Re: John 1:5

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu May 07 1998 - 14:07:07 EDT

At 12:39 PM -0500 5/7/98, Edgar Foster wrote:
>This translation relies on whether you take this as an independent or
>dependent clause. While this may be a valid approach, I would also
>consider context in this matter as well. It is surely determinative in
>this case.
>IMHO, the context gives us no reason to render 1:5 as "has been and
>continues." This implies that John is addressing an eternal conflict
>or that he is taking in both the past and present with his comments.
>The context does not seem to support this conclusion. While it may be
>true that the light both shone and shines, this is not what 1:5 is
>At issue is the enfleshment of the LOGOS and the way in which his
>"own" responded to him (John 1:10-13). Despite the rejection of
>Messiah, the light continues shining and the darkness **still** "has
>not" (aorist) overtaken it. But even prior to the LOGOS becoming
>Since PANTA DI' AUTOU EGENETO, FWS existed PRIOR to the fleshly
>appearance of the LOGOS. The light is an associative aspect of the
>LOGOS' ministry, yet it also preceded the tenting of the LOGOS with
>humans (John 1:3, 4). Therefore, the "shining" of light is an ongoing
>process. The darkness' inability to "overtake" TO FWS is not ongoing,
>however. It HAS failed to KATELABEN.

Well, my understanding of the prologue is that IF we want to assign a WHEN
to orient the tenses in it, that WHEN ought to be either the time of
composition OR the time (each time) it is being read. Let's stick with the
former, if you prefer: I understand it as a statement that is true as John
writes it: "The light continues to shine, and the darkness didn't ever
quench it." I would argue this at length within the framework of John's
gospel as a whole, but I think this is not the time for it. I do think,
however, that the various equations of LOGOS in the prologue are quite
sufficient to allow the implication that the light did not suddenly start
shining at whatever moment you assign to the NOW of FAINEI.
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 OR

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