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Monday, November 29, 2010

κόσμος (kosmos) in Johannine writings part 2

John has a compact vocabulary. He doesn’t impress us with his great erudition like Luke or the author of Hebrews. On the other hand John gets a lot of mileage out of his words. He is a poet, a weaver of words and meanings, his discourse has a haunting quality that makes it highly memorable and a pleasure to read. In the first epistle 1John 2:15-17 we see κόσμος kosmos used six times; John uses a lot of repetition. In this passage κόσμος kosmos is not something good and for that reason it must refer to something different than Jn 1:10b καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο. In 1John 2:16 John states that everything which characterizes this κόσμος is not from The  Father ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς. Therefore it cannot be a creation of the Word Jn 1:10b. The use of kosmos in 1Jn 2:15-17 should help us understand what is going in Jn 1:9-10. This subtle shift in the meaning of a repeated word is a characterist of John’s style.

John 1:9 Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.  10 ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.

1John 2:15 Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ·  16 ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστίν.  17 καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.


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