Re: John 1:5

From: Richard Lindeman (
Date: Thu May 07 1998 - 21:26:04 EDT

Edgar Krentz wrote:
>But John 1:5 is NOT a temporal clause! Please read the grammar carefully.

Thank you, I stand corrected. You are right! John 1:5 is not a temporal
clause as Smyth would describe it. But the whole paragraph and also the
clause within John 1:5 is so permeated with temporal references that I have
to wonder whether or not it would probably apply anyway.

I suppose that I could have instead tried to make my appeal to Smyth...
paragraph #1885 which describes one use of the present tense as: "Present of
Past and Present Combined. The Present, when accompanied by a definite or
indefinite expression of past time, is used to express an action begun in
the past and continued in the present." But strictly speaking, this
paragraph may not directly apply either. Yet it comes pretty close. I
don't see a definite or indefinite expression of past time accompanying
FAINEI, but the verb is surrounded on all sides by past references and it
makes sense (at least to me) to translate it this way.

I wrote:
>>I am fairly certain that Carl will agree that the *time* of FAINEI in
>>1:5 depends upon whether whether we read this verse as an independent
>>or a dependent clause within the paragraph. In the former case we must
>>translate it with absolute time(present - ongoing). In the latter case we
>>must translate it as relative time(past - ongoing). I read this clause as
>>being strongly dependent and yet at the same time introducing an
This part is correct. As Smyth states it... "The time of an action is
either absolute or relative. Time that is absolutely present, past, or
future is reckoned from the time of the speaker or writer. Time that
relatively present, past, or future in dependent clauses is reckoned from
the time of some verb in the same sentence." Therefore, if John 1:5
contains a dependent clause, then the time of FAINEI *must* be relative

I wrote:
>>I appeal to SMYTH grammar... paragraph #2388 which states that "the time
>>denoted by a temporal clause is not always solely contemporaneous,
>>antecedent, or subsequent to that of the principle clause, but may
>>with the time of the principle clause (before and at the same time, at
>>same time and after, until and after)

This part may be incorrect as John 1:5 really doesn't really contain a
temporal clause as defined by Smyth.

I didn't realize what kind of a can of worms this was going to be. But I am
certainly learning in the process. I think the problem is that the tenses
are defined so many different ways by so many different authors. It isn't
so much that the grammars disagree with each other... but rather that they
use different terminology and so people get confused by it. Ultimately we
are forced to adopt our own sets of terminology to try to understand it.

Rich Lindeman

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