[b-greek] Re: EGENETO

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 06:13:55 EDT

At 3:13 AM +0000 6/21/00, B.J. Williamson wrote:
>>The use of EGENETO seems to take on various meanings in translation. My
>>question is mostly concerning its use in John 1:6, EGENETO ANTHRWPOS
>>APESTALMENOS PARA THEOU. Does this infer that John's existence was
>>specific to the purpose of the introduction of the Christ?
>I would be more inclined to see John's specific purpose of introducing
>Christ coming from APESTALMENOS PARA QEOU, rather than EGENETO.
>Perhaps I have overlooked the intent of your question.

EGENETO does indeed serve several functions in Koine Greek, particularly in
the LXX and GNT where it functions to give a Greek equivalent of a
characteristic Hebrew phrase, WaYeHi, "and it was (that) ...", "and it came
to pass (that)..."

It is also true that EGENETO functions as 3d sg. aorist for EIMI, which has
no aorist, so that EGENETO means "came into being" as well as "was born"
whereas HN simply denotes that someone/something "was in existence" at a
referenced point of time in the past.

So far as John 1:6 is concerned, I would say there's an implicit contrast
SARX EGENETO; I think John means to set off John "the Baptist" from the
incarnate Word by (1) signaling his importance as a divinely-sent emissary
while at the same time (2) sharply distinguishing him from Jesus as Word
and Light. As the treatment of John "the Baptist" later in John shows,
there was evidently a sect attributing messianic status to John, and the
evangelist here is anticipating the denial of John's messianic status that
is stated later in chapter 1 by John himself.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I think EGENETO ANQRWPOS may well be
translated "there appeared a man ..." or "a man came into existence ..."
but that I think EGENETO sets up a deliberate comparison and contrast with
EGENETO in the phrase hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO coming very soon afterwards.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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