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‚ 93
he may channel requests from Z to his principal (14,13; 15,7-8), naturally
at the moment when X is elated (Mt 25,21).
In the nature of the relationship, the instructions can imply some
discretion in the agent (5,22.27). He may deliver a bill of divorce on a
Tuesday rather than a Monday -but the delivery is â€œlegitimateâ€ in either
case (cf. Mishnah, Gitt. VI.3). It is not unreasonable, though unnecessary,
for the agent to disclose the principalâ€™s motives, within which the instructions
have their justification20. Yet his disclosures must not deviate from his
instructions, e.g. he cannot make a divorce conditional when it is irrevoc-
able. He must not place his principalâ€™s reputation at risk (7,18).
Assume Z is satisfied that X exists (though invisible: 7,l8; 8,19!), that
he is credit-worthy, and that Y is indeed his agent (10,14). All Y does
within his instructions is â€œlegitimateâ€ (qayyÄm)21. â€œLegitimateâ€ means
binding at law â€“not merely veridical, though any message may be factually
true (8,46). The obvious Greek equivalent is Îºá½»ÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚22, rather than Ï€Î¹ÏƒÏ„á½¹Ï‚
(â€œreliableâ€), which fits a person better than an act. Îšá½»ÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚ occurs in
relevant literature (Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich, s.v. Îºá½»ÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚ I), but it can be
misleading, having â€œprincipalâ€, â€œdominantâ€ as alternative meanings.
I revert to the principal-agent relationship, which, at its best, produces
gratification for the former (8,29; 10,17; 14,23). Typically it is personal.
An obvious choice for agent is the principalâ€™s son (3,l8): it is assumed his
interests (Mt 21,37) coincide more or less with his fatherâ€™s (3,35)23. As to
their testimonies, we shall revert to them. Meanwhile the principal may
entrust large and awkward transactions to his agent (Lk 19,13). X may
send out more than one Y, as Jesus does, sub-agency being evidenced in
Jewry24. Xâ€™s intention is always the master of the transaction(s) (l3,l6; cf.
Mishnah, Ter. IV.4) though Z may not know exactly who and where he
is25. The agent has no initiative26, and no personal authority (6,38). It must
have been common for capitalists, especially females, to operate behind
a curtain. Agents attend for instructions (9,29) and report personally on
the completion of their assignments (Mt 25,19; Lk 19,15). X may have
The agent is presumed to know and be governed by bis principalâ€™s advantage. Bab.
Talm., B.B. 69b; Ket. 99b; Maimonides, op. cit., XII. IV. i, 2. Aram. Å¡alÃ®hÃ»tÄâ€™ can amount to
the principalâ€™s intention.
Cf. Jn 4,34; 6,39, 10,18. The â€œworksâ€ are his credentials; 5,14.36;9,3-4; 10,37.
Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. ÎºÏÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚ 11.2. Plato, Leg. 926D (Î´á½¹Î³Î¼Î±Ï„Î±); Theaet. 179B
(Î´á½¹Î¾Î±Ï‚). Lysias l8.15 (ÏƒÏ…Î½Î¸Î®ÎºÎ±Ï‚). P. Eleph. 1.14.
Mt 21,38 â€“a dangerous assumption.
Jn 4,38; 13,10; 17,18; 20,21 (cf. Bab. Talm., Qidd. 41a).
Mt 25,l4,15d; Mk 13,34; Lk 19,12, Jn 8,19 ( Î Î¿á¿¦; â€“a reasonable question).
Jn 5,30; 7,17-18.28; 8,28.42; 14,10.