Heidegger's Bible Handbook: John: Idiom and Idiomatic Expressions

6. The idiom of the Book, and the sort of speech. The idiomatic expressions of Saint John.



Now, he wrote his Gospel in the Greek Tongue, the most convenient for setting forth the new covenant to all nations, both on account of common understanding, since still in the age of Jerome every Easterner spoke in the Greek language, as he himself speaks in book 2 on the Epistle to the Galatians, where he also relates that in Italy, Gaul, and the rest of the West the Greek Tongue was not unknown:and on account of the convenience of translation into other languages, because the Greek Tongue was more common than all others.Whence Epiphanius, on hæresi 51, related that this Gospel was translated into the Hebrew language:and Chrysostom testifies, Homily 1 on John, that the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persian, Ethiopians, and innumerable other nations translated it into their own tongue. Erasmus advised that he has a certain manner of speaking, dissimilar to others, and almost his own, which cleaves to him as if connected by certain hooks, sometimes woven together from contraries, sometimes from things similar, sometimes from the same things repeated.John’s speech has properties almost its own and excellent, that he often adds expositions, explain obscurities with things more clear:that he repeatedly makes use of antitheses for the sake of illustration and confirmation:that he makes use of numerous repetitions:that he attaches appendices, which the Latins express by the term nempe, of course, that is:that he often puts the antecedent in the place of a relative:that for the sake of evidence and certitude he makes use of the repeated demonstrative expression, this:finally, that he alone calls Christ the λόγον/Logos/Word.The Most Learned Glassius, in his Philologia Sacra,[1]pages 339 and following, sets forth many examples of these idiomatic expressions of Saint John.

[1] Solomon Glassius (1593-1656) was a German Lutheran divine and critic. He was Professor of Divinity at the University of Jena. His Philologia Sacra was a groundbreaking work in Biblical Hebrew.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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