First word of 1 John 1:1

Luke

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Greetings!

An Omicron with an accent, " ὃ", is usually a relative pronoun. Is it still true when it begins a passage?

1 John 1:1, " ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς."
 

Luke

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O.K. So it sounds like it is justifiable to translate it as "what" or "that" like some English translations do.
Does the first Omicron have an antecedent?
 

MalpanaGiwargis

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The antecedent can be omitted, especially when it is indefinite. This Attic example seems similar:

ἅ μὴ οἶδα οὐδὲ οἴομαι εἰδέναι.
What I do not know, I also do not think I know. (Plato Apology 21d)

Goodell's A School Grammar of Attic Greek is online and has a lot of info. I think translating the opening relative in 1 John 1:1 as "That which..." or the like is probably the best way to handle it in English.
 

Luke

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Thank you. With my very, very, limited knowledge of Greek, I have seen "τίς" as "what," but did not know that about the relative pronouns.
 

MalpanaGiwargis

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Thank you. With my very, very, limited knowledge of Greek, I have seen "τίς" as "what," but did not know that about the relative pronouns.
Part of the confusion is undoubtedly that, while Greek has a variety of pronouns, English uses the same words for multiple purposes, especially "that." It's an adverb, a conjunction, an adjective, and multiple types of pronouns.
 

Cavaradossi

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Greetings!

An Omicron with an accent, " ὃ", is usually a relative pronoun. Is it still true when it begins a passage?

1 John 1:1, " ὃ ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς."
The neuter relative pronoun (especially when it leads a sentence) can be used in an abstract sense, with an abstract idea or entire clause as the antecedent. Often we can translate it as “as to what” in this particular circumstance.
 
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