Re: 1 Jn 2:7-8, Contradiction?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Sep 25 1997 - 15:10:08 EDT

At 12:10 PM 9/25/97 EDT, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>Did you even read what I said about the difference between 2:7 and 2:8
>being the different meanings or nuances of KAINHN? You certainly gave
>the impression in your answer that you must have glossed right over it.
>I know how easy it is to do that, so I am just asking you to read over
>again what I said regarding BAG's discussion.
>If I am correct, that there are two different meanings of KAINHN being
>used, then the contradiction evaporates. Or, as you say, the riddle has
>been solved.

Yes, I did read it. Suppose we make the same argument in English - it will
become apparant how strange it is. Here are two statements:

1. I am writing you a new commandment.
2. I am not writing you a new commandment.

Now if we use the American Heritage dictionary, we can see that "new" can
have either of these definitions: (1). Having existed or been made for only
a short time; recent, (9). Changed for the better; rejuvenated. If someone
made these two statements without cleary indicating that two different
senses are intended, then attempted to wiggle out of the contradiction by
claiming that he meant #1 in the first sentence, and #9 in the second, I
would find that rather strange. You can't just assign different senses of
the word to remove the contradiction, since the parallelism strongly implies
that the words are being used in the same sense.

Why would John have posed the sentences in these highly parallel forms if he
didn't want the apparent discrepancy to leap out at us? Most forms of
writing are not logical syllogisms, and it makes no more sense to treat
these statements as propositions of a syllogism than it does to insist that
Jesus has a doorknob and hinges because he said "I am the door" in John 10:9.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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