Re: John 1:3, hO GEGONEN

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Wed Oct 01 1997 - 08:48:47 EDT

> From: "Paul S. Dixon" <>
> Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 00:13:15 EDT
> Where should the punctuation period go in Jn 1:3, after hO GEGONEN, or
> after OUDE hEN?
> Wescott says, " It would be difficult to find a more complete consent of
> ancient authorites in favor of any reading, than that which supports the
> second punctuation; Without Him was not anything made. That which hath
> been made in Him was life" (Wescott commentary).
> Most modern translations (8 of 10, so far) favor, rather, the former
> punctuation.
> Westcott adds, "The difficulty in either case centres in the use of the
> imperfect ("was life ..." "was the light ...") ... It is indeed by no
> means clear in what sense it can be said: Life was in the Word, and the
> Life [thus spoken of as in the Word] was the Light of men; or again: That
> which hath been made was Life in the Word, and the Life [thus enjoyed by
> creation in the Word] was the Light of men."
> It seems to me the problem Westcott addresses is solved if we take EN
> AUTWi as a dative of means or agency, paralleling the preceding DI' AUTOU
> of v. 3. This would then make excellent sense, "What has come into being
> through him was life, and the life was the light of men." Life, then, is
> life that came into existence at the time of creation, life resulting
> from creation. This life (hH ZWH; anaphoric article), in all its
> glorious form, was the light of men, that is, this life was (and still
> is, FAINEI, v. 5) the natural revelation testifying to all men of God's
> glory (cf Rom 1:19ff).
> I would appreciate feedback on this. Am leaving in the morning and will
> be gone for five days. Will certainly look forward to the responses when
> I return.
> Sincerely,
> Paul Dixon
Two things strike me as a little suspicious about the otherwise
"excellent sense":

1) The idea of an instrumental dative (EN AUTWi) with a person
rather than a thing -- although it's conceivable that things
are, as you say, coming into being _through_ him more as
an instrument than as an agent.

2) The use of hHN rather than ESTIN, in conjunction with the
perfective GEGONEN. The perfective (so I am told) indicates
an effect that continues to the present. If it were to go
with hHN, wouldn't we expect a pluperfect instead?

Jim Vellenga

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