τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

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τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by jeidsath » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:31 am

Background usage

The phrase "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί" occurs a number of times in the Septuagint: Judges 11:12, 3Kings 17:18, 4Kings 3:13, 2Chronicles 35:21.

The NRSV translates the Hebrew of these verses as "What is there between you and me?", "What have you against me?", "What have I to do with you?", "What have I to do with you?". Someone knowledgable in Hebrew will have to comment on that, since I can't say anything else about it.

The related phrase "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ ὑμῖν" occurs at 2Kings 16:10, 2Kings 19:23, where the NRSV translates the Hebrew as "What have I to do with you?" in both places.

In the New Testament, the phrase "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί" is used at Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28, and John 2:4. The variant from "τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί" is used at Mark 1:24, Matthew 8:29, and Luke 4:34.

Achilles Tatius 6.12.3 has "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ Θερσάνδρῳ κοινόν;" The Acts of Andrew may have contained a similar phrase (v. 18), and is traditionally by Tatius, who the Suda claims became a Christian and a Bishop. (!!)

John 2:4

Of the New Testament usages, the odd one out is John 2:4. The others are all in the mouths of demons, but here it is Jesus himself, saying something rather odd to his mother:
καὶ ὑστερήσαντος οἴνου λέγει ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί γύναι οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις ὅ τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε
The LSJ gives examples of γύναι as a respectful address "as a term of respect or affection, mistress, lady, E.Med.290, Theoc.15.12, etc." But τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, if it means the same thing as it does everywhere else is very strange. It's a strange thing to say to Mary and her reaction makes no sense.

I think the explanation is that we've locked ourselves a little to slavishly to a single use of this phrase. The New Testament usage is basically the same context every time, and the Septuagint isn't much better. The above isn't really a varied set of examples at all. It's almost a single data point.

If we're just willing to read this phrase as Greek, it becomes easy to see what is going on. John is using substantially the same relation between τί and the dative as the idiom elsewhere, but with the difference that his "καί" indicates hendiadys. It's a perfectly normal modification of a phrase. Jesus is saying "What is it to you and me?", ie. "that's not a problem for you and me." Remembering that his "hour" is one suffering and deprivation -- not glory and miracles -- makes the rest straightforward. Jesus is actually affirming to her that he is going to act to take care of things, just as Mary's reply following seems to imply.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Hylander » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:01 am

For what it's worth, τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and τί ἐμοὶ καὶ ὑμῖν are literal translations of the Hebrew מַה־לִּ֣י וָלָ֔ךְ and מַה־לִּ֚י וְלָכֶם֙ : "what to-me and-to-you [sing. and plur.]."

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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:18 am

Joel, intriguing, but I do have to point out that nobody else has ever come up with this. You have a phrase common enough in Hebrew, translated fairly consistently throughout the LXX, a document with which it is quite likely that the readers of John (at least many of them) would have been familiar, and which itself arose out of a largely Semitic context.

You say:
If we're just willing to read this phrase as Greek, it becomes easy to see what is going on. John is using substantially the same relation between τί and the dative as the idiom elsewhere, but with the difference that his "καί" indicates hendiadys.
Just willing to read the phrase as Greek? Well, how does that help? Can you parallel the phrase elsewhere outside of a Semitic context with the meaning that you want? And a hendiadys? I'm not even sure how to take that here. Essentially a hendiadys shows the relationship of one noun to another adjectivally so that the two together form one concept. How does that work here? I also have trouble seeing the logic behind your conclusion that it means "I'm going to take care of this."

NET wrote:8 tn Grk “Woman, what to me and to you?” (an idiom). The phrase τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι (ti emoi kai soi, gunai) is Semitic in origin. The equivalent Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). Option (1) implies hostility, while option (2) implies merely disengagement. Mere disengagement is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context (although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary, such a rebuke is unlikely).
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Jn 2:4). Biblical Studies Press.

I think the latter suggestion in the NET note above explains Mary's response adequately.
Last edited by Barry Hofstetter on Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by jeidsath » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:39 am

Did John know Hebrew? Was he well-read in Septuagint Greek? Was he familiar with the other gospels as we have them?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions. Nobody does really. So it may be that the fact that this Greek phrase is also used to translate a Hebrew biblical phrase, does not dictate how we need to read John's usage of it.
I also have trouble seen the logic behind your conclusion that it means "I'm going to take care of this."
One way to take the Greek in John 2:4 is literally "what is it to you and me?" Ie., "what does it matter to us." Ie., "no big deal."

