Re: Jn. 1:1

On Wed, 30 Nov 1994, Gregory Jordan (ENG) wrote:
> The accusative is unsettling in the entire chapter: does the word come 
> back to God?  _ On Eis ton kolpon_ (v. 18) - my abridged L&S says: "in 
> pregnant usage, joined with verbs which express rest, when a previous 
> motion is implied, as, ... pareinai eis topon, to go to and be at a 
> place."  So again, it would be the son coming to the father, in an 
> introduction in which one would expect the son to be coming from the 
> father, not going back to him.
Two thoughts occur to me in response to this; I throw them out without 
having thought them through very thoroughly:
(a) "wn eis ton kolpon" expresses covenant mutual indwelling: throughout 
the gospel John repeatedly expresses, especially with variant forms of 
the verb MENW, the notion of ZWH AIWNIOS as an "abiding" of Father with 
Son, Son with Father, and of both Father and Son with believer(s); 
although this finds expression in several places, the idea comes to full 
expression in the Farewell Discourses. It seems to me that the image EIS 
TON KOLPON EINAI might express that idea very well. Another clue is the 
usage in 13:23 where the beloved disciple is described as "anakeimenos EN 
TWI KOLPWI tou Ihsou." In Luke 16.22 the beggar in Jesus' parable is said 
"hupo twn angelwn apenexthHnai eis ton kolpon Abraam" This sort of links 
up with my second thought.

(b) If going back to the Father is involved here and if it is legitimate 
to equate "wn" here with "parwn" (which makes me uncomfortable), there is 
much in John's gospel that is consistent with that: 3:13 "oudeis 
anabebhken eis ton ouranon ei mh ho ek tou ouranou katabas"; 6:62 "ean oun 
thewrhte ton huion tou anthrwpou anabainonta hopou hn to proteron?"; and 
20:17 "oupw gar anabebhka pros ton patera ... anabainw pros ton patera." 
These are all in reference to the HYPSWSIS of the Son of Man which 
appears to constitute simultaneously the death, resurrection, ascension, 
and parousia. To these could therefore be added 1:51, the first 
announcement of that HYPSWSIS: "you will see ... tous angelous 
anabainontas kai katabainontas epi ton huion tou anthrwpou." So, just 
possibly, we might see this "wn eis ton kolpon tou patros" as expressing 
the completion of the mission of the Logos precisely in the verse 
indicating that the Logos has enabled humanity to envision God. This is 
all speculation on my part, mind you, but it's an interesting thought.

I throw these out as trial balloons, perhaps to be shot down. But at 
least I think they may be worth consideration.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com