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ἀληθῶς in attributive position

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ἀληθῶς in attributive position

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:29 pm

F. W. Danker (BDAG 3rdEd.) under ἀληθῶς cites Pl.Phd. 129e (sic) actually 109e-110a in support of reading GspJn 1:47 ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης as an attributive use of the adverb ἀληθῶς.

Plat. Phaedo 109e-110a
γνῶναι ἂν ὅτι ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθῶς οὐρανὸς καὶ τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς καὶ ἡ ὡς ἀληθῶς γῆ.
… recognize that is the real heaven and the real light and the real earth.

GspJn 1:47 εἶδεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει περὶ αὐτοῦ· ἴδε ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” NRSV

The attributive (adjectival) use of the adverb ἀληθῶς in Plat. Phaedo 109e-110a is unambiguous since ὁ ἀληθῶς οὐρανὸς is parallel with τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς. Guy Cooper 1:50:8:4 calls this “virtually adjectival” but without really losing the adverbial force(??).


In GspJn 1:47, however, there is no article with Ἰσραηλίτης, furthermore ἀληθῶς is used adverbially several times with ἐστιν in GspJn and we never see ἀληθῶς between the article and the substantive in the NT.

John 4:42 τῇ τε γυναικὶ ἔλεγον ὅτι οὐκέτι διὰ τὴν σὴν λαλιὰν πιστεύομεν, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκηκόαμεν καὶ οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου.

John 6:14 Οἱ οὖν ἄνθρωποι ἰδόντες ὃ ἐποίησεν σημεῖον ἔλεγον ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ προφήτης ὁ ἐρχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον.

John 7:26 καὶ ἴδε παρρησίᾳ λαλεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν αὐτῷ λέγουσιν. μήποτε ἀληθῶς ἔγνωσαν οἱ ἄρχοντες ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ χριστός;

John 7:40 Ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου οὖν ἀκούσαντες τῶν λόγων τούτων ἔλεγον· οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ προφήτης·

John 17:8 ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἔδωκάς μοι δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλαβον καὶ ἔγνωσαν ἀληθῶς ὅτι παρὰ σοῦ ἐξῆλθον, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας.

Danker cites John 8:31 as another example but it suffers the same ambiguities as GspJn 1:47. I don’t seen any compelling reason to read it as anything other than an adverb with ἐστε (c.f. D.A. Cason Gospel John Pillar PNTC), but I am open to suggestions.

John 8:31 ἔλεγεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς τοὺς πεπιστευκότας αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίους· ἐὰν ὑμεῖς μείνητε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ, ἀληθῶς μαθηταί μού ἐστε


C. Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: ἀληθῶς in attributive position

Postby jswilkmd » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:58 pm

It would never have dawned on me to take this adverb as an adjective in Jn 1:47. I'm with you. The word is almost certainly an adverb, modifying an implicit copula.

In my translation of John's gospel from my seminary days, I translated it as "Look! Truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit." This would mean something like, "Look! (That fellow there is) truly an Israelite in whom..."
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Re: ἀληθῶς in attributive position

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:17 pm

"Look! (That fellow there is) truly an Israelite in whom..."


This agrees with several of the expositors who read ἀληθῶς as an adverb and then analyze the sentence as if it were a statement like Ναθαναὴλ ἀληθῶς Ἰσραηλίτης ἔστιν, with a second ἔστιν clause ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν. “Nathanael is truly an Israelite. There is no deceit in him.” Most everyone seems to think that the statement is about what sort of Israelite Nathanael might be. If we read the adverb ἀληθῶς as a modifier of the second ἔστιν clause, or if we deny the existence of the first ἔστιν clause, then the “truly” has to do with this Israelite Nathanael being without deceit. The fact the Nathanael is an Israelite not being in focus. Iver Larsen (SIL, east Africa, Denmark) would probably disagree, since the early placement of Ἰσραηλίτης makes it more salient and low salience material is relegated to prepositional phrases and relative clauses, ἐν ᾧ δόλος οὐκ ἔστιν.
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