Re: KAI in 1 Jn 1:3

From: roland milanese (
Date: Wed Sep 10 1997 - 02:42:22 EDT

Dear Paul and Dee,

magandang araw sa inyo

re: 1 John 1:3 KAI hUMIN

KAI = "also" ?
In English, the adverb "also" indicates semantic duplication, but it may
do so in more than one way. For example, the sentence "Mary also had bad
breath" is ambiguous. This sentence implies either (1) that at least one
other person had bad breath, or (2) that Mary's bad breath was not her
only fault.

Translating the KAI in the clause
of 1 John 1:3 with the word "also" either introduces or maintains this
kind of ambiguity, and the ambiguity partly depends on where in the
clause the word "also" is placed. But suppose we translate the clause

          "we are declaring also to you what we have seen and heard"

The word "also" could then be interpreted, without reference to the
immediate context, as implying either (1) at least one other action
involving the same agent and patient and beneficiary, e.g. we are
INFORMING you of what we have seen and heard, and we are ALSO DECLARING
to you what we have seen and heard, or (2) at least one other
beneficiary involving the same agent, action and patient, i.e. we are
declaring to OTHERS what we have seen and heard, and we are ALSO
declaring to YOU what we have seen and heard. The context of 1 John
1:1-4 does not seem to lend any support for either interpretation; i.e.
no other ACTION is specified, nor are other BENEFICIARIES mentioned.

The overall context of the NT accords with the second interpretation in
that if John the apostle is the author, he is elsewhere described as one
of those appointed to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus to the world, and
thus he views the recipients of his letter to be an addition to OTHERS
whom he has witnessed to.

Of course, how we construe the situation leading to 1 John should also
accord. The context of 1 John indicates that the recipients are
Christians whom the writer wishes to strengthen against the assault of
false authorities. Probably they had first heard the gospel from other
reliable sources, but now that their understanding of the gospel was in
danger of becoming distorted, the writer, who is a reliable authority
because he is an eye-witness and an apostle, and who has somehow become
acquainted with the problems facing these Christians, decides to speak
to them as their teacher, exhorting them to stick to the original
message. He has testified to OTHERS; now he ALSO testifies to THEM.

Did this kind of ambiguity also exist for those Greek speakers reading
KAI in the Greek of the NT? I don't know.

Hope this helps,

Roland Milanese

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