[b-greek] The use of the relative pronoun in 1 John 1:1

From: Bret A. Hicks (bret@viafamily.com)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 11:46:44 EST

In 1 John 1:1 John uses the relative pronoun hO/ (I am following Carl's
recent convention of using the / to mark the relative pronoun rather than
the definite article). This seems to refer to the "word of life". My
question revolves around the use of this relative pronoun and has tow parts.
    First, why did John use the relative pronoun rather than the definite
article, as he did in John 1:1? I know that there is much discussion over
whether the "word of life" refers to the Gospel, to Christ or to both. Is
the use of the relative important in determining whether the "word of life"
is a Person or a "thing"? I know John is able to use the relative at times
to refer to person rather than thing (he seems to clearly do so in John
4:22, 6:37,39 for example), but how common is this? Is there something that
would mandate the use of the relative here and not in John 1:1?
    Second, why did John use the neuter relative rather than the masculine
(or feminine)? Since the referent appears to "the word of life", why does
he not use the masculine (as LOGOS is masculine) or feminine (since ZWH is
feminine)? Does this have any bearing on the "impersonality" of the
referent, or are the two unrelated?
    Thanks for any help on these questions.

In Christ,

Bret Hicks
Pastor, Bay Ridge Christian Church

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