John's Epilogue

This past week, there has been a lot of interaction (Index) among bloggers concerning John’ prologue and the translation of αὐτοῦ as found in John 1.3, but what of John’s Epilogue? We turn to 1st John 1.1-3.

1:1  ῞Ο ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς·

Both words are neuter, and impersonal, pointing to the Word (from the beginning). This makes the Word, from the beginning, impersonal (and again, John encapsulate the Word into humanity by seeing, hearing, and touching)

1:2  καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον, ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν·

Does the neuter point to the femine Life? Cannot the translation of that first phrase be:

‘this Life was revealed, and we have seen her and testify to her, and declare to you the eternal Life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— (NRSV, modified).’

The pronouns, in any translation, are added words (found in the italics in the KJV as ‘it’). I am not stating that the pronouns must be feminine, but to follow the ‘he’ of the KJV, and subsequent modern transaltions in John’s prologue, shouldn’t we then use the same rules in John’s Epilogue?. Note that the phrase ὁ λόγος τῆς ζωῆς, the Word of the Life (1.1), occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

In my personal understanind, Life is Wisdom:

For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD; (Proverbs 8:35 NKJV)

By means of her, immortality will be mine, I shall leave an everlasting memory to my successors. (Wisdom 8:13 NJB)

Wisdom is brilliant, she never fades. By those who love her, she is readily seen, by those who seek her, she is readily found. (Wisdom 6:12 NJB)

1:3  ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν, ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν· καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

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31 Replies to “John's Epilogue”

  1. Joel,
    I feel I should be writing this comment in Hebrew. It is acting in a left to right fashion. Actually I might end up thinking that neither logos nor sophia should have personal pronouns, he or she used or them.

  2. Um, I see what you mean – but at least you are able to comment! You may be right that no personal pronouns are needed, but at least people can read that ‘gender’ assignments should not be easily accepted by the readers. I have enjoyed this discussion.

  3. Fixed it! Sorry about that, Suzanne. It still has be thinking, though, about Sophia and Wisdom. Further, I would like to add that Dr. RND Kelly stated in his book that the primitive Church did not see ‘Father’ (in relation to God) as parental. I wonder, if we strip away 2000 years of ‘stuff’ how eglaterian the early Church might have been?

  4. Do you mean JND Kelly?  Yes, the “father and son” puzzles me. Not so much gender-wise, but in other ways.
    Perhaps it really only means that the son is truly divine, he is God. I don’t think it means that the Son is eternally junior to the Father. That just doesn’t sound right. Why would Christ remain subordinate to his father all his life when human sons don’t do that?

  5. Father in the heavenly, Son in the earthly.
    That makes some sort of sense but doesn’t the son exist pre-eternally?

  6. So then doesn’t it seem that it would be much easier to have this conversation, in general I mean, if the pronoun “it” was used in John 1:3 instead of him. Isn’t John 1 used to prove that the Son as a person was present with God before creation?
    It seems easier to understand the wide range of belief in early Xianity if autos is translated as “if.”

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