Re: John 1:5

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Fri May 08 1998 - 12:26:10 EDT


I think this is appropriate, so I'll post this final piece. wrote:

> Edgar Foster wrote:
> > Carl chastises me for the same reason. It seems that 1:5 cannot be
> > read in the light of 1:14. I respectfully disagree. I tend to side
> > with Borchert here, who says that we must keep in mind that 1:1-5
is written from a *post-resurrection* perspective (Cf. John 2:19-22;
20:28-31). It is penned from a victory perspective. John has the
enfleshment of the LOGOS in mind, even as he writes 1:1-5.<
> I utterly agree with this approach, but where it gets tricky is when
we try to interpret what is prior in the text 'in the light of' what
is later. The 'later' unfolds the 'prior', but does not define it,
> and is instead defined BY it, imo. I see the ORDER of introduction of
> terms in John as crucial to its understanding, because this order
> defines the building of the context of meaning. The whole of it
begins EN ARCH [1:1] and ends with the inability of TON KOSMON [21:25]
to contain it [with written paper etc.] The KOSMOS does not define
the ARCH, you see, but just the reverse...<

Some things I won't contest here, because we move away from the text.
But, as far as approach is concerned, I can't see much fault in the
approach suggested by Borchert.

Going back to discourse analysis, I would argue that we must consider
the entire text as discourse to understand the opening chapters of a
particular work. As Westerners, we tend to think that all things move
in a linear fashion. I am not so sure that we can approach the Bible
from this Western perspective. In order to define certain terms, we
may have to analyze the entire work FIRST. To help us better
appreciate John 1:1, it may help if we FIRST consider both 1:18; 17:3;

Likewise, to understand John 1, we need to place ourselves in the
writer's perspective (John 2:19-22). It is imperative that we also
consider not only text discourse, but cultural and linguistic
contetxual factors as well.

Sincerely Yours,

Edgar Foster

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