35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
In Jn.1.35-38 we are told that upon hearing John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus to be the Passover Lamb of God, some of the followers of John went to see Jesus. They followed him to the place where he stayed. One relevant for this type of commentary note is that they addressed him as – “Rabbi,” which John also comments meant Teacher. (vs. 38)
In the Judaism of the Second Temple period the word “Rabbi” did not mean the same thing that it means today. It was not an ordained position within the Jewish community as it is today with specific roles. It simply was used as a title of respect along with the acknowledgement that this person had things to teach others (function of a teacher). So was Jesus a rabbi? “Yes” and “no,” More “no” than “yes.”
Another relevant issue that comes up here has to do translations and explanations. John often provides translations or simple explanations of Hebrew and Aramaic terms or names in Greek. This is normally taken to mean that John had Gentile audience in view that knew little about Judaism, so the author felt a need to explain all these things from the start. For example, when “Passover of the Jews” is mentioned, it is argued that the author simply explains to the Gentiles reading his Gospel that Passover was a Jewish holiday. In other posts we will see that this was not at all the case.
Here are some examples: Sea of Galilee – Sea of Tiberius (6:1; 21:1), Cephas – Peter (1:42), Messiah – Anointed (1:40-41; 4:25), Rabbi – Teacher (1:38), Siloam – Sent (9:7), Rabboni – Teacher (20:16). Strikingly, several times he translates Greek back into Hebrew/Aramaic as well, such as: Skull Hill – Golgotha (19:17) and Stone Pavement – Gabbatha (19:13).
It is important to keep in mind that the Gospel was likely first written to a variety of Israelite groups who were for various reasons opposed to Hoi Ioudaioi (“the Jews” as they called them). While Samaritans may have been one of the major groups to which this gospel was first addressed (remember that early Church engaged in significant mission in Samaria and Samaritans were very large in numbers at the time), there were also others, especially those who are referred to in Rabbinic Jewish literature as the People of the Land.
But let us suppose the unlikely for a moment – that the Samaritans were indeed the sole audience for the book of John. Could this back-and-forth translation still fit? The answer ought to be given in the affirmative. Just as all Jews did not live in Judea, so all Samaritans did not live in Samaria. These expatriate Samaritans, like the Judeans in the Diaspora, may not have had a command of Aramaic or Samaritan Hebrew. They may have needed translation and some limited explanations. Moreover, all local Roman Palestinian groups had their Diaspora representatives. Samaritans were not an exception. These expatriates, but especially their children and grandchildren, had far less exposure to Hebrew and Aramaic than those who remained in their original communities. They may have needed Greek translations for the religious terms used. In fact, just as with any immigrant community, the second and third generations may have had no command of Hebrew or Aramaic at all. The mere existence of the Samaritikon, the Greek Translation of the Samaritan version of Torah, (like the Septuagint Greek version of Torah) argues for such a possibility. There were substantial numbers of Samaritans in the Diaspora; and, perhaps, even in the parts of their thoroughly Hellenized Israelite homeland itself.
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 In addition to these considerations there is the fact that different communities used different terms to signify identical or almost identical concepts. For example, rabboni or rabbi for a religious leader or a teacher may have not been the term that the Samaritans used. Today Samaritans call their “rabbi”-like figure a “hacham” (a wise one) to refer to Jesus. It is conceivable that differences in the religious vocabulary of different audiences would account for the presence of this particular phenomenon of translation in the Gospel of John.