RE: John 1:1 EN ARQH

From: Peter Phillips (
Date: Wed Mar 18 1998 - 03:06:38 EST

I am getting a little exasperated by all these posts on ARXHI in John 1. I am at a loss as to why geographical terms are being incorporated into this word's semantic domain. Why are we using 'boundary-less', 'open vastess' and all such signifiers.

It seems to me that when approaching John 1.1, we all have our theological hats on. We have decided what we want the text to mean and in good postmodern form, we ignore the text and impose our own reading - I mean we're allowed to aren't we now that the reader is autonomous. So if we want to read ARXHI as though it refers to whatever was before creation - spatial, temporal, atemporal or whatever, then we do - regardless of whether this is a phrase which primarily marks this section of John 1 as being preCreation.

In other words, EN ARXHI is a localizing phrase - it sets the stage, it tells you when the events to be listed next occured.

It seems to me too many people are reading EN BASILEIAI rather than EN ARXHI!

Pete Phillips
New Testament/IT
Cliff College, Sheffield, UK
Tel: 01246 582321, Fax: 01246 583739

From: []
Sent: 17 March 1998 22:48
To: Kyrychenko
Subject: Re: John 1:1 EN ARQH

Kyrychenko wrote:
> George Blaisdell wrote:
> >And yet, in virtually all mss, there is no THi ~ And my suggestive
> >question to anyone reading John is... Why?
> May be because this word being absolute in itself does not require the
> definite article?
> Alexander Kyrychenko

Exactly! Yet I would venture a guess that when taken out of the
context of the opening of the book of John, the THi is found often
with ARXH. The suggestion I raise here is that the absence of the
article may give this word a boundary-less vastness that it could not
have were the THi 'modifying' it.

Thank-you for responding...


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