John 1:18

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Jan 25 02:39:04 EST 2002


> At 6:49 AM -0500 1/24/02, Paul, Doug wrote:
> >In John 1:18 the verse says:
> >
> >QEON OUDEIS hEWRAKEN PWPOTE, MONOGENHS QEOS hO WN EIS TON KOLPON
> TOU PATROS
> >EKEINOS EXHGHSATO.
> >
> >My question is what more to the statement does the perfect hEWRAKEN bring
> >over simply using the aorist EIDEN?
>
> I'm going to venture a response to this with which others may not agree: I
> think that hEWRAKEN conveys pretty much the same semantic content as would
> EIDEN, but that it is more emphatic.
> --
> Carl W. Conrad

An interesting spin-off of this would be to try to pin down any semantic
difference between hORAW and EIDON as well as the general aspectual
difference between aorist and perfect. These two questions cannot be
separated, since the verb is suppletive with EIDON used in aorist active and
hORAW elsewhere.

It seems to me that EIDON is the common, unmarked past (narrative) tense for
"see".
John is particularly fond of the perfect tense of hORAW. Of 34 perfects in
the GNT, 20 are in John's Gospel, 6 in 1 John and 1 in 3 John. When we
consider that the perfect does not occur in Mark or Matthew, only three
times in Luke and once in Acts, John's use of it is very marked. This could
be an idiosyncrasy of John, but my feeling is that John is emphasising the
perfect aspect. By this I mean that physically seeing with your eyes is one
thing, but really comprehending and acting on what you see is a different
thing. John might well have said that many, many Jews saw (EIDON) Jesus, but
few really saw him in a way that led them to believe in him and act upon
what they understood about him. This is how I understand Carl's use of
"emphatic" above. I am thinking of verses like
John 20:25 hEWRAKAMEN TON KURION
John 20:29 hOTI hEWRAKAS ME, PEPISTEUKAS

Iver Larsen




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