Asyndeton in John 1:1-4

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
(NA28) 1

Φ. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος,
καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν,
καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2
Φ οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.

[2165. Two or more sentences (or words) independent in form and thought, but juxtaposed, i.e. coördinated without any connective, are asyndetic (from ἀσύνδετον not bound together), and such absence of connectives is called asyndeton. a. The absence of connectives in a language so rich in means of coördination as is Greek is more striking than in other languages. … a resumptive word, such as οὗτος ...]

3
Φ πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο ⸂οὐδὲ :ἕν⸃.
Φ ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ⸀ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς ⸋τῶν ἀνθρώπων⸌·

[Smyth 2167. Asyndeton also appears when the unconnected sentence ...d. Sets forth a contrast in thought to the preceding. This is commoner in poetry than in prose. Thus, μέλλοντα ταῦτα· τῶν προκειμένων τι χρὴ πρά̄σσειν this lies in the future; the present must be thy care S. Ant. 1334]


5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
(NA28) 1

Φ. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος,
καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν,
καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2
Φ οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.

[2165. Two or more sentences (or words) independent in form and thought, but juxtaposed, i.e. coördinated without any connective, are asyndetic (from ἀσύνδετον not bound together), and such absence of connectives is called asyndeton. a. The absence of connectives in a language so rich in means of coördination as is Greek is more striking than in other languages. … a resumptive word, such as οὗτος ...]

3
Φ πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο ⸂οὐδὲ :ἕν⸃.
Φ ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ⸀ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς ⸋τῶν ἀνθρώπων⸌·

[Smyth 2167. Asyndeton also appears when the unconnected sentence ...d. Sets forth a contrast in thought to the preceding. This is commoner in poetry than in prose. Thus, μέλλοντα ταῦτα· τῶν προκειμένων τι χρὴ πρά̄σσειν this lies in the future; the present must be thy care S. Ant. 1334]


5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

I just updated my Expository Reading of John 1:1-4 to include a note on Asyndeton. But I also added a chart on the dates for the two readings at 3-4 that shows how late the KJV punctuation changed.


@The Real John Milton
@John Milton
@Gryllus Maior
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I just updated my Expository Reading of John 1:1-4 to include a note on Asyndeton. But I also added a chart on the dates for the two readings at 3-4 that shows how late the KJV punctuation changed.


@The Real John Milton
@John Milton
@Gryllus Maior

You seem to be on to something. The poetic structure of connectedness without the use of an article is strongly evident with ὁ λόγος and οὗτος in 1 and 2 and then again with ἐγένετο and ὃ γέγονεν in 3 and 4. Clearly ὃ γέγονεν goes with verse 4, and it becomes more strikingly true when viewed from this perspective. Well done!
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I meant to say “conjunction” (specifically καὶ) last post rather than “article” ( as in “without the use of an article”) ofcourse.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
I'm not going to get into a pointless back in forth with you here. I'll just tell you why you are wrong and leave it at that.
1) John 1 is not poetry.
2) When asyndeton is present, you can't just decide it has a certain meaning as you have done. If you believe the asyndeton represents constrast, you must give convincing reasons.
3) Asyndeton is John's normal way of connecting sentences. It's what he uses when he isn't making some kind of statement.

I told you all of this already in another thread. It just goes to show that you have no interest in determining what the truth is. Your only goal appears to be to strow as many false statements around as possible.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
(NA28) 1

Φ. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος,
καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν,
καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2
Φ οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.

[2165. Two or more sentences (or words) independent in form and thought, but juxtaposed, i.e. coördinated without any connective, are asyndetic (from ἀσύνδετον not bound together), and such absence of connectives is called asyndeton. a. The absence of connectives in a language so rich in means of coördination as is Greek is more striking than in other languages. … a resumptive word, such as οὗτος ...]

3
Φ πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο ⸂οὐδὲ :ἕν⸃.
Φ ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ⸀ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς ⸋τῶν ἀνθρώπων⸌·

[Smyth 2167. Asyndeton also appears when the unconnected sentence ...d. Sets forth a contrast in thought to the preceding. This is commoner in poetry than in prose. Thus, μέλλοντα ταῦτα· τῶν προκειμένων τι χρὴ πρά̄σσειν this lies in the future; the present must be thy care S. Ant. 1334]


5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
I'm not going to get into a pointless back in forth with you here. I'll just tell you why you are wrong and leave it at that.
1) John 1 is not poetry.

An informal search indicates that the prevailing view is it was a hymn, at the very least elevated prose. Of course Smyth does not limit Asyndeton to poetry, and it depends how one defines poetry.

Thanks for your opinion, but I'm in good company seeing strophes, rhythmic structure and staircase parallelism.



2) When asyndeton is present, you can't just decide it has a certain meaning as you have done. If you believe the asyndeton represents constrast, you must give convincing reasons.


John 1:2 is an exact parallel to one way Smyth defines the use of ούτος to mark asyndeton. That's in strophe 1.

