John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

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David Lim
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John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by David Lim » June 25th, 2014, 1:12 am

[John 1:9] ην το φως το αληθινον ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον

I've always thought that there were only two possibilities:
(1) "το φως το αληθινον ο ..." is the subject of the periphrastic "ην ερχομενον ..."; "the true light which illuminates every man was coming into the world"
(2) "ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" adjectivally modifies "παντα ανθρωπον", and "το φως το αληθινον" is subject of "ην" with predicate as the indefinite relative "ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον"; "the true light was that which illuminates every man who comes into the world"
And I previously thought that (1) was more likely given how it would flow naturally into the next sentence, although (2) could be arguable given John's liking for using similar words in different places in close proximity with different meanings.

But I happened to look at that verse again today and thought of a third possibility:
(3) "το φως το αληθινον" is subject of "ην" with predicate as the indefinite relative "ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον", and "ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" is a circumstantial adverbial modifying "φωτιζει"; "the true light was that which, coming into the world, illuminates every man"

On thinking of that it seemed similar to other occasions of such present tense circumstantial adverbials in John's writing such as 1:48 ("οντα υπο την συκην ειδον σε"), 4:9 ("πως συ ιουδαιος ων παρ εμου πειν αιτεις γυναικος σαμαριτιδος ουσης").

So which do you all think is the most likely, if we make the assumption that John isn't intentionally trying to make an ambiguous sentence? I'm thinking (3) now.

My search turned up only two results:
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =46&t=1461, which didn't clearly identify the grammatical structure, and where there wasn't really a clear consensus
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-arch ... 23803.html, where Carl concluded on (1) but didn't mention (3). Any comments, Carl? :)
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Stephen Hughes
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What gender is this circumstantial adverbial?

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 25th, 2014, 1:38 am

David Lim wrote:But I happened to look at that verse again today and thought of a third possibility:
(3) "το φως το αληθινον" is subject of "ην" with predicate as the indefinite relative "ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον", and "ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" is a circumstantial adverbial modifying "φωτιζει"; "the true light was that which, coming into the world, illuminates every man"
I need help to understand your point.

What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: What gender is this circumstantial adverbial?

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2014, 2:58 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
I take the proposal as construing ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον to agree with the neuter subject ὅ of φωτίζει in the relative clause, which itself has φῶς as the antecedent.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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David Lim
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Re: What gender is this circumstantial adverbial?

Post by David Lim » June 25th, 2014, 3:07 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:But I happened to look at that verse again today and thought of a third possibility:
(3) "το φως το αληθινον" is subject of "ην" with predicate as the indefinite relative "ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον", and "ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" is a circumstantial adverbial modifying "φωτιζει"; "the true light was that which, coming into the world, illuminates every man"
I need help to understand your point.

What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
For (3), I take "ερχομενον" to be nominative neuter in agreement with the nominative neuter indefinite relative pronoun "ο", and adverbially modifying "φωτιζει" in the sense that it is in "coming into the world" that it "illuminates every man". "ερχομενον" does not modify "ο" directly, otherwise it would have to be "το ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον ο φωτιζει ...", which would have a different meaning anyway. My point is that since a circumstantial adverbial is the easiest way to express the notion of "coming into the world" being the circumstances for "illuminating every man", and circumstantial adverbials are rather flexible in their position, it seems that John 1:9 might actually be exactly that. What do you think?
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David Lim
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Re: What gender is this circumstantial adverbial?

Post by David Lim » June 25th, 2014, 3:09 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
I take the proposal as construing ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον to agree with the neuter subject ὅ of φωτίζει in the relative clause, which itself has φῶς as the antecedent.
Precisely, thanks! Sorry I didn't see your reply before I replied to the other Stephen..
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Stephen Hughes
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Impetus from outside the system

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 25th, 2014, 3:36 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
I take the proposal as construing ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον to agree with the neuter subject ὅ of φωτίζει in the relative clause, which itself has φῶς as the antecedent.
That was my first impression too, but that doesn't account for this
David Lim wrote:"ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" is a circumstantial adverbial modifying "φωτιζει"
That suggests he might be taking it something like ἐκλάμπον ἔξωθεν τοῦ κόσμου "(light) shining forth from outside the world", or the image of αὐγάζον ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ "(light) shining forth as the first gleam of brightness from heaven".
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Stephen Hughes
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Collocation? and Adverbial?

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 25th, 2014, 4:16 am

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:But I happened to look at that verse again today and thought of a third possibility:
(3) "το φως το αληθινον" is subject of "ην" with predicate as the indefinite relative "ο φωτιζει παντα ανθρωπον", and "ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον" is a circumstantial adverbial modifying "φωτιζει"; "the true light was that which, coming into the world, illuminates every man"
I need help to understand your point.

What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
For (3), I take "ερχομενον" to be nominative neuter in agreement with the nominative neuter indefinite relative pronoun "ο", and adverbially modifying "φωτιζει" in the sense that it is in "coming into the world" that it "illuminates every man". "ερχομενον" does not modify "ο" directly, otherwise it would have to be "το ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον ο φωτιζει ...", which would have a different meaning anyway. My point is that since a circumstantial adverbial is the easiest way to express the notion of "coming into the world" being the circumstances for "illuminating every man", and circumstantial adverbials are rather flexible in their position, it seems that John 1:9 might actually be exactly that. What do you think?
Bear with my low IQ for a moment...

