John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

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moon jung
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Re: John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by moon jung » June 29th, 2014, 7:52 am

Carl, let me ask some questions about your 16 old rendering of this verse.

One of the reasons that I did not adopt this interpretation is that
the statement "The true light was coming to the world" sounds odd
in the flow of the narrative so far. It does not given any new information.
We know that he was in the world from verse 1.5.

Perhaps, I do not get the point of this "past progressive" description of his coming
into the world.

Moon Jung
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David Lim
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Re: John 1:9

Post by David Lim » June 29th, 2014, 9:46 am

cwconrad wrote:I am reluctant to say anything here, but I have viewed the ongoing thread and thought about the matter. David cited my post of 1998 (16 years ago!) and asked my opinion. Much of my thinking on many matters has changed over those years, but upon consideration, I do still think that the simplest and best solution is to understand ἦν ... ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον as a periphrastic verbal construction, the predicate here; τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀλήθινον is the subject, and ὂ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον is an adjectival clause qualifying the subject, τὸ φὼς τὸ ἀλήθινον. I see ὂ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον as picking up the phrasing of v. 4 (ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων). I think, moreover, that ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον is better understood as picked up immediately in v. 10, ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν -- surely referring to τὸ φῶς, not to ἄνθρωπον. So -- regarding the construction of this verse I'm still where I was 16 years ago.
Thanks Carl! I appreciate you thinking over it again. But as in my response to Iver, I still think it's difficult to decide between (1) and (3). In the end though they don't make a difference to the meaning of the writing as a whole haha..
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cwconrad
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Re: John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by cwconrad » June 29th, 2014, 11:46 am

moon wrote:Carl, let me ask some questions about your 16 old rendering of this verse.

One of the reasons that I did not adopt this interpretation is that
the statement "The true light was coming to the world" sounds odd
in the flow of the narrative so far. It does not given any new information.
We know that he was in the world from verse 1.5.

Perhaps, I do not get the point of this "past progressive" description of his coming
into the world.
Perhaps you don't; at any rate, you have a different conception of the "economy" of the Johannine prologue. The word κόσμος in Johannine usage means fundamentally "humanity." I see a progression from v. 9 to v. 10, and I see the whole "paragraph" from v. 9 through v. 13 as a statement about the encounter between the λόγος and the κόσμος. But the dramatic statement concerning the "arrival" of the λόγος in the κόσμος is v. 14. That is followed in vv. 15-18 by statements about "the baptizer"'s relationship to the λόγος and about believers' relationship to the λόγος.

No doubt there are several different ways of construing the Prologue as a whole apart from mine. I do believe, however, that the pieces of the prologue need to be seen in relationship to the whole, not simply by the single verse. I'm not prescribing an interpretation of the prologue; I'm just stating my own way of looking at it.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

moon jung
Posts: 71
Joined: June 7th, 2014, 12:38 am

Re: John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by moon jung » June 30th, 2014, 5:02 am

Carl wrote:

I see a progression from v. 9 to v. 10,

==>

What would it mean that the true light was coming into the world?

I find the following sequence odd:

The true llght was coming into the world (v. 9)
He was in the world and the ... the world did not know him (v. 10)

If I may use the jargon "reference time", the reference time for v. 9 and v. 10
would be the same, because the progressive sentence does not move the reference time forward.

Then, how can we say that he was coming into the world and was in the world at the same reference time?

This problem goes away if we take "coming" to be the coming of the logos into the world
in the sense that "The logos became flesh" in v. 15.

Is there any way to interpret the past progressive statement of v. 9,
without this problem?

Moon Jung
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cwconrad
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Re: John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by cwconrad » June 30th, 2014, 6:44 am

moon wrote:Carl wrote:

I see a progression from v. 9 to v. 10,

==>

What would it mean that the true light was coming into the world?

I find the following sequence odd:

The true llght was coming into the world (v. 9)
He was in the world and the ... the world did not know him (v. 10)

If I may use the jargon "reference time", the reference time for v. 9 and v. 10
would be the same, because the progressive sentence does not move the reference time forward.

Then, how can we say that he was coming into the world and was in the world at the same reference time?

This problem goes away if we take "coming" to be the coming of the logos into the world
in the sense that "The logos became flesh" in v. 15.

Is there any way to interpret the past progressive statement of v. 9,
without this problem?
The "reference time" for v. 9 is to be found in vv. 7-8, the proclamation of John the Baptist: that is the point in terms of which ἦν ... ἑρχόμενον should be understood as a past progressive.
John 1:6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· 7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι᾿ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. 9 ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.
Thereupon ensues a formulation about the appearance in and presence of the λόγος with humanity:
10 ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. 11 εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθεν, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον. 12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, 13 οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

moon jung
Posts: 71
Joined: June 7th, 2014, 12:38 am

Re: John 1:9 ἐρχόμενον

Post by moon jung » June 30th, 2014, 12:27 pm

Carl, thanks.

I got it.

At the time when John was giving a witness to the true light (v 7-8), which did not yet appear on stage,
the true light was coming into the world. The past progressive description creates a dramatic effect.
John's witness is the signal that the true light was coming into the world in order to be present in the world.

Clear.

I like it better than my rendering,

He was the true light, which, coming to the world, shines every person.

The fact that the true light comes to the world is more important than the fact that
it shines every person, in John's storyline.

Moon Jung
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