"It's not a worry for us, Mother. It's not the time for me to suffer yet." This has the advantage of actually making sense of the narrative.

***

Also, here's a proverb quoted by Lucian, by the way, that makes me think that "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί" isn't entirely semitic: “Τί γὰρ κοινόν,” φασί, “λύρᾳ καὶ ὄνῳ;” (On Salaried Posts in Great Houses). Compare Tatius above.

***

The NET explanation is bad. Disengagement doesn't make sense. Mary's statement to the servants implies that she thinks her son is going to do something and is in fact engaged.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:27 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:39 am
Did John know Hebrew? Was he well-read in Septuagint Greek? Was he familiar with the other gospels as we have them?

I don't know the answer to any of those questions. Nobody does really. So it may be that the fact that this Greek phrase is also used to translate a Hebrew biblical phrase, does not dictate how we need to read John's usage of it.
That gets into questions of authorship and dating, but I will say that the author has constant allusions to passages in the Tanakh showing a thorough awareness of it. He needed to have gotten that knowledge through reading some version of the text, and we know that he knew Greek, so what we now call the LXX is a good candidate. I'd also argue from verses such as 8:58 that he had at least some idea of the Hebrew.
Barry wrote:I also have trouble seen the logic behind your conclusion that it means "I'm going to take care of this."
jeidsath wrote:One way to take the Greek in John 2:4 is literally "what is it to you and me?" Ie., "what does it matter to us." Ie., "no big deal."

"It's not a worry for us, Mother. It's not the time for me to suffer yet." This has the advantage of actually making sense of the narrative.
So the issue here is that the standard ways of reading the idiom don't jive with your sense of the context, and you are looking for a resolution. The problem is that literally no one in the history of interpretation seems to have seen it that way, and that includes ECF's who would have had a good sense of Greek.

***
jedsaith wrote:Also, here's a proverb quoted by Lucian, by the way, that makes me think that "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί" isn't entirely semitic: “Τί γὰρ κοινόν,” φασί, “λύρᾳ καὶ ὄνῳ;” (On Salaried Posts in Great Houses). Compare Tatius above.
Not really parallel. Both citations have κοινόν, which explains the dative. What you really need is the expression itself or something close to it in the sense you want.

***
jedsaith wrote:The NET explanation is bad. Disengagement doesn't make sense. Mary's statement to the servants implies that she thinks her son is going to do something and is in fact engaged.
That get's us into the broader interpretation of the text, and others have supplied explanations equally speculative to yours, but which keep the usual meaning(s) of the idiom intact.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by jeidsath » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:49 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:27 pm
The problem is that literally no one in the history of interpretation seems to have seen it that way, and that includes ECF's who would have had a good sense of Greek.
I don't think this argument is true. Here is Pseudo-Justin making exactly the same point -- nearly at the beginning of our history of interpretation -- in Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos (ascribed to Diodorus of Tarsus by Harnack):
Τὸ Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ γύναι; οὐ πρὸς ἐπίπληξιν εἴρηται τῇ μητρὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ σωτῆρος, ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἔνδειξιν τοῦ μὴ ἡμᾶς, φησίν, εἶναι τοὺς ἀναδεδεγμένους τοῦ ἐν τῷ γάμῳ ἀναλισκομένου οἴνου τὴν φροντίδα· ὅμως ἐκ πολλῆς ἀγάπης, εἰ θέλεις, ἵνα μὴ λείψῃ αὐτοῖς οἶνος, εἰπὲ τοῖς ὑπηρέταις ἵνα ποιήσωσιν ἃ λέγω αὐτοῖς, καὶ βλέπεις ὅτι οὐ μὴ λείψει αὐτοῖς οἶνος· ὅπερ καὶ γέγονεν.
Clearly, Pseudo-Justin is arguing for reading it as "What concern is that of ours?" (And I notice that he likely has a better explanation of its narrative purpose than I gave.)

