Home > D. Religion: Received and Interpreted > Another Scribble–John 21:11 & the Second Catch of Fish

Another Scribble–John 21:11 & the Second Catch of Fish

File:Konrad Witz – Petri fiskafänge.jpg

RT has been busy with this and that the last week or so, but, predictably, has been waylaid by the chance at a translation. He offers the following without comment (as his time at the computer lab is running out), but tomorrow will add commentary on the passage.


Morning came. Jesus stood on the margin, but the disciples did not recognize the man as Jesus.

**And he spoke to them: “Pupils: have you found any fish?” They replied, “No.”

**And he said: “Try your net to the right, and see what you find.” So they cast their net over the right side of the boat, and could not haul in, so many were the fish they caught.

**And the one whom Jesus loved said, “It is the Lord!” But when Simon the Rock heard, he put on his fisher’s garment  (he had taken his clothes off to work) and plunged into the sea…”


As RT has pointed out before, the atmosphere in which Jesus’s appearances took place after his death was one of intense grief. His disciples had given up everything to enter the Kingdom of God, and now Jesus was gone. This episode works on many levels: it reminds the reader of the first miraculous catch of fish (reported in Luke 5:1-15) and so underlines the importance of seeking (or seeing) and finding–the first steps in the process of Jesus’ religious training. But more fundamentally, it underscores the depth of Peter’s affection for Jesus even as it takes the reader back to the beginning of Jesus’s mission, when he first called Peter and Andrew to follow him. The intensity of Peter’s joy, which leads him to fling himself boulder-like from the boat, is both funny and deeply poignant. The companionship of teacher and student is renewed, if only briefly. Peter has indeed given up everything–and been rewarded.


Painting: Miraculous Catch of Fish (1444); Konrad Witz, tempera on wood). WikiCmns; Public Domain.

  1. September 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Like the familiarity and social equality of that “Boys”

  2. September 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    simon: i’ve been torn by how to render the Greek “paidia,” the primary meaning of which is “children” or “boys”. But among its secondary meanings are “student” and “pupil.” I chose “pupil” in part as a pun on “eye” or “vision,” one of the story’s themes. But beyond that, though Jesus and his boys or men were certainly comfortable with each other, but this is not a comfortable or ordinary moment. How to communicate the strangeness of the scene while conveying the straightforward quality of the original? “Boys” certainly is more vigorous and maybe just better English… eric

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