John 2: The Wedding at Kana

IMG_3273

@gamiliel on Instagram

Excerpt from my 2004 translation of John’s gospel, which begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 and 2017 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel begins at Mark 1.

2 1 The third day there was a wedding in Kana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 now Jesus and his disciples were relaxing at the wedding. 3 So when the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother says to him, “We have no wine.” 4 Jesus says to her, “What’s that got to do with me, mother? [lit. ‘what to me and to you, woman?’ Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι;] My hour has not yet come!” [This seems an insolent response to his mother; so she ignores Jesus and] His mother says to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” [Jesus’ response concerning his ‘hour’ could be interpreted as extremely insolent if it is meant as an ironic play on Mary’s expectations of Jesus politically … i.e., the term recalls the Roman meme of political ascension, whereby a politician could rise to certain political offices only once they had a achieved a minimum age, so a politician who ascended to office upon just reaching the minimum age was said to have been elected ‘in his time;’ it’s possible that Jesus is joking about not having met with expectations about his career.]

6 Now there were six stone water jugs there which were stored for the cleansing custom of the Judeans, holding about two or three metretas [one metreta = 9 gallons, so about 18-27 gallons of water]. 7 Jesus says to them, “Draw from them now and serve it to the banquet host; and so they served it. 9 And when the banquet host tasted the water which had become wine, he did not know from where it had come – but the servants knew, the ones who had drawn the water; the banquet host calls the bridegroom 10 and says to him, “All men put out the good wine first and when we are drunk [they serve] the lesser quality; you have saved the good wine until just now [εως αρτι, just now – this is the ‘immediacy’ concept in John’s thought (cf John A 2:9) – that the water became wine at the wedding symbolizes the appearance of Jesus in history, right now, and this nowness emphasizing and dialogizing Jesus’ statement that ‘my time has not yet come.’ Further, it is the ‘good wine,’ the finest quality of ministry. Wine also symbolizes blood, so this is also a foreshadowing of what that ministry implies – blood sacrifice, thereby setting the tone for the character of the Messianic ministry which will be catastrophic by its mysteriousness, for the ‘leader’ of the banquet did not know from where the wine had come. He was ‘blind’ to who Jesus was – but the ‘servants’ weren’t. This is a rich, naturally allegorical story containing tremendous symbolism and what makes it beautiful is its simplicity and elegance.]

11 This first of miracles Jesus performed in Kana of Galilee and they observed his power, and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this, he and his mother and his brothers and his disciples went up into Kapharnaoum and stayed there many days.

13 Then it was near the Passover celebration of the Judeans, so Jesus went up into Jerusalem. 14 And in the temple he found sellers shouting [πωλεω; the verb recalls πωλος,  young fillies or young girls…this is possibly a word play to suggest that prostitution was going on in the temple] and sheep and pigeons noisily shrieking, and turning about he saw the loan sharks reclining about. 15 And with a whip made from rushes he cast them out of the temple with their sheep and shrieking animals; then he took the money of the loan sharks and spilled it out all over the floor, overturning the tables; 16 and to the dealers standing around he said, “From now on you will not make the house of my father a house of trade.”

17 Therefore, his disciples remembered that it had been written:

Zeal for your house consumed me. [Ps 69:9]

18 Then the Judeans answered back and said to him, “What great miracle [σημειον, ‘sign’] have you demonstrated that gives you authority to do these things?” 19 Jesus answered them back and said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it.” 20 The Judeans then said, “This temple was built in thirty-six years and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But that one was talking about the temple of his body. 22 When he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he said these things, and they believed in the writing [i.e., the Psalm above] and in the word which Jesus spoke to them. 23 And when he was in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, many believed in his name when they observed the great miracles [σημεια, ‘signs’] he did.

24 However, Jesus himself did not entrust himself to them because he knows all things 25 and he did not have need of the testimony of any man; for he himself knew what was within men.

