ZWH in John 1:5

From: Pete Phillips (
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 03:24:37 EST

Thanks for all your help on KATELABEN. I'm not sure that a clear favourite
came up - there have been so many different suggestions about the way the
aorist should be taken. Interesting - especially with the side issue of
the multivalency of John's style. I wonder whether the original readers
(whoever that imaginary group might have been/might be) sat up and frowned
- or at least increased the frown they already had after the last few
verses. I can't think that the Prologue was glossed over lightly by the
first Christians.

Anyway, life. It is likely (let's take it for granted rather than go down
the TC line) that the verse division between John 1:3 and 4 puts HO GEGONEN
with verse 4 (references to copious articles and even a monograph
available) to give the following HO GEGONEN EN AUTWI ZWH HN. It seems to
me that this could be taken grammatically in this way:

HO GEGONEN EN AUTWI - noun phrase acting as subject of clause - what has
come to be in him

ZWH - pre-verbal anarthrous qualitative predicate - see
BDF/Wallace/Harner/Colwell etc. although I can't find any commentator who
talks of ZWH as a p.v.a.q.p.

Translation: What has come to be in him had the quality of life, (...that
life was the light of humanity)

This may well reflect/mirror/follow on from the earlier and much more
famous p.v.a.q.p. in John 1:1c

Any comments?

Pete Phillips

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