So it's not unreasonable to see it in strophe 2.

3) Asyndeton is John's normal way of connecting sentences. It's what he uses when he isn't making some kind of statement.
I've heard that, but it actually works in favor of my analysis. I think you need to be more precise about what you mean by "normal" and "connecting."

If you mean by "normal" that it is unmarked and has no significance, the example in verse 2 refutes that notion. Smyth shows it has a specific function.

If you mean by "connection" that it connects by adding one thought to another, verse 1 shows that John used και for that.

In fact, I would have expected και or a dependent appositional clause to show the parallelism that you see.

That being said, I don't argue that it MUST be that way. But so far I've provided the only real evidence.

I told you all of this already in another thread. It just goes to show that you have no interest in determining what the truth is. Your only goal appears to be to strow as many false statements around as possible.

Did you see the graph I provided that show why the NA28 punctuation is certainly the older rendering?

It's very clear that it is.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.

I just don't understand why this even enjoys serious consideration, let alone sanction in the majority of English translations. It translates to the following:

"all things were made by means of it, and nothing was made without it that was made."

Bold in red above is as redundant and nonsensical sounding in English as it is Koine. Why need to declare that nothing was made apart from it "that was made" when it has already been stated in the first clause that the verse is speaking about all things which were made ? Clearly ὃ γέγονεν goes with verse 4. So in truth we have this:

3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. 4
ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων

"All things were made by means of it, and nothing was made without it.
That which came into existence in it was life, and that life was the light of men."
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I just don't understand why this even enjoys serious consideration, let alone sanction in the majority of English translations. It translates to the following:

"all things were made by means of it, and nothing was made without it that was made."

Bold in red above is as redundant and nonsensical sounding in English as it is Koine. Why need to declare that nothing was made apart from it "that was made" when it has already been stated in the first clause that the verse is speaking about all things which were made ? Clearly ὃ γέγονεν goes with verse 4. So in truth we have this:

3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. 4
ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων

"All things were made by means of it, and nothing was made without it.
That which came into existence in it was life, and that life was the light of men."
The reason the punctuation was changed is because a group called the pneumomachians (fighters against the spirit) started to teach that the Holy Spirit was the first thing created by the Father through the Son.

So they changed it so that the HS was not included because it was not "made."
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
The reason the punctuation was changed is because a group called the pneumomachians (fighters against the spirit) started to teach that the Holy Spirit was the first thing created by the Father through the Son.

So they changed it so that the HS was not included because it was not "made."

Yes, clearly that was one reason. Another reason, though not as often discussed by Trinitarians, was to curtail the idea that "life" came into existence in the Logos. This took on added urgency in the 4th and 5th century after "homoousious Christianity" (Nicea AD 325) had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. For it would be a harder sell to declare Christ "God" if life itself came into existence in him at a point in time.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Yes, clearly that was one reason. Another reason, though not as often discussed by Trinitarians, was to curtail the idea that "life" came into existence in the Logos. This took on added urgency in the 4th and 5th century after "homoousious Christianity" (Nicea AD 325) had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. For it would be a harder sell to declare Christ "God" if life itself came into existence in him at a point in time.
I was trying to find commentaries that addresses the older punctuation head on and it's hard to come by. What I saw was John 5:26 being a crux of eternal generation. But BDAG takes it further and equates this with 1:4.

And if one just questions the "eternal" part of it, which is a seriously flawed presupposition, it clearly marks a beginning to the logos.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I was trying to find commentaries that addresses the older punctuation head on and it's hard to come by. What I saw was John 5:26 being a crux of eternal generation. But BDAG takes it further and equates this with 1:4.

And if one just questions the "eternal" part of it, which is a seriously flawed presupposition, it clearly marks a beginning to the logos.

John 5:26 is another reason why ὃ γέγονεν goes with verse 4 since then each verse testifies to the other:

ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ Υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ.

Just as the testimony of two (men of God) who speak the same truth is valid, so is the testimony of two (scriptures of God) which say the same thing. :)
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
John 5:26 is another reason why ὃ γέγονεν goes with verse 4 since then each verse testifies to the other:



Just as the testimony of two (men of God) who speak the same truth is valid, so is the testimony of two (scriptures of God) which say the same thing. :)

It also reminds me of John 6:57: καθὼς ἀπέστειλέν με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα.

Jesus said he lived because of the living Father.
 
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John Milton

Well-known member
An informal search indicates that the prevailing view is it was a hymn, at the very least elevated prose.
What source did you crib that language from, I wonder?

There are opposing views, but yours is not the prevailing one. Not too long ago it was en vogue to look for chiasms and songs everywhere in scripture. And people (like you, for instance) have a tendency to find what they are looking for in the data, even if it isn't actually there. Many of those claims have been and are being revisited.
Of course Smyth does not limit Asyndeton to poetry, and it depends how one defines poetry.

