RE: John 1:1a - in *the* beginning

From: Peter Phillips (
Date: Tue Oct 28 1997 - 03:24:39 EST

The only problem with raising EN ARXH in John 1:1a is that you need to
bring along the whole context of the Prologue. Some have suggested which
beginning this refers to. Clearly, it is a reference to the B'RESHIT BARA
of Genesis 1:1 - the anarthrous use of RE'SHIT here refers to creation
surely - although there is the whole problem of the vast semantic domain of
the RE'SHIT and the similar ROSH nouns.

However, within John 1:1-5 - a study of the use of EINAI and GINESQAI would
seem to suggest that EINAI is used to refer to pre-creation while GINESQAI
is used of post-creation activity. Therefore "the beginning" here is
actually referring to what was before anything else was. I wonder whether
this points to the reason for the anarthrous use of the word - what was
before anything was created? How can you talk of the beginning because
this would suggest that there was something there beforehand. Therefore
John uses the anarthrous ARXH to suggest a time before creation.

I am aware that all this has been raised recently on the list and hope i
haven;t opened up the same discussion all over again.

Pete Phillips


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