In another thread, Revelation Lad made the following comment regarding John 20:17:

The plain reading of Scripture is "I have not ascended to My Father. Go tell My brothers (not disciples) 'I ascend to My Father (God) and to your father (Joseph)...'" emphasis mine

The Greek text of John 20:17 states,

ΙΖʹ λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μή μου ἅπτου οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβέβηκα πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου πορεύου δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου καὶ εἰπὲ αὐτοῖς Ἀναβαίνω πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν TR, 1550

which may be translated as,

17 Jesus says to her, “Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my father, but go to my brothers, and say to them — I ascend to my father and your father, and to my God and your God.”

I don’t have difficulty with the interpretation of «τοὺς ἀδελφούς μου» (“my brothers”) as referring to the same individuals mentioned in Matt. 13:55-56. After all, elsewhere in the Gospel of John, that seems to be the case.1

However, there appears to me, at least, to be a parallelism in the final clause of John 20:28:

(A) τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ (B) πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ (A') θεόν μου καὶ (B') θεὸν ὑμῶν

  • (A) τὸν πατέρα μου = (A') θεόν μου
  • (B) πατέρα ὑμῶν = (B') θεὸν ὑμῶν

Thus, the question at hand. Does «πατέρα ὑμῶν» (“your father”) refer to Joseph, the father of the brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, or to Yahveh, whom the Israelites (Jews) as a nation recognized as their father?2


1 John 21:23 may be the exception, where it seems to refer to the Christian community.

2 cp. Deu. 32:6; Mal. 2:10

  • 3
    what about the parallelism ὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν, doesn't this suggest that πατέρα is coreferential with θεόν? Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 3:09
  • 2
    @C.StirlingBartholomew: Yes, of course, imo.
    – user862
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 3:21
  • 4
    Hi! :) As a student of Greek, this question is interesting for me. I think that grammatically could refer to Joseph, but contextually no. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


No, it can not refer to Joseph. The phrase:

τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν

is an example of the so-called "TSKS" construction (= το-substantive-και-substantive), addressed most famously by the Granville Sharp Rule:

When the copulative και connects two nouns of the same case....if the article ὁ, or any of its cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle...1

Despite the intervening possessive pronouns, John 20:17 fits the criteria for application of the Rule, with all substantives in the accusative case.2 Regardless of what sort of parallelism may or may not be present here (as suggested in the question and comments), there is a syntactical identity between πατήρ μου (= "my father") and θεός μου (= "my God") and πατήρ ὑμῶν (= "your father") and θεός ὑμῶν (= "your God"). All four refer to a single entity: God the Father.

1. Graneville Sharp Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament (Vernor and Hood, 1803), p. 3.

2. In addition, there are no plural or or proper nouns here, the exceptions identified by Sharp. John 20:17 is included in Wallace's list, although it's not one of the theologically laden passages.


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