HN in John 1.1a

Barry Hofstetter nebarry at
Tue Jan 14 07:44:11 EST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard W. Wilson" <rwwilson147 at>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 9:32 PM
Subject: [b-greek] HN in John 1.1a

> Hello,
> I'm a first time poster to B-Greek. Although I've done some Greek study
> in the past, I'm in no sense a scholar, and far less of Greek, but I'm
> re-engaging questions I've left on the shelf for a long time.
> Does the imperfect active HN in John 1.1a indicate or suggest an ongoing
> eternal existence or does it simply mean at a particular point in time,
> ie., the beginning, the Word existed?
> I would appreciate whatever you might contribute to my/our understanding
> on these questions. What do you think?

Rich, welcome.  I don't think such a determination can be made simply from the
tense of the verb.  The imperfect of EIMI is the only past tense usage of the
verb (there is no aorist or perfect), and simply indicates a past state of
being.  The precise limits of that state of being have to be derived from
contextual clues.

N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies
    The Center for Urban Theological Studies, Philadelphia, PA

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