Convertible propositions (John 1:4)

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Convertible propositions (John 1:4)

Postby John Brainard » July 9th, 2012, 10:27 am

John 1:5

τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ

Both Light (φῶς) and darkness (σκοτίᾳ) are articular.

Does the use of the article, in this particular case, indicate some type of equivalence? Can they be converted?

John
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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2012, 10:54 am

You need the verb to be (usually a form of εἰμί) to worry about convertible propositions. The portion you quoted of John 1:5 did not include the verb but a preposition (ἐν), and the verb in the actual text is φαίνει, which means "shines." There's no convertible proposition in John 1:5.
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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby John Brainard » July 9th, 2012, 12:02 pm

I guess my Brain is on overload today. :oops:

I meant to quote John 1:4

καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς

My apologies.

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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 9th, 2012, 1:52 pm

A. T. Robertson thought so:

Robertson, pp.768-769 wrote:In a word, then, when the article occurs with subject (or the subject is a personal pronoun or proper name) and predicate, both are definite, treated as identical, one and the same, and interchangeable. The usage applies to substantives, adjectives and participles indifferently. Cf.. . . ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς (Jo. 1:4), . . ., etc. This list is not exhaustive, but it is sufficient to illustrate the points involved.
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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby John Brainard » July 9th, 2012, 5:10 pm

Thank you so much for that and once again I apologize for the confusion.

So we could translate this as "And the Life was the Light of men".

Would that be correct?

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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby David Lim » July 10th, 2012, 8:29 am

John Brainard wrote:So we could translate this as "And the Life was the Light of men".

Would that be correct?


Yes that is one possible translation, though I can never figure out what exactly this kind of capitalization (of "Life") means. That said, although I agree that the two noun phrases refer to one and the same entity; "the life was the light of men" and "the light of men was the life"; it remains to see what the author means by "the light of men" and how "the life" is supposed to be that. That cannot be answered by the syntax but only by the context.
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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby John Brainard » July 10th, 2012, 9:54 am

David Lim wrote:
John Brainard wrote:So we could translate this as "And the Life was the Light of men".

Would that be correct?


Yes that is one possible translation, though I can never figure out what exactly this kind of capitalization (of "Life") means. That said, although I agree that the two noun phrases refer to one and the same entity; "the life was the light of men" and "the light of men was the life"; it remains to see what the author means by "the light of men" and how "the life" is supposed to be that. That cannot be answered by the syntax but only by the context.



I do not know why I capitalized that term. :D

There are varying opinions on the term "the light of men". I haven't developed one yet. would love to hear your thoughts on it.

By the way, thank you for your response. This text came up in a discussion with another Greeker who is just starting out as well and I was quite sure that it was convertible but I needed to hear it from a more scholarly group. He on the other hand was adamant that it was not convertible.

Hope this post finds you well

Blessing

John
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Re: Convertible propositions

Postby David Lim » July 10th, 2012, 12:06 pm

John Brainard wrote:There are varying opinions on the term "the light of men". I haven't developed one yet. would love to hear your thoughts on it.


Well the context is your best guide. It does say quite clearly how the light came to be the light of men. By illuminating them of course! ;) And later in the same writing you get many more detailed descriptions into which we can't go here. Hope all has been going well with you too. :)
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Re: Convertible propositions (John 1:4)

Postby John Brainard » July 10th, 2012, 1:11 pm

Thank you

My wife could use some prayer. She has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

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Re: Convertible propositions (John 1:4)

Postby Jason Hare » March 22nd, 2013, 5:15 am

It cannot be that ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων is the same as τὸ φῶς ἦν ἡ ζωὴ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. I don't know where this is coming from. It seems to be a mistake on the part of Robertson.

The entire phrases must be interchanged. That is [ἠ ζωὴ] ἦν [τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων] can be interchanged thus: [τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων] ἦν [ἡ ζωή].

I don't see where ἡ ζωὴ τῶν ἀνθρώπων is coming from.

[The location of the party] was [the top of the house].


is not the same as

[The top of the party] was [the location of the house].


All of the modifiers for each phrase must move with the phrase.

[The top of the house] was [the location of the party].


This latter arrangement is the converse of the original.

So also, life was the light of men is convertible to the light of men was life, not to the light was the life of men. That is a mistake, and I don't understand why it keeps getting repeated.

[ Sorry for the slight necropost, but this thread was mentioned in a thread on CARM, and I wanted to say my peace. ;) ]
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