The pronoun (αὐτὸ) in John 1:5 which refers to the light (φῶς) is translated as “it”. But in John 1:10 and thereafter, pronouns which refer to the light are translated as “he/him/his”. Why?
This is true in every English translation I’ve looked at. In KJV and NKJV there is the additional distinction that “light” is not capitalized in 1:4 and 1:5, but is capitalized 1:7-9.
What is the reason for this? Did the light change from an “it” to a “he” when it came into the world in 1:9? Is there a way to infer this from the Greek text itself? If so, what is it? If not, what is the basis for such translations?
In the verses below, the second word, him, refers to Logos. This light is the life, which in turn is in the Logos, and the Logos is already a “him”. But before coming into the world, the light itself is an “it”. Is this hermeneutic linguistic or something else?
It does appear that just using Greek text, translators could have chosen either “it” or “him” for:
Logos in 4, and chose “him”
Light in 5, and chose “it” (making logos = light harder to assume when considering the v4 choice?)
Light in 10,11; and chose “he/him”
John 1:4-11 NIV then SBL Greek New Testament.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· 5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· 7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. 9 ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινὸν 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. 11 εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθεν, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον.