See also blind (Luke 4:18).
Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)
The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).
For this verse, translators typically select the exclusive form (excluding Jesus).
Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.
Following are a number of back-translations of John 9:40:
- Uma: “Several Parisi people who were there heard the words of Yesus. They said to Yesus: ‘Are you (sing.) saying that we (excl.) also are blind?'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “Some of the Pariseo there heard Isa say this and they said to him, ‘What are you saying there? That we (excl.) are also blind? We (excl.) here can see.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And there were some Pharisees who heard these words, and they said, ‘So our understanding is blinded is it?'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “There were Pharisees where Jesus was who heard what he said, and they said to him, ‘Are you (sing.) maybe meaning to say that we (excl.) are also blind?'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “The Pariseo who were beside them heard this which Jesus said, therefore they asked at once, saying, ‘Surely we (excl.) aren’t included in those whom you mean by those blind ones!'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
- Tenango Otomi: “Some of the Pharisees who were standing there heard what Jesus said. They said, ‘Do you think that also we are blind people?'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)