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John 8:52-53

Context

8:52 Then 1  the Judeans 2  responded, 3  “Now we know you’re possessed by a demon! 4  Both Abraham and the prophets died, and yet 5  you say, ‘If anyone obeys 6  my teaching, 7  he will never experience 8  death.’ 9  8:53 You aren’t greater than our father Abraham who died, are you? 10  And the prophets died too! Who do you claim to be?”

1 tc ‡ Important and early witnesses (Ì66 א B C W Θ 579 it) lack the conjunction here, while other witnesses read οὖν (oun, “therefore”; Ì75 D L Ψ 070 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat). This conjunction occurs in John some 200 times, far more than in any other NT book. Even though the most important Johannine papyrus (Ì75) has the conjunction, the combination of Ì66 א B for the omission is even stronger. Further, the reading seems to be a predictable scribal emendation. In particular, οὖν is frequently used with the plural of εἶπον (eipon, “they said”) in John (in this chapter alone, note vv. 13, 39, 48, 57, and possibly 41). On balance, it is probably best to consider the shorter reading as authentic, even though “Then” is virtually required in translation for English stylistic reasons. NA27 has the conjunction in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.

2 tn Grk “the Jews.” See the note on this term in v. 31. Here, as in vv. 31 and 48, the phrase refers to the Jewish people in Jerusalem (“Judeans”; cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e) who had been listening to Jesus’ teaching in the temple courts (8:20) and had initially believed his claim to be the Messiah (cf. 8:31).

3 tn Grk “said to him.”

4 tn Grk “you have a demon.”

5 tn “Yet” has been supplied to show the contrastive element present in the context.

6 tn Grk “If anyone keeps.”

7 tn Grk “my word.”

8 tn Grk “will never taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).

9 tn Grk “he will never taste of death forever.” The Greek negative here is emphatic.

10 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “are you?”).



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