Re: John 1:3 Who is AUTOU?

From: Rev. Craig R. Harmon (
Date: Fri Sep 19 1997 - 00:59:50 EDT wrote:
> Hello, Charmon:
> The truth is pronouns do not always refer back to the nearest referent. Take
> for example 2 John 7. Surely hOUTOS ESTIN hO PLANOS KAI hO ANTICHRISTOS does
> refer back to IHSOUN CHRISTON. It is a matter of context, and the progression
> of thought as found therein.

Point well taken. Clearly, in the example you cite, John would never
say that Jesus Christ is hO PLANOS and to call Him hO ANTICHRISTOS would
be absurd besides being blasphemy.
>In John 1:1-3 (also 4 and 5) the focus is on hO
> While your observation is an astute one, it seems clear enough that the AUTOU
> of verse three refers back, not to the nearest referent, but to the subject
> of the previous clause, namely, hOUTOS (= hO LOGOS). In verse 3 John is
> highlighting the intermediary role the LOGOS had in creation, which is
> elsewhere attriubted to the prehuman Jesus. (1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:3; Col
> 1:15-17)

Yes, as you say, it does seem clear, however is it not at least
possible, given that punctuation of any kind in our manuscripts is a
relatively late innovation, that John might be making (for example) a
parenthetical statement in verse 3 about the Father's work. You see, I
am uncomfortable with statements like "it seems clear enough..." What
may seem clear enough to me, may not seem clear at all to someone else.
I like to be able to say, "This is the way it is and this is why." Of
course, I understand that that is not always possible with human
languages and scholars may honorably disagree about interpretations in
many cases.

> Hope this helps!
> Greg Stafford
> University of Wisconsin

It is a pleasure to have a forum for such discussion.

AIWN; AMHN. Romans 16:27
But thanks to you as well.

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