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[XTalk] Re: Porposed Re-construction of Postulated Hymg-like Composition to the Word

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  • Frank McCoy
    INTRODUCTION It has long been recognized that much of John 1:1-18 is likely based on hymn-like composition to the Word. This is the proposed re-construction of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 23, 2003
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      It has long been recognized that much of John 1:1-18
      is likely based on hymn-like composition to the Word.
      This is the proposed re-construction of it as given by
      R.A. Brown in The Gospel According to John (Vol. 1,
      pp. 3-4):

      First Strophe
      1 In the beginning was the Word;
      the Word was in God's presence,
      and the Word was God.
      2 He was present with God in the beginning.

      Second Strophe
      3 Through him all things came into being,
      and apart from him not a thing came to be.
      4 That which had come to be in him was life,
      and this life was the light of men.
      5 The light shines on in the darkness,
      for the darkness did not overcome it.

      Third Strophe
      10 He was in the world,
      and the world was made by him;
      yet the world did not recognize him.
      11 To his own he came;
      yet his own people did not accept him.
      12 But all those who did accept him
      he empowered to become God's children.

      Fourth Strophe
      14 And the Word became flesh
      and made his dwelling among us.
      and we have seen his glory,
      the glory of an only Son coming from the Father,
      filled with enduring love.
      16 And of his fullness
      we have all had a share--
      love in place of love.

      I suggest that the following changes be made to this
      proposed re-construction by Brown:
      1. The addition of verse nine. As R.A. Brown notes
      (Ibid., p. 9), some have taken it to be a part of the
      original composition and give it this structure:
      He was the real light
      that gives light to every man;
      he was coming into the world.
      2. The addition of verse 17
      3. The division of the composition into three
      sections, each consisting of ten lines and each
      containing two strophes of three lines each and two
      strophes of two lines each:
      a. The Word at the Beginning of Time and Space
      b. The Pre-incarnational Activity of the Word in the
      c. The Word becomes Flesh.


      Section A The Word at the Beginning of Time and Space

      En Arche en ho Logos,
      Kai ho Logos en pros ton Theon,
      Kai Theos en ho Logos.

      Houtos en en Arche pros ton Theon,
      Panta di autou egenato,
      Kai chwris autou egeneto oude hen.

      Ho gegonen en autw Zwe en,
      Kai he Zwe en to Phws ton anthrowpwn.

      Kai to Phws en te Skotia phainei,
      Kai he Skotia auto ou katalaben.

      Section B The Pre-incarnational Activity of the Word

      En to Phws to alethinon
      Ho phwtizei panta anthrwpon
      Erchoumenon es ton kosmon,

      En tou kosmw en,
      Kai ho kosmos di qutou egeneto,
      Kai ho kosmos autou ouk egnw,

      Eis to idia elthen
      Kai oi idioi ou parelabon.

      Hosoi de elabon auton edwken
      Autois ezousian tekna Theou genesthai.

      Section C The Word Becomes Flesh

      Kai ho Logos sarz egeneto
      Kai eskenwsen en hemin,
      Kai etheasametha ten dozan autou,

      Dozan hws monogenous para Patros,
      Pleres Charitos kai Aletheias.

      Hoti ek to plerowmatos auto
      Hemeis pantes elabomen,
      Kai charin anti charitos,

      Hoti ho Nomos dia Mwusews edothe,
      He Charis kai he Aletheia dia Hisou Christou egeneto.

      Note that, in the third section, where the Word
      becomes flesh, the strophe pattern changes from the
      previous 3/3/2/2 to 3/2/3/2.


      Here is the proposed re-constuction of the postulated
      hymn-like composition in a rough English translation:

      Section A The Word in the Beginning of Time and Space

      In the Beginning was the Word,
      And the Word was with God,
      And the Word was God.

      He was in the Beginning with God,
      Everything though him came into being,
      And without him came into being no thing.

      That which came into being In him was Life,
      And the Life was the Light of mankind.

      And the Light shines in the Darkness,
      And the Darkness did not overcome it.

      Section B The Pre-incarnational Activity of the Word
      in the World

      The true Light
      That enlightens mankind
      Was coming into the World.

      He was within the World,
      And the World came into being through him,
      And the World knew him not.

      To his own he came,
      And his own received him not.

      But as many as received him
      He gave to them authority to be children of God,

      Section C The Word becomes Flesh

      And the Logos became flesh
      And tabernacled among us.
      And we beheld his glory:

      A glory as of a one of a kind with a Father,
      Full of Grace and Truth.

      And of his Fullness
      We have all received,
      Grace upon grace:

      For the Law was given through Moses,
      And the Grace and the Truth came through Christ Jesus.

      How does the proposed re-construction of the
      postulated hymn-like composition look to you? Do you
      recommend any changes to it? Also, do you recommend
      any changes in the English translation of it?

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109

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