IMG_4571

@gamiliel on Instagram

This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Advertisements

Start With John

IMG_7165

@gamiliel on Instagram

This is my 2004 translation of John’s gospel.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 and 2017 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel begins at Mark 1.

<2 Maccabees 2:30: On the Responsibility of the Author:

It is the province of the original author of a history to take possession of the field, to spread himself in discussion, and to inquire closely into particular questions. The man who makes a paraphrase must be allowed to aim at conciseness of expression and to omit a full treatment of the subject matter.

During the first two years following my injury, being pretty much confined to the couch and having a numb right arm, I decided to start journaling by hand in order to stimulate regeneration of the nerves in my arm and hand. I also began translating the New Testament with the intention of creating a translation simply for my own reference. I wanted to make a kind of ‘raw’ translation that would give a sense of the original language in terms of rhythm (or lack of it), style, vocabulary, and the personality of the author, if possible. I should note that even though I studied the German demythologizers…extensively, even under some professors who received their PhD’s in Germany, I do not subscribe entirely to this interpretive philosophy. I have come to the conclusion that, while much of the material in the gospels is taken from a rich oral tradition that arose among the early Christian communities in Asia Minor, and while there is a lot of good evidence for source and redaction theory, I believe that each of the gospels as we have them today was ultimately composed by a single individual author who drew from the memes and social conventions that were emerging in the Greco-Roman Empire. This is part of the basis for my theory that the gospels are novels. Verb tenses are translated as literally as possible, although I felt some artistic license was warranted in terms of idiomatic language, and no effort is made to poeticize or ‘smooth out’ the syntax. I also try to follow the indicated punctuation as closely as possible; so if you find it feels a little ‘rough,’ that is what I was going for. My additions are either enclosed in square brackets, or, in the case of idiomatic, underlying semitic chiastic grammatical structure, where the insertion of some words is ‘understood’ in order for the sentence to make sense, I have added the words in italics. I started with John. Here is chapter one.

According to John

[An ancient hymn]

1 In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with god,
[προς τον θεον, lit. ‘face-to-god’]
and the word was god.
2 This word was in the beginning with god
[προς τον θεον, ‘face-to-god’].
3 All things through him were generated,
and without him nothing was generated.
4 What was generated by him was life,
and the life was the light of humankind.
5 And the light shines in the darkness,
but the darkness is not conscious of it.
9 He was the light of truth,
enlightening all men,
coming into the world.
10 He was in the world,
and the world was generated through him,
but the world did not know him.
11 Unto his own realm he came,
and his own people did not recognize him.
12 But to as many as recognized him,
he gave them power to be born children of god;
that is, to those who believe in his name,
13 not to those born of blood
neither of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man,
but of god born.

14 And the word became flesh
and tented among us;
and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only begotten of the father
full of grace [χαριτος, ‘charm,’ ‘giftedness’] and truth.

6 There came a man, sent by god, named John. 7 This one came to testify testimony concerning the light, to the end that all might believe on account of him. 8 That one was not the light, but he testified concerning the light.

15 John testifies concerning him and has proclaimed, saying, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘There is one coming after me who was generated before me because he preceded me [with the possible connotation of a higher ranking superior based on seniority, i.e. that Jesus was “first,” πρωτός].'” 16 Because from his great wealth we all received, gift upon gift [or ‘good fortune,’ χαριν, traditionally ‘grace’]; 17 the law was given through Moses but victorious favor and truth were born in Jesus the Messiah. 18 No one has seen god ever; it is the only begotten god who was face to face with the father who interpreted that one [the father]. [He is saying that Jesus is the physical ‘interpretation,’ the face, of the invisible god of Genesis, to whom he refers in the poem above.]

