Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where does the punctuation go?

In John 1:3–4, that is. Is there a stop at the end of verse 3? Or does it come at the end of the phrase, with the relative pronoun and participle going with verse 4?

Here's the Greek:
3 πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων·

I had never noticed it before, but NA27 (and I assume NA28) have the stop before the relative pronoun. Here's what Metzger says:

1.3-4 οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν {B}

Should the words ὃ γέγονεν be joined with what goes before or with what follows? The oldest manuscripts (P66, 75* א* A B) have no punctuation here, and in any case the presence of punctuation in Greek manuscripts, as well as in versional and patristic sources, cannot be regarded as more than the reflection of current exegetical understanding of the meaning of the passage.

A majority of the Committee was impressed by the consensus of ante-Nicene writers (orthodox and heretical alike) who took ὃ γέγονεν with what follows. When, however, in the fourth century Arians and the Macedonian heretics began to appeal to the passage to prove that the Holy Spirit is to be regarded as one of the created things, orthodox writers preferred to take ὃ γέγονεν with the preceding sentence, thus removing the possibility of heretical use of the passage.

Interestingly, Metzger disagreed with the Committee
[On the other hand, however, none of these arguments is conclusive and other considerations favor taking ὃ γέγονεν with the preceding sentence. Thus, against the consideration of the so-called Page 168 rhythmical balance (which after all is present in only a portion of the Prologue, and may not necessarily involve ὃ γέγονεν) must be set John’s fondness for beginning a sentence or clause with ἐν and a demonstrative pronoun (cf. 13.35; 15.8; 16.26; 1 Jn 2.3, 4, 5; 3.10, 16, 19, 24; 4.2, etc.). It was natural for Gnostics, who sought support from the Fourth Gospel for their doctrine of the origin of the Ogdoad, to take ὃ γέγονεν with the following sentence (“That which has been made in him was life” – whatever that may be supposed to mean). It is more consistent with the Johannine repetitive style, as well as with Johannine doctrine (cf. 5.26, 39; 6.53), to say nothing concerning the sense of the passage, to punctuate with a full stop after ὃ γέγονεν. B.M.M.]
So, the CEB translates it thus:
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
Not sure which I prefer, but it does make one pause to think...

1 comment:

John C. Poirier said...

There's a significant punctuation error in all the printed editions of John 9:3--or so I argued in "'Day and Night' and the Punctuation of John 9.3," *New Testament Studies* 42 (1996) 288-94.