Regardless, I wouldn't accept the idea that "if it's not in the Fathers it's not worth discussing." If you were going to formulate a rule like that, a better one might start out with "if a German didn't write a thesis on it in the 19th century..." Both are examples of the same sort of thinking, and not worth entertaining. Even if we did accept such a rule, it would be impossible to apply, as very little of the Fathers has come down to us in full, and very few people are familiar with everything that has (case in point).
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:15 am

jeidsath wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:49 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:27 pm
The problem is that literally no one in the history of interpretation seems to have seen it that way, and that includes ECF's who would have had a good sense of Greek.
I don't think this argument is true. Here is Pseudo-Justin making exactly the same point -- nearly at the beginning of our history of interpretation -- in Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos (ascribed to Diodorus of Tarsus by Harnack):
Τὸ Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ γύναι; οὐ πρὸς ἐπίπληξιν εἴρηται τῇ μητρὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ σωτῆρος, ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἔνδειξιν τοῦ μὴ ἡμᾶς, φησίν, εἶναι τοὺς ἀναδεδεγμένους τοῦ ἐν τῷ γάμῳ ἀναλισκομένου οἴνου τὴν φροντίδα· ὅμως ἐκ πολλῆς ἀγάπης, εἰ θέλεις, ἵνα μὴ λείψῃ αὐτοῖς οἶνος, εἰπὲ τοῖς ὑπηρέταις ἵνα ποιήσωσιν ἃ λέγω αὐτοῖς, καὶ βλέπεις ὅτι οὐ μὴ λείψει αὐτοῖς οἶνος· ὅπερ καὶ γέγονεν.
Clearly, Pseudo-Justin is arguing for reading it as "What concern is that of ours?" (And I notice that he likely has a better explanation of its narrative purpose than I gave.)

Regardless, I wouldn't accept the idea that "if it's not in the Fathers it's not worth discussing." If you were going to formulate a rule like that, a better one might start out with "if a German didn't write a thesis on it in the 19th century..." Both are examples of the same sort of thinking, and not worth entertaining. Even if we did accept such a rule, it would be impossible to apply, as very little of the Fathers has come down to us in full, and very few people are familiar with everything that has (case in point).
How do you track these things down? :shock: As it is, whenever someone uses the word "clearly" in an argument it usually means that it's not going to be quite so clear to the one in opposition, and so here. I have difficulty seeing how what PJ actually says supports your point. He rejects the "rebuke" interpretation and sees it "as a proof", πρὸς ἔνδειξιν, probably picking up on John's "sign" theology. Could you explain in more detail how you read this?

And I'm not saying that if it's not in the ECF's it's not worth discussing, but simply that if something is not mentioned in the entire history of interpretation, it should give the one coming up with the novel interpretation pause to consider if it's just an over-clever reading of the text.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by jeidsath » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:37 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:15 am
How do you track these things down?
Nothing magical. I searched the TLG for "τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ," starting with the earliest date, and read through the references.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:15 am
Could you explain in more detail how you read this?
Τὸ Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ γύναι; οὐ πρὸς ἐπίπληξιν εἴρηται τῇ μητρὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ σωτῆρος, ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἔνδειξιν τοῦ μὴ ἡμᾶς, φησίν, εἶναι τοὺς ἀναδεδεγμένους τοῦ ἐν τῷ γάμῳ ἀναλισκομένου οἴνου τὴν φροντίδα· ὅμως ἐκ πολλῆς ἀγάπης, εἰ θέλεις, ἵνα μὴ λείψῃ αὐτοῖς οἶνος, εἰπὲ τοῖς ὑπηρέταις ἵνα ποιήσωσιν ἃ λέγω αὐτοῖς, καὶ βλέπεις ὅτι οὐ μὴ λείψει αὐτοῖς οἶνος· ὅπερ καὶ γέγονεν.
Well, I did think that it was clear. My translation:

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ γύναι; -- this was not said by the savior to rebuke his mother, but to mean that "it is not us," he says, "who are the ones tasked with the concern over a wine-shortage at the wedding, yet, out of great love, if you are willing, that the wine might not run out for them, say to the servants that they should do whatever I say to them, and see that the wine will not run out for them." Just as it happened.

I'm going to have to read more of "Answers to the Orthodox." From this very short section, the author seems like a pleasant prose stylist.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:20 pm

That is magic, since I don't have access to the TLG (not sure to what extent the free version works). To paraphrase Clark's law, any technology I don't have might as well be magic... :)

I was thinking a more technical usage of ἔνδειξις, particularly thinking in terms of John's "sign" theology, and that was throwing off my reading of the text. I think you have it right here. So, I retract my statement that nobody in the history of interpretation has come up with the same take on it as you. Perhaps this is indeed how somebody unfamiliar with the Semitic idiom might read the text. I would still like to see it attested elsewhere in a non-Semitic context, but this is still a good find.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Hylander » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:43 pm

I don't have time right now to do a proper post, but there are examples of ti emoi etc. in classical Greek. See LSJ tis.

