Re: John 1:5 - aspect

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Tue Jan 11 2000 - 21:12:14 EST

Steve Long responded;

>>Elizabethan English used "comprehend" in the KJV, and then the primary
>>sense of the word was apparently "grab," "seize." I think that "apprehend"
>>might work the same way now. But I'm not really sure it's possible to
>>capture what appear to be authentic double-entendres in the Greek. What
>>does one do with ANWQEN in John 3:3 EAN MH TIS GENNHQHi ANWQEN ...? How do
>>you say both "again" and "from on high" Can we resort to something like "da
>>capo"? I suspect we can do little more than footnote the version to
>>indicate the possibility or suspicion of a double entendre.
>I don't have a problem adding words to make both meanings clear: 'the
>darkness couldn't understand it or turn it off' (for those of us who grew
>up with light switches). ;-)
> If a koine audience would read a double entendre, we shouldn't deprive the
>english audience just because we don't have an english equivalent.
I think the word "apprehend" might be the better word in this context. The
original question also dealt with the use of the present and the aorist
together. A most interesting use of the concepts of darkness and light also
"The darkness is passing away and the true light alread is shining." I
think that the presents should be understood as they often are when no real
period of time is implied (as in the case of most duratives), simple
discription. I tend to opt for the term descriptive when the use of the
present brings up a simple picture in my mind, i.e., when I read Jn 1:5 a
picture of the sun shining pops in my head. The use of the aorist KATELABEN
with the negative is a common use of the aorist in the NT to say that
something never happens. "The light (personified) shines (or is shining)
and the darkness (also personified) never apprehends it."
I think it is a mistake to make too much of time in either the present or
the aorist.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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