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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94 J. Duncan M. Derrett
his doubts, saying, â€œWhat is this I hear of you? (Lk l6,2)â€. That Z may
be unwilling to negotiate through Y with a dubious X is all too likely27.
Alternatively Z may repudiate Yâ€™s credentials and refuse to deal with X
through him. It remains Zâ€™s option, especially if Yâ€™s peculiarities alarm
For Y to protest that he has repeated the â€œwordsâ€ of X verbatim need
not result in his transaction being qayyÄm; he may be truthful but the
communication will be ineffective until the credit-worthiness of X is
established, whereupon Yâ€™s message may be received28. The position is
different when the words of the principal are given due weight. á¼ˆÎ»Î·Î¸á½µÏ‚ in
this context means â€œlegitimateâ€ not in some translatorsâ€™ use of â€œvalidâ€-for
the challenge (3,19) which in this case the message represents is genuine
and deserves a serious response, like Yahwehâ€™s many embassies to Israel29.
In spite of this Jesus does manage to deliver his message (7,26.30-31;
3. The solution: (B) Testimony.
Jesus claims that his message represents what he heard in heaven,
whither he will return (to report)30. Testimony is bÄtÄ“l (â€œvoidâ€) if it is
inadmissible or if the witness who offers testimony is himself disqualified
(pÄsÃ»l). The testimony in either case may be entirely truthful31 but it
is not â€œreceivedâ€ (3,32). The testimony of an eligible (kÄÅ¡Ä“r) witness is
â€œcredibleâ€ only in the sense that the court receives it. The list of ineligible
witnesses is long and often quaint. It leans heavily on Ex 23,1 as its
authority. Ineligibility (paslÃ»t) was evidently conceived as a rough and
ready means of excluding testimony possibly vitiated by taint or bias.
Moreover a kind of snobbism excluded witnesses of very low status. PÄsÃ»l
would include a person so â€œabasedâ€ as publicly to accept alms from the
heathen (Jn 9,8)32. The mentally deranged and apostates33 are excluded.
A seducer of the people (Mt 27,63; Jn 7,12) is ineligible, as also one who
Agents testified about their powers: so Maimonides, Code, XII.IV. ii, 4.5.
Jn 3,11.32; 8.37.40.
Ex 16,28; 2 Sam 24,13; 2Kgs 2,2; Î™s 6,8; Jer 7,25. Lev. H. 22; Gen.R. 50.
Jn 3,13; 5,20; 6,184.108.40.206-51- Where Godâ€™s acts were copied: 5,29; 9,3-4. He is sent to
earth (10,36). The return (to report): 6,62; 7,33; 14,28; 16,10.17.28; 20,17.
Maimonides, XIV.II.x, 1 (â€œEven if the evidence is truth (â€˜emet)).
Maimonides XIV.II. xi, 5. J.D.M. Derrett , â€œDost thou teach us? Jn 9, 34câ€, Downside
Review 116, no. 404 (1998) 183-94. For the potential of Ex 23,1 see Bovati, Re-establishing
Justice, 207, 303 and n. 112.