sentence: "What is it to thee and to
> me?" 
In the multilingual, most languages there use the "Who the hell are you?" approach. But the Greek interlinear, the Latin, the Russian, and the Czech all seem to take the "What - dative- dative" tack. So until further notice, I'm running with that in Géarthnuns and letting the pragmatic cards fall where they may.

Kou