[B-Greek] Re: Is "EN ARCH" different than "EN TH ARCH" - John 1:1

Roger Birch rsb1 at primus.com.au
Mon Jul 28 21:46:04 EDT 2003

>If the words "EN ARCH" in John 1:1 were"EN TH
>would there have been any difference in the way one >would translate it?

>In general:

>"When a noun is anarthrous following a preopostion, 
>does this carry another kind of meaning then when the >article 
>is present with the noun?

Wallace states that when a substantive is anarthrous, it may have one of three forces: indefinite, qualitative or definite and there is no clear-cut distinction between them. When it follows a preposition, he adds that there is no need for the article to make the object of the preposition definite, but equally, an anarthrous noun as object of a preposition is not necessarily definite. If it has the article, it must be definite, if it lacks the article, it may be definite. (Highlighting in Wallace).

So, if the article were present in John 1:1, it would refer to the beginning, presumably implying some specific point in time. The absence of the article could mean 'a' beginning - implying multiple beginnings, or perhaps more naturally, the qualitative nature of ARCH, which would be 'beginningness' if there were such a word. This is getting dangerously close to theology, but this latter understanding fits with the imperfect tense of HN in John 1:1 with a continous aspect giving a picture of God being outside time with creation itself being in John 1:3 where we get EGENETO, the aorist, rather than HN the imperfect.

Roger Birch

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