Re: Test of The "Timeless" Aorist

Date: Wed May 06 1998 - 17:03:55 EDT

Richard Lindeman wrote:

> George... this is an excellent example of where I think you are just simply
> mistaken. There is no reason not to translate the augmented aorist in past
> time here. Aorist is not the same as perfect. Complete is not the same as
> Completed. There are a number of possible translations for this verse. But
> let's consider two of them::
> One possibility is to assume that this verse refers to the life of Jesus
> Christ when he was upon earth. In this case we would take FAINEI as a
> historical present and take KATELABEN as resultive in past time. The
> translation would be as follows:
> "The light was shining in the the darkness yet the darkness did not overcome
> it."
> This would then simply be a statement of the fact of Christ's life death and
> resurrection. Darkness did not prevail over Christ. BTW... this is the
> translation I personally favor at the moment for this verse.

Rich ~

You are a much more audacious translator than I will ever be!!

The first phrase in this gospel is EN ARCH, which is a TIME concept,
and as such must be kept in mind throughout the entire text. And as
well, from these two words [EN ARCH], one can take to the bank,
happily or unhappily, the understanding that the writer of this gospel
will be using time/tense verbs with a level of precision and
exactitude that is exceeding fine, more so than in any of the other
gospels, imo. ["Tis why the writing is so simple ~ He does NOT wish
to be misunderstood!!]

I conclude from this consideration that when John uses the present
indicative verb form, that present indictive is EXACTLY what he means,
and for anyone to come along and change it into a past imperfect [was
shining] by playing 'deuces wild' with the 'possible assumptions' of
the meaning of the aorist, which is extraordinally precise in its
meaning, is heroic bravery beyond the call of duty of very brave
men!! And you, my friend, are a far braver man than I will ever be,
and I assure you that I am utterly fearless under fire. [I know,
fearlessness is not bravery, etc.!! :-) ]

> Another possibility is to associate this verse not with the time of Christ's
> life on earth, but rather the entire history of time from its beginning.
> In this case the present FAINEI could be translated with ongoing aspect in
> present time. The aorist KATELABEN might then be translated as a
> constative aorist in past time. It would in effect be saying that the the
> light is now shining, yet in the complete history of time... even from the
> beginning... darkness has never once overpowered the light.

I would very much prefer to let the text develop its own context and
make no presumptions of possibility outside of it whatsoever.

The text simply says:

 "And the Light in the darkness is shining, and the darkness It does
not overcome/comprehend/embrace/receive."

It needs no outside interpretation ~ That will come from the text
itself. All the gospels have their own integrity, and a lot of the
'disputes' arise when we 'cross over' from one gospel to another and
get into arguments. Each must *initially* [at least] be taken on and
in its own terms. And with John's time focus, the tenses must be
especially strictly observed in translation, regardless of out own
preferences for their meaning.
> "The light is shining in the darkness, yet the darkness has not overcome
> it."
> The inference from this latter translation would be a natural one. Since
> darkness has never overcome the light, therefore now we can be confident
> that the light will continue to be victorious.

I love your optimism in this interpretation, but am a-fearin' fer yer
hide, you heroic translator you!! :-)

George Blaisdell

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