J. Duncan - M. Derrett, «Jewish Law and Johaninne Vocabulary: a)lhqh&j at Jn 5,31-32; 7,18; 8,13. 17.», Vol. 17 (2004) 89-98
The backgrounds of Jn 6 and 7-8 having been missed, a)lhqh&j is still rendered “true”, whereas it means “legitimate” both in (e4du+t (testimony) and in s# eli+hu+t (agency).
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Jewish Law and Johannine Vocabulary: á¼€Î»Î·Ï‘á½µÏ‚ 91
synonym for â€œcogentâ€, as in â€œvalid passportâ€, whereas we are not think-
ing of cogency but admissibility10. We shall return to the point.
Meanwhile let us turn to Jn 7,l8:
á½ á¼€Ï†á¾¿ á¼‘Î±Ï…Ï„Î¿á¿¦ Î»Î±Î»á¿¶Î½ Ï„á½´Î½ Î´á½¹Î¾Î±Î½ Ï„á½´Î½ á¼°Î´á½·Î±Î½ Î¶Î·Ï„Îµá¿–â€§ á½ Î´á½² Î¶Î·Ï„á¿¶Î½ Ï„á½´Î½ Î´ÏŒÎ¾Î±Î½ Ï„Î¿á¿¦
Ï€ÎÎ¼ÏˆÎ±Î½Ï„Î¿Ï‚ Î±á½Ï„á½¹Î½, oá½—Ï„Î¿Ï‚ á¼€Î»Î·Î¸á½µÏ‚ á¼ÏƒÏ„Î¹Î½...
â€œHe who speaks on his own authority (a frequent point of Johnâ€™s)11
consults his own reputation (i.e. carries responsibility), but he who con-
sults the reputation of his â€œsenderâ€ is true, and unrighteousness is not in
him (Prov.8,7-8)â€. Really? If Y speaks on his own authority may he not
be truthful and free from â€œunrighteousnessâ€? Both X (the sender) and
Y, his messenger, may be lying. Jn 8,14, too, contradicting 5,31 seems
absurd: Îºá¼†Î½ á¼Î³á½¼ Î¼Î±ÏÏ„Ï…Ïá¿¶ Ï€ÎµÏá½¶ á¼Î¼Î±Ï…Ï„Î¿á¿¦, á¼€Î»Î·Î¸á½µÏ‚ á¼ÏƒÏ„Î¹Î½ á¼¡ Î¼Î±ÏÏ„Ï…Ïá½·Î± Î¼Î¿Ï…,
á½…Ï„Î¹ Î¿á¼¶Î´Î± Ï€á½¹Î¸ÎµÎ½ á¼¦Î»Î¸Î¿Î½... â€œEven if I testify about myself, my testimony
is true, for I know from whence I came...â€ The alleged reason does not
establish truth - it can be as deceptive as the testimony itself. The speaker
relies heavily on Jn 8,17; Î´á½»Î¿ á¼€Î½Î¸Ïá½½Ï€Ï‰Î½ á¼¡ Î¼Î±ÏÏ„Ï…Ïá½·Î± á¼€Î»Î·Î¸á½µÏ‚ á¼ÏƒÏ„Î¹Î½, â€œ(In
your law it is written that) the testimony of two witnesses is true.â€ It
says no such thing!. Dt 19,15 says that a matter should be established at
the mouth of two or three witnesses. The word is yÄqÃ»m. The evidence
of a single witness is not â€œestablishedâ€, though it may well be truthful.
Even if ancient laws were predominantly concerned with witnessesâ€™ being
admissible12, credibility was not neglected, for witnesses were examined
by the court, where â€œplotting witnessesâ€, in perfect mutual agreement (cf.
Mk 14,59), may be found to be lying. Conveying a message for X may be
inauspicious for Y, and yet neither may be lying -or both may be: X tells
Y to tell Z that Z is an â€œhairy apeâ€. Y, unsuspecting, loyal to X, conveys
the message. Z, disregarding the inviolability of envoys, punches Y (as
X intended). Z is not an ape, yet Y faithfully discharged his duty. Jesus,
however, complains the â€œJewsâ€ will slaughter the messenger (Jn 7;19-20;
8,28.37), not liking the message (8,37.40), so, ironically, â€œelevatingâ€ him.
His message was not only â€œlegitimateâ€ but also factually true (8,46),
complying with two distinct criteria.
Harvey, Jesus on Trial.
Jn 7,17-18.28; 8,28.42; 14,10.
Harvey, Jesus on Trial.