This is Part 2 of looking at the “grumbling Jews” in John 6.
Please read Part 1, where I argue that “Jews” is a mistranslation.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ John 6:41
Ἐγόγγυζον οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι περὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι εἶπεν Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος ὁ καταβὰς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
γογγύζω is to murmur, mutter, grumble, confer secretly…
Here it is the Imperfect Active Indicative of the verb. Far from beginning to murmur, this is an ongoing past action – these are people who complained before and are going to complain again. The word “began” does not occur in the text.
There is also, pretty obviously, in a passage that repeatedly looks back to Moses and the time in the wilderness, allusion to the complaining in that Exodus story:
And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ Exodus 15:24
καὶ διεγόγγυζεν ὁ λαὸς ἐπὶ Μωυσῆν λέγοντες τί πιόμεθα (LXX)
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. Exodus 16:2
διεγόγγυζεν πᾶσα συναγωγὴ υἱῶν Ισραηλ ἐπὶ Μωυσῆν καὶ Ααρων (LXX)
I essentially prepared the above (as part of my lectio) prior to a comment by Kelvin Wright pointing to David Bentley Hart’s translation. So now, here, having prepared this post, is David Bentley Hart’s translation of John 6:41
So the Judaeans murmured about him because he had said, “I am the bread having descended out of heaven”
NB. no sign of “began”. Oh – and no sign of “Jews”.
- Grumbling Jews in John 6 Part 1
- I am the bread of life
- What is it?
- Sexist Exodus
- Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent