Re: John 1:5 - aspect

From: Joe A. Friberg (
Date: Tue Jan 11 2000 - 11:12:02 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 9:27 AM

> I'm not sure one can avoid theologizing in offering any
> interpretation of this passage. But yes; I've always understood FAINEI as
> indicating the ongoing, continual shining of the Light (of revelation from
> the cross) and that KATELABEN has a dual potential sense, the primary one
> being that of "quench" with the negative: Darkness didn't succeed in
> snuffing out the light, with at least perhaps a secondary sense of
> KATALAMBANW in the Stoic sense of "apprehend,"grasp intellectually"--in
> which sense I'd understand the aorist to have the sense, "and the Darkness
> has not succeeded at grasping it."

This dual nuance has always fascinated me. It seems that translations
usually go one way or the other on this. But is there a way in translation
to retain the tension of both possible meanings? My only suggestion so far
would be to use 'seize' since this would generally connote hostility, but
might lend itself to the grasping connotation as well.

Further, how would these tenses best be tranlated in English? Here is my
stab at it:

"This light keeps on shining in the darkness, for the darkness could not
seize it."

So what do y'all think?

God Bless!

Joe A. Friberg
Arlington, Texas
MA Linguistics
MA Theology

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