Re: John 1:3 Who is AUTOU?

From: lakr (lakr@netcom.com)
Date: Thu Sep 18 1997 - 18:30:08 EDT


Craig said:
>
> I have recently taken good advise that I have read here in the b-greek
> archives, to whit, connected reading of the gnt (whole books, beginning
> to end, in addition to my weekly study of pericopes for sermon
> preparation). I have chosen John as the starting point for my reading,
> beginning with 1,2 and 3 letters of John. I have just begun now with the
> Gospel of John and a question has arisen in my studies that perhaps
> someone here can clear up.
>
> In John 1:3 I read: PANTA DIí AUTOU EGENETO... My question is this: to
> whom does AUTOU refer? Now I think that it refers to hO LOGOS of verses
> 1 and 2. The thing is, the nearest referent (at the end of verse 2) is
> THEON as in hOUTOS HN ... PROS TON THEON. The thing is, why doesnít the
> pronoun AUTOU of verse 3 refer to the noun THEON as the nearest referent
> (as I believe would be the case in English). Is there a definite
> grammatical aspect operating here? Or am I letting my theology interpret
> Scripture (wanting to prove Jesusí divinity and preexistence by showing
> that the Son was active agent of Creation and not a product of the
> Fatherís creative work) rather than allowing valid interpretation to
> define theology?

Craig,

The subject of John 1:1 is hO LOGOS. At John 1:2 John continues
talking about the Logos as the subject as OUTOUS (this one)
still refers to the subject of verse 1. While TON QEON occurs in
closer proximity to AUTOU in verse three, the subject of verse three is still
the Logos. I think that Greek is the same as English here, in that
a subject cannot be found in a prepositional phrase like the PROS TON QEON,
in verse 2. There is nothing in verse 1-3 to indicate that the subject has
changed.

Joh 1
1 EN ARXH HN hO LOGOS KAI hO LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON KAI QEOS HN hO LOGOS.
2 hOUTOS HN EN ARXH PROS TON QEON.
3 PANTA DI AUTOU EGENETO KAI XWRIS AUTOU EGENETO OUDE hEN .
hO GEGONEN 4 EN AUTW ZWH HN KAI H ZWH HN TO FWS TWN ANQRWPWN.
5 KAI TO FWS EN TH SKOTIA FAINEI KAI H SKOTIA AUTO OU KATELABEN.

>
> Now I am convinced that the NT teaches the divinity and preexistence of
> the Son. My question is: is that what is being taught HERE? Any help
> will be greatly appreciated.

In my opinion, John 1:1 starts "in the beginning" (EN ARXH) of the
creation of the physical universe and directly refers to the beginning
at Gen 1:1. Of course, from John 1:1-3 alone this cannot be proven.
However I do not think that I am alone in this belief as my Nestle/Aland
shows a reference to Gen 1:1 at this verse.

There is also a controversy concerning the O GEGONEN at the end
of verse 3. Since there was no punctuation in the Uncial manuscripts
there is either a full stop before or after the O GEGONEN.

This makes a big difference in the interpretation of the text. It
is either :

A. PANTA DI AUTOU EGENETO KAI XWRIS AUTOU EGENETO OUDE EN O GEGONEN .
        EN AUTW ZWH HN KAI H ZWH HN TO FWS TWN ANQRWPWN

B. PANTA DI AUTOU EGENETO KAI XWRIS AUTOU EGENETO OUDE EN .
        O GEGONEN EN AUTW ZWH HN KAI H ZWH HN TO FWS TWN ANQRWPWN

However, there is evidence that the latter reading (B) was the
prefered reading up until the 4th century by the quotations of
the Church Fathers. Thus the committee of the NRSV on this
evidence adopted the B reading and is reflected in my copy of the
Nestle/Aland Greek text.

Also, other factors in the immeadiate context (in my opinion)
speak to the creative activity of the Logos.

        1. The preposition DIA in 'PANTA DI AUTOU' reflects the role
        of the Logos as the instrument of creation, not the architect
        or origin.

        2. If the time period 'EN ARCH' refers to the beginning desribed
        in Ge 1:1, this would further limit the context to the creation
        of the "heavens and earth". I think this option is strengthened
        by the further description of 'O GEGONEN' as 'TO FWS TWN ANQRWPWN'
        thereby describing humankind which is part of what began to be
        created in Gen 1:1.

Having recently memorized the Greek text of John 1:1-18 has left some rather
vivid impressions on me and I am still sorting them out in my mind.
Therefore what I am about to relate must be taken with a grain of salt
especially considering that I am struggling and self taught.

The excersise of memorization caused me to notice how often in the
prologue the subject of a verse was introduced in the later part
of the previous verse. This was a very useful aid in memorization and
I don't think I would have noticed it otherwise.

Therefore I notice that what was EGENETO in John 1:3 is reintroduced
in verse 4 as the subject O GEGONEN. This was in turn H ZWH and
finally at the end of verse 4 TO FWS (TON ANQRWPWN). Finally TO FWS
starts as the subject of verse 5.

Verses 6-8 speak of John the Baptizer, and finish by saying that he was
not the FWS.

Verse 9 starts with FWS as the subject and then talks about it entering
the KOSMOS. The KOSMOS from the last part of verse 9 is mentioned at
the first part of verse 10.

Next, those who 'OU PARELABON' at the end of verse 11 are contrasted by
those who 'ELABON AUTON' at the beginning of verse 12.

These things may or may not be relevent to the interpretation of the
prologue and I invite comment either on of off list. I can say that
noticing this flow greatly increases my pleasure in reading the text !

Sincerely,
Larry Kruper



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