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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:14 am

Hylander wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:43 pm
I don't have time right now to do a proper post, but there are examples of ti emoi etc. in classical Greek. See LSJ tis.
LSJ wrote:c. τί μοι; τί σοι; what is it to me? to thee? S.Ph.753, etc. w. inf., AP5.178.2 (Mel.); c. gen., τί μοι ἔριδος καὶ ἀρωγῆς; what have I to do with ..? Il.21.360; τί δέ σοι ταῦτα; Ar.Lys.514, cf. Ec.521 (where the answerer repeats the question in indirect form, ὅ τί μοι τοῦτʼ ἔστιν;); ἀλλά δὴ τί τοῦτʼ ἐμοί; Diph.32.18; τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί; what have I to do with thee? LXXJd.11.12, Arr.Epict.2.19.19, Ev.Jo.2.4; τί σοὶ καὶ εἰρήνῃ; LXX4Ki.9.18, cf. Ho.14.9; τί πρὸς σέ; M.Ant.8.44, cf. Ev.Matt.27.4; σοὶ δὲ καὶ τούτοισι τοῖσι πρήγμασι τί ἐστι; what have you to do with these matters? Hdt.5.33; τί τῷ νόμῳ καὶ τῇ βασάνῳ; D.29.36:—folld. by a clause, τί δὲ τιν, εἰ κωτίλαι εἰμές; Theoc.15.89; or with inf., τί γάρ μοι τοὺς ἔχω κρίνειν; 1Ep.Cor.5.12:—v. εἰμί C. III. 2.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (p. 1798). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Interesting that the majority of references are from the LXX and the NT, but the others are certainly worth examining.
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:23 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:27 pm
Barry wrote:I also have trouble seen the logic behind your conclusion that it means "I'm going to take care of this."
jeidsath wrote:One way to take the Greek in John 2:4 is literally "what is it to you and me?" Ie., "what does it matter to us." Ie., "no big deal."

"It's not a worry for us, Mother. It's not the time for me to suffer yet." This has the advantage of actually making sense of the narrative.
So the issue here is that the standard ways of reading the idiom don't jive with your sense of the context, and you are looking for a resolution. The problem is that literally no one in the history of interpretation seems to have seen it that way, and that includes ECF's who would have had a good sense of Greek.
I'm having trouble following this thread... Has something been edited out of Joel's earlier posting here?

In some earlier form of a post, did Joel actually say that his "sense of the context" / "[his] conclusion that ..." was what Barry says he claims?

Without an earlier (perhaps deleted) point by Joel, what I read here is Barry talking to himself (replying in disbelief to his own point he mis-takes Joel as having said), then making the far-reaching (or far-fetched) point about the fathers - a point that was later set straight.

Has anybody got the patience to walk me through this?
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by jeidsath » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:14 pm

I think that my original theory has to be modified. Pseudo-Justin was persuasive to me.

What's happening, I still think, is that this phrase in the Septuagint is not idiom but translationese. It's a literal transliteration from Hebrew, only used in translation and in the highly artificial speech of demons.

John 2:4 isn't patterned after the translationese, and says what it looks like it would say if we did not have the Septuagint and Synoptics to mislead us: "What does this have to do with us? My hour has not yet come." Pseudo-Justin explains the psychology behind this.

If there is a semitic (or just Greek) idiom here, it may not be reflected by the translationese version, and instead only by John 2:4.

The "hour not yet come" further supports Pseudo-Justin's explanation. Jesus is saying that he is not the bridegroom here, though he will be when his time comes (see the various bridegroom parables in the gospels).
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Re: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί and a suggestion for John 2:4

Post by bpk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:30 am

For what it's worth, Epiphanius (4th c. CE), who grew up about 60km southwest of Jerusalem and knew Aramaic and Hebrew to a degree, interprets it as a rebuke:

Epiphanius, Tractatus de numerorum mysteriis, 43.512.31-36
Τρεῖς αἱ κατὰ τῆς Παρθένου τοῦ Μονογενοῦς ἐπιτιμήσεις· Τί ὅτι ἐζητεῖτέ με; οὐκ ᾔδεις ὅτι ἐν τοῖς τοῦ Πατρός μου δεῖ με εἶναι; Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου· τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες οἱ ἀδελφοί μου;

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