Re: Anarthrous DIKAION in 1 Jn 2:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 14 1997 - 08:10:16 EDT

At 12:13 PM -0500 9/14/97, Paul Zellmer wrote:
>The English translations that we have looked at treat DIKAION to be
>appositional to 'IHSOUN XRISTON, i.e., Jesus Christ the righteous. In
>the language in which we are working, we can either treat this as Jesus
>Christ, the righteous one, or Jesus Christ who is righteous.
>I was a bit surprised to see the anarthrous DIKAION translated as an
>apposition here. My first impression is that this is merely an
>adjectival concept which modifies Jesus Christ. If there had been a
>definite article, I would have then expected the interpretation of the
>English translations. Where have I gone astray, and which of our two
>choices would y'all suggest?

I'm not sure that the English translations are best viewed in terms of how
the translator understood the syntax of the original Greek; it would appear
to me that in this instance, even if they did understand DIKAION as
predicative, they may well have thought that an appositional phrase best
carried over the sense into English. My own inclination would be to
understand DIKAION as a predicate adjective construed most directly with
PARAKLHTON, and to understand IHSOUN CRISTON as in opposition to
PARAKLHTON, although I think an argument could also be made for
understanding IHSOUN CRISTON as the direct object of ECOMEN and PARAKLHTON
PROS TON PATERA as the predicative accusative, in which case I would still
be inclined to take DIKAION as an additional predicate accusative with
PARAKLHTON. Meanings in terms of the two approaches:

        (1) We have an advocate before the Father, (an advocate who is)
righteous, (namely) Jesus Christ.
        (2) We have Jesus Christ as (our) advocate before the Father, (an
advocate who is) righteous.

In my judgment, classical Attic word-order favors (2), but I'm not that
confident that classical word-order would necessarily prevail here, and it
really doesn't make that much difference, in a copulative structure
involving two substantives, which one is considered to be the predicate

>Oh, and while we're in the area, would you think of the KAI at the
>beginning of verse 2 to be a conjunction, or would it be translated as
>"also" or "even" and hence continue on with the adjectival idea?

Here I'd opt for the adverb, "also"--but I don't think I'd say it continues
on with an adjectival idea. Rather I'd say it makes an additional
predication about Jesus Christ, so that KAI AUTOS = Latin IS QUOQUE or IDEM
QUOQUE, depending on whether one understands AUTOS as a simple nominative
pronoun or an intensive pronoun; the KAI would really govern not just AUTOS
but AUTOS ESTIN: "This very one is ALSO a propitiation for our sins ... I
really don't think that it (the KAI AUTOS) links up so much with the
immediately preceding DIKAION as it does logically with the identification
of Jesus Christ as our advocate before the Father.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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