Thanks for your opinion, but I'm in good company seeing strophes, rhythmic structure and staircase parallelism.
You probably need to cite where you read "strophes, rhythmic structure, and staircase parallelism" also. Is it the same source as above?

But you missed the major point which was that you have assumed that in John 1:3-4 asyndeton = contrast. That doesn't work.
John 1:2 is an exact parallel to one way Smyth defines the use of ούτος to mark asyndeton. That's in strophe 1.

So it's not unreasonable to see it in strophe 2.

I've heard that, but it actually works in favor of my analysis. I think you need to be more precise about what you mean by "normal" and "connecting."

If you mean by "normal" that it is unmarked and has no significance, the example in verse 2 refutes that notion. Smyth shows it has a specific function.

If you mean by "connection" that it connects by adding one thought to another, verse 1 shows that John used και for that.

In fact, I would have expected και or a dependent appositional clause to show the parallelism that you see.

That being said, I don't argue that it MUST be that way. But so far I've provided the only real evidence.
You have cited grammars and asserted that they apply to John 1:3-4. That's not the same as giving evidence. Here is what evidence looks like:



(This is a reader's digest version of Buth from M. Aubrey.)

Now, the only evidence that has been offered is against your claims.
Did you see the graph I provided that show why the NA28 punctuation is certainly the older rendering?

It's very clear that it is.
THE. PUNCTUATION. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
THE. PROLOGUE. ISN'T. SAYING. WHAT. YOU. THINK. IT. SAYS.
THE. GRAMMAR. FOR. EITHER. PUNCTUATION. WILL. NOT. ALLOW. IT.

But even if the punctuation mattered, all of the punctuation appears to have been added to the text at a later date. And this is but part of a fuller explanation that I have given to you earlier. It's unbelievable the way you just create a new thread and act like you've never been told the truth before. It's especially bad in instances like this where a quick perusal would show you that you are unquestionably wrong.

Where is a single scholar who agrees with your understanding of John 1:3-4 with any punctuation? It should tell you something when the best you can do to support your arguments is to gather an amalgam of unrelated quotes from different types of references works and misapply them to foreign contexts.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I didn't make any such comment in my post. Why are you lying about what I said?

I’m stating a fact, not responding to any “comment” you made . And I will repeat that point:

What ὃ γέγονεν with verse 4 does NOT allow for is the notion that Jesus is God ( “YHWH”).

Think about that one.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
I’m stating a fact, not responding to any “comment” you made . And I will repeat that point:

What ὃ γέγονεν with verse 4 does NOT allow for is the notion that Jesus is God ( “YHWH”).

Think about that one.
It's a fact that I made no such comment in my post. Hence, you lied. Think about that.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
What source did you crib that language from, I wonder?

There are opposing views, but yours is not the prevailing one. Not too long ago it was en vogue to look for chiasms and songs everywhere in scripture. And people (like you, for instance) have a tendency to find what they are looking for in the data, even if it isn't actually there. Many of those claims have been and are being revisited.

You probably need to cite where you read "strophes, rhythmic structure, and staircase parallelism" also. Is it the same source as above?

But you missed the major point which was that you have assumed that in John 1:3-4 asyndeton = contrast. That doesn't work.

You have cited grammars and asserted that they apply to John 1:3-4. That's not the same as giving evidence. Here is what evidence looks like:



(This is a reader's digest version of Buth from M. Aubrey.)

Now, the only evidence that has been offered is against your claims.

THE. PUNCTUATION. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
THE. PROLOGUE. ISN'T. SAYING. WHAT. YOU. THINK. IT. SAYS.
THE. GRAMMAR. FOR. EITHER. PUNCTUATION. WILL. NOT. ALLOW. IT.

But even if the punctuation mattered, all of the punctuation appears to have been added to the text at a later date. And this is but part of a fuller explanation that I have given to you earlier. It's unbelievable the way you just create a new thread and act like you've never been told the truth before. It's especially bad in instances like this where a quick perusal would show you that you are unquestionably wrong.

Where is a single scholar who agrees with your understanding of John 1:3-4 with any punctuation? It should tell you something when the best you can do to support your arguments is to gather an amalgam of unrelated quotes from different types of references works and misapply them to foreign contexts.

Your first link says something interesting:

Asyndetons at 1:18(1) and 1:18(2) are unmarked uses (§9). We might have expected alla at 1:18(2) . But the line between types of contrast and tension requiring alla, de, and asyndeton in John is somewhat fluid. The two parts of 1:18 are in tension; but, viewed from a certain standpoint, they are not in virtual contradiction. Hence asyndeton might well be preferred to alla. Anyway, the distinctiveness of John lies in the higher, not lower, frequency of use of asyndeton. Hence this occurrence of asyndeton is not at all against Johannine authorship.

The author apparently sees that Asyndeton might be used instead of αλλά. That conforms to my second quote from Smyth as αλλά is a contrast. This is conciliatory evidence for my analysis.

Thanks for the link.
 
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