What I do understand is that you are collocating ἔρχεσθαι with φῶς - while a strange way of conceptualising light (as something that can move, rather than something that makes an effect) - is however a common enough Johannism.

What I don't see is what the sense of adverbal comes from?
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

David Lim
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Re: Collocation? and Adverbial?

Post by David Lim » June 25th, 2014, 4:58 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:For (3), I take "ερχομενον" to be nominative neuter in agreement with the nominative neuter indefinite relative pronoun "ο", and adverbially modifying "φωτιζει" in the sense that it is in "coming into the world" that it "illuminates every man". "ερχομενον" does not modify "ο" directly, otherwise it would have to be "το ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον ο φωτιζει ...", which would have a different meaning anyway. My point is that since a circumstantial adverbial is the easiest way to express the notion of "coming into the world" being the circumstances for "illuminating every man", and circumstantial adverbials are rather flexible in their position, it seems that John 1:9 might actually be exactly that. What do you think?
Bear with my low IQ for a moment...

What I do understand is that you are collocating ἔρχεσθαι with φῶς - while a strange way of conceptualising light (as something that can move, rather than something that makes an effect) - is however a common enough Johannism.

What I don't see is what the sense of adverbal comes from?
I suggested that "ερχομενον ..." describes the situation in which the event described by "φωτιζει ..." occurs, in the same way as "οντα υπο την συκην" in John 1:48 specifies that it was with Nathaniel being under the fig tree that Jesus saw him, and both "συ ιουδαιος ων" and "γυναικος σαμαριτιδος ουσης" in John 4:9 specify the unusual circumstance that it was a Jew requesting to drink from a Samaritan woman. Likewise in John 1:9 my reading would mean specifically that it was in coming into the world that the light illuminates every man, whereas the reading as a periphrastic would simply assert two separate things, firstly that the light illuminates every man, and secondly that the light was coming into the world. So when I said "adverbial" I just meant that, firstly that clause could be omitted without changing the basic meaning of the sentence (which is not true for the other reading), and secondly that it modified the whole phrase (which I consider as headed by the main verb) in the same way an aorist participle is often used for the same purpose, such as "στραφεις δε ο ιησους και θεασαμενος αυτους ακολουθουντας" in John 1:38.

As a side note, concerning the interpretation of "the light coming into the world", I take it as obvious that "the light" in John 1:9 does not refer to just any ordinary light but to the light, whose identity must be figured out from the whole writing. So if it says that "the light comes into the world", then it forms part of the description of this particular light. In short I don't find it strange at all but just metaphorical, though that is of course not the point of the discussion. :)
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Stephen Hughes
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Verb to be - circumstantial adverbial - pointed hat

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 25th, 2014, 5:16 am

David Lim wrote:I suggested that "ερχομενον ..." describes the situation in which the event described by "φωτιζει ..." occurs, in the same way as "οντα υπο την συκην" in John 1:48 specifies that it was with Nathaniel being under the fig tree that Jesus saw him, and both "συ ιουδαιος ων" and "γυναικος σαμαριτιδος ουσης" in John 4:9 specify the unusual circumstance that it was a Jew requesting to drink from a Samaritan woman. Likewise in John 1:9 my reading would mean specifically that it was in coming into the world that the light illuminates every man, whereas the reading as a periphrastic would simply assert two separate things, firstly that the light illuminates every man, and secondly that the light was coming into the world. So when I said "adverbial" I just meant that, firstly that clause could be omitted without changing the basic meaning of the sentence (which is not true for the other reading), and secondly that it modified the whole phrase (which I consider as headed by the main verb)
All those examples are with the verb to be and if one were to break things down into units, the noun and circumstantial adverbial are contiguous. There is a little incongruity between them and John 1:9.
David Lim wrote:in the same way an aorist participle is often used for the same purpose, such as "στραφεις δε ο ιησους και θεασαμενος αυτους ακολουθουντας" in John 1:38.
Let me plead dunce here too. Which one are you referring to?
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: What gender is this circumstantial adverbial?

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2014, 5:40 am

David Lim wrote:What gender do you take ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as? I think you are taking it as neuter, and in that case, Is it neuter agreeing with φῶς or neuter as an adverbial (like the neuter of adjectives)?
For (3), I take "ερχομενον" to be nominative neuter in agreement with the nominative neuter indefinite relative pronoun "ο", and adverbially modifying "φωτιζει" in the sense that it is in "coming into the world" that it "illuminates every man". "ερχομενον" does not modify "ο" directly, otherwise it would have to be "το ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον ο φωτιζει ...", which would have a different meaning anyway. My point is that since a circumstantial adverbial is the easiest way to express the notion of "coming into the world" being the circumstances for "illuminating every man", and circumstantial adverbials are rather flexible in their position, it seems that John 1:9 might actually be exactly that. What do you think?[/quote]
So, something like, "The true light is that which illuminates every person as it comes into the world"?
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Melbourne, Australia

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