I've been slowly working my way through the Gospel of John translating from the Greek. Coming to John 7:21-22, I am a bit stumped as to why editors have placed sentence and verse breaks where they did. It reads:

21 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Ἓν ἔργον ἐποίησα καὶ πάντες θαυμάζετε. 22 διὰ τοῦτο Μωϋσῆς δέδωκεν ὑμῖν τὴν περιτομήν [...]

The first part is straightforward: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'One work I have done and [you] all are surprised.

What's messing me up is the δια τουτο. Given that it's in the accusative and that the sentence and verse markers are added later, is it possible that the author intended for it to be understood with the end of verse 21? Meaning that it ought to be translated: "One work I have done and you are all surprised because of this."

Given that editors did not opt for this rendering, I'm assuming there's some grammatical reason that it doesn't work, but I fail to see it... Can anyone enlighten me?

  • I do not think that θαυμάζω can be construed with διὰ.
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 11:36
  • Hmm, good catch! It does appear to be used more either with a direct object or with either εν or επι.
    – anonymous2
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 11:53

2 Answers 2


The notes in Nestle-Aland’s critical edition Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine make it clear (well, if you know that book’s footnote code...) that

  1. it is legitimate to suppose διὰ τοῦτο to be a later insertion, even if they don’t think so, and

  2. some old Greek texts did consider it part of the previous sentence.

The text you are working with was edited by someone more knowledgeable of NT Greek than the copyists of those old texts.

All Latin manuscripts, it seems, consider the corresponding Propterea part of the following sentence.

A previous version of this answer stated that θαυμάζω cannot be constructed with διὰ + acc. As it stood, that statement was wrong.

One could try to distinguish necessary arguments from plain causal adjuncts such as the one cited in the comments, θαυμαζόμενοι δὲ καὶ διὰ τὰς ἄλλας πράξεις (Isoc. 4 59: “they were admired because of their deeds”), but it would be a thorny discussion with highly debatable points at every turn, so I don’t enter it and I simply stand corrected.

  • This is not true; a TLG search (which I can't link to here) finds many examples of θαυμάζω διὰ τοῦτο. That's to be expected, as διὰ τοῦτο is a quasi-adverbial phrase whose use shouldn't depend on the choice of verb.
    – TKR
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 1:54
  • The LSJ entry gives an example from Isocrates: "θαυμαζόμενοι δὲ καὶ διὰ τὰς ἄλλας πράξεις...." The second part of your answer answers the question though. I think the simpler point is to realize that just because a punctuation makes grammatical and even contextual sense doesn't mean it is correct.
    – brianpck
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 3:11
  • @brianpck I corrected my answer.
    – Dario
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 10:09
  • @TKR I corrected my answer.
    – Dario
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 10:10

διὰ τοῦτο in the Greek New Testament always occurs at the beginning of a clause, as can be seen from the results of this search. The τοῦτο can refer either backward, marking the previous clause as the reason for a statement, or forward, announcing that a reason is about to be introduced.


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