From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Feb 20 1998 - 07:09:18 EST
At 9:20 PM -0500 2/15/98, WmHBoyd@aol.com wrote:
>Does the Greek help me know whether it is FWS or PANTA ANQRWPON that is
>ERXOMENON EIS TOV KOSMON in John 1:9?
While the word-order is strained (HN FWS ... ERCOMENON), it seems far
preferable to understand HN ERCOMENON as a periphrastic imperfect than to
attempt to supply a different subject for HN and take ERCOMENON with
ANQRWPON. Here's my reasoning:
(1) Without an article ERCOMENON construed with ANQRWPON ought to be
circumstantial rather than attributive. If attributive it would be more
reasonable to translate it as a relative clause (TON ERCOMENON = "who
comes"); as circumstantial it would have to relate somehow to FWTIZEI
("enlightens when he comes/because he comes/if he comes,etc.").
(2) KJV and others understand the sentence as "That was the true light,
that illuminates every man who comes into the world." But this makes FWS a
predicate noun to a subject left unstated in the Greek though implicit in
the 3d person form of HN. The English version with a demonstrative ("that")
would seem to me to require a much more definite and explicit subject for
(3) The periphrastic imperfect is attested elsewhere in John's gospel (e.g.
3:23 HN DE KAI hO IWANNHS BAPTIZWN EN AINWN EGGUS TOU SALEIM ..., there are
others too, I'm pretty sure).
(4) The wide separation of elements that must be construed together in the
same manner as HN ... ERCOMENON in 1:9 can be found elsewhere at least once
in John just a few verses later in 1:14, where PLHRHS CARITOS KAI ALHQEIAS
can be construed grammatically only with hO LOGOS way back at the beginning
of the verse.
For these reasons then I think that it is better to understand the
structure as a main clause HN TO FWS TO ALHQINON ERCOMENON EIS TON KOSMON
as one interrupted by the parenthetical little relative clause hO FWTIZEI
PANTA ANQRWPON. This seems to me not inconsistent with Johannine idiom and
word-order seen elsewhere in the gospel.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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