19 This is the testimony of John when the Judeans sent priests and Levites [to him, sic] to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he admitted and did not deny but rather admitted that, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 So they asked him, “Who then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “The prophet [Moses] are you?” And he answered, “No.” 22 They said then to him, “Who are you, in order that we might give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say concerning yourself?” 23 He said:

I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way of the lord, [Isa 40:3]

just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

24 So some of the Pharisees were sent 25 and they asked him and said to him, “Why do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet [Moses]?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I am baptizing with water; in the midst of you has stood [έστηκεν, pf, follow p66] one whom you do not know, 27 one who is coming after me, one whom I am not worthy that I should loosen his sandal strap.” 28 These things happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day, John sees Jesus coming toward him and says, “Behold the lamb of god who lifts away the sin of the world. 30 This is the one of whom I said, ‘After me a man is coming who was generated before me because he preceded me [with the possible connotation of a higher ranking superior based on seniority, i.e. that Jesus was “first,” πρωτός].’ 31 And I have never met him, but I came baptizing with water in order that he should be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, saying, “I have seen the spirit descending as a dove from heaven and alighting upon him. 33 And I have never met him before, but the one who sent me to baptize with water, that one said to me, ‘Upon whomever you should see the spirit descending and alighting, this is the one who baptizes with the holy spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have testified that this one is the son of god.”

35 The next day, again, John and two of his disciples were standing there when John sees Jesus walking about and says, “Behold the lamb of god.” 37 And the two disciples heard him speaking and they listened to Jesus. 38 And Jesus, turning and seeing them listening, says to them, “What are you looking for?” And they said to him, “Rabbi, which is to say, being interpreted, ‘teacher,’ where are you staying?” 39 He says to them, “Come and see.” They went and saw where he lived and they stayed with him that day; it was the tenth hour.

40 Now it was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, one of the two who heard about John and followed him, 41 who first finds his brother Simon and says to him, “We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, ‘Christ’.” 42 He led him to Jesus. When Jesus saw him he said, “You are Simon, son of John [follow p66, 75]; you will be called Kephas [transliteration of Aramaic], which means Petros [Greek, ‘the rock’].”

43 The next day he intended to go out into Galilee, and he finds Philip. And Jesus says to him, “Follow me.” [This is a typically prophetic thing to do – Elijah calls Elisha in a similar way.] 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaïda, from the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip finds Nathaniel and says to him, “What Moses wrote in the law and the prophets we have seen, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 And Nathaniel said to him, “Is it possible for anything good to come from Nazareth?” Philip says to him, “Come and see.”

47 When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him, he says about him, “Behold, truly an Israelite in whom there is no crafty deceit.” [δολος: ‘properly a bait for fish: then a piece of deceit, any cunning contrivance: craft, cunning, treachery…‘ Liddell and Scott.] 48 Nathaniel says to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, while under the fig tree I saw you.” 49 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the son of god, you are the King of Israel.” [One gets a sense of sarcasm on the parts of both Jesus and Nathaniel. The Greek word for fig tree, συκῆ, is a word play on the homonym, ψυχή ‘life, soul, psyche’ and also the Hebrew word ‘sukkah,’ ‘tabernacle’ …there is a playfulness here between Jesus and Nathaniel, a gentle provocation. The word play seems in one sense to amplify the notion from the song, above, that Jesus ‘tented’ among us.] 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “You believe because I said to you that I saw you underneath the fig tree? Greater things than that will you see.” 51 And he says to him, “Listen carefully, you will see heaven opened up and the angels of god ascending and descending towards the son of man.” [Jesus is referring to the story of Jacob’s Ladder, a popular meme, and specifically, to the trajectory of the story through the pseudepigraphic Ladder of Jacob, in which the divine presence is identified with Jacob/Israel. This story introduces the Johannine assertion that it is not Jacob but Jesus upon whom the divine presence resides. This story exhibits the qualities of playful sarcasm and rhetoric in Jesus’ assertion of his identity to the skeptic, Nathaniel.]

IMG_7256

@gamiliel on Instagram

This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.