Re: John 1:1 EN ARQH

Date: Tue Mar 17 1998 - 12:12:16 EST

Jonathan Robie wrote:

> I do hear this kind of thing said from time to time, but I don't think this
> is a useful approach. First off, the gender of nouns is quite arbitrary in
> Greek, as in many other languages. I do not believe that feminine nouns are
> any more "encompassing" than other nouns, and a given noun almost always
> retains its gender in all usages (one exception seems to be "sheep", and
> I've seen a few others). I think it is a mistake to consider the gender of
> a noun to be meaningful for interpretation.

Hello Jonathan ~

Thank-you for your thoughtful response. I should probably confess
that I was dragged heels first into John in the Greek by God's gentle
hand, and that I found out, in that enterprise, that I had always been
a Christian. So I have great prejudice in favor of John at this point
in my reading of the GNT. That being said, I promise to try to keep
my great passion for John under wraps, and ask that you forgive me
when I fail...

Linguistically speaking, I am sure you are correct in yur assessment
of the significance of Greek noun gender. I would never argue from
that perspective. I would argue from the linguistic perspective,
rampant in John, of ambiguity and metaphor. Granting that this
approach can and often does devolve into a 'deuces wild' Biblical
card game, the whole of John quite simply requires that we do so.
Taking anything in John at face value errs. To translate John into
English kills it. Every translation I have seen either kills the
sense [KJV] or kills the power [most of the more 'literal' attempts]
of this text. [I prefer greatly the KJV because it so wisely kept the
power, albiet at the expense of consistency in translation.] I can do
no better in English with this text than ANY I have seen... Any
serious reading of this book quite literally 'forces' the reader to
read it in the Greek, or to get a huge amount of inner help from the
PARAKLEITOS. [Ideally both!]

So the consequence of this is that I don't believe that John CAN be
translated... It can only be explored...
The fact that ARXH is feminine and without an article is suggestive,
not definitive, obviously. Nevertheless, I would really hesitate to
say that God's gift of this opening is limited to grammatical
denotation, or to say that it COULD cave been written EN H ARXH. Even
if ARXH is translated as 'beginning', it should be capitalized, and
considering it as a particular, ostensive event ['H'] would seem to me
to ascribe human conceptual limits to the Godhead. [And here we
devolve into theological perspectives, which do not belong on this
list, as I understand it...]

> In prepositional phrases the article is often omitted, perhaps because the
> meaning is often definite enough without an article. I see little
> difference in meaning between EN ARCHi and EN THi ARCHi.

And yet, in virtually all mss, there is no THi ~ And my suggestive
question to anyone reading John is... Why?
That question, and many others, do not belong on this forum... I
STILL have ARXH on my back burner...

George Blaisdell

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