Re: 1 John 5:20 - who is hOUTOS?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Aug 29 1998 - 08:39:21 EDT

I write here not in order to argue the points in contention further but
only for the sake of bringing closure to this discussion. I have excised
the bulk of the prior correspondece cited.

At 1:48 AM -0500 8/29/98, wrote:
>Dear Carl:
>Here are a few additional thoughts in view of your last post:
><<So, to recapitulate, I can see your reading of the relationship of 5:19 and
>5:20 as theoretically plausible, but I can only say think it's a less
>natural way of understanding the word-order. I do agree that 2 Jn 7 is
>comparable to 1 Jn 5:20, but I think the construction in Jn 11:4 is quite
>different. Finally, I will confess I agree with you that the grammar alone
>is not sufficient to assure us that IHSOU CRISTOU is the only possible
>antecedent of hOUTOS. And it would indeed seem that our theological slants
>are what incline us to preference of one way of construing the text over
>another. Is that better balanced? Ultimately, it is the grammar we're
>discussing here, not theology, of course. >>
>I appreciate your clarification, Carl, and I respect your view on this matter.
>However, I see nothing more natural about your view. In fact, I believe it is
>less natural in view of what I consider a natural correlation between TON
>significant in that it seems to clearly refer back to TON ALHQINON. Thus, I
>take TWi ALHQINWi in reference to TON ALHQINON, with AUTOU referring back to
>this being, of whom Jesus is the Son.
>Indeed, the grammar is and should be our focus on this forum, but when it
>comes to ambiguous passages, where the grammar is not certain, it sure helps
>to have clear statements of faith that assist us in interpreting semantically
>related passages. -John 17:3.

Well, Greg, I think that we've reached as much rapprochement as is possible
regarding plausible ways of construing the texts in question; we retain
alternative and opposed conceptions of what we deem a "natural" way of
reading 1 Jn 5:19-20, and I think it has become evident that our
inclinations in this regard are reinforced, if not necessarily determined
ab initio, by very different readings of the Johannine literature as a
whole, which is not a subject appropriate for discussion in this forum. I
apologize for my obtuseness in misunderstanding some of the intent of your
grammatical argument, and I thank you for the generally illuminating

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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