Re: John 1.5 - try again

From: Joe A. Friberg (
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 19:17:08 EST

Re: the EGENETO in v6, I have asserted: "v6 starts a new paragraph with a
new participant introduced, and constitutes a change in genre to narrative.
This is frequently the funciton of EGENETO: to start a new narrative,
introducing new participants, etc."

Seeing EGENETO in this light, I would suggest that it probably is not
extremely relevant to delve deeper into the inner workings of the verb
(lexeme and form) itself. Like etymologies, while the possible inner
nuances of the verb may form a plausible substantiation as to *why* it came
to be used in a particular way, the more important consideration is simply
*how* it is used within the discourse structure of Gk.

Let me offer the following corroborative evidence on the discourse function
of EGENETO. EGENETO is used by Jn at the beginning of 4 additional
narrative paragraphs:
2.1 'And on the third day, there came a wedding in Cana of Galilee'
6.16 'But as evening came, his disciples went down to the lake'
10.19 'Again, there came a schism among the Jews'
10.22 'Then the Feast of Dedication came in Jerusalem'
In each of these, clauses, a new time frame is being established. This is
accomplished by specific time references, or simply by an event (10.19).

This makes 1.6 unique in that it is a new participant that is introduced.
Looking beyond the Johannine material, however, there are abundant examples
of this. Mk 1 provides 3:
1.4 'John came baptizing in the desert...'
1.9 'And in those days it came [about that] Jesus came from Nazareth...'
1.11 'And a voice came from heaven...'
Additional examples abound, but this should suffice for now!

(I have translated the above glosses rather woodenly, using 'came' for
EGENETO throughout; it does work in a good many cases as a valid English
equivalent means of introducing something new to the narrative.)

Note also that the discourse break at Jn 1.6 is marked by asyndeton.

--Just a little more substance to my prior assertion.

God Bless!
Joe A. Friberg

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dale M. Wheeler" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2000 12:21 PM

> EGENETO is a climax (process leading to a conclusion) and by putting it in
> the aorist John is stressing the simple ending act in past time, which is
> why many translations use "appeared" or "came" in John 1:6 (NASB, NIV; the
> imperfect would stress the process part, ie., "A man was
> becoming/appearing/arriving..."). Another possibility is what the NRSV
> NKJV do and simply understand EGENETO as the past time form for EIMI
> appropriate to the "impersonal" situation, ie., "There was a man..."; but
> HN is used that way elsewhere.

This is true--there does seem to be a distinctive use of EGENETO. It would
be interesting to look further at this from the discourse persepctive!

> Personally, because of the following "sent
> by God", I'm more inclined to think that "appeared/came" is more
> appropriate here, which also seems more consistent with the portrayal of
> the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry in the synoptics.
> ***********************************************************************
> Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
> Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
> 8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
> Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-251-6478 E-Mail:
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