And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not master it...
The word here rendered as ‘master’ is KATALAMBANŌ/καταλαμβάνω.
[BDAG] lists these glosses:
- to make something one’s own, win, attain
- to gain control of someone through pursuit, catch up with, seize
- to come upon someone, with implication of surprise, catch
- to process information, understand, grasp
So we have essentially two approaches to rendering this passage:
- the darkness did not understand it
- the darkness did not overcome it
Translators into English have taken various approaches:
|Tyndale (1526)||and darcknes comprehended it not.|
|KJV (1611)||and the darknesse comprehended it not.|
|RSV||and the darkness has not overcome it.|
|NASB||and the darkness did not comprehend it.|
|Wuest||the darkness did not overwhelm it.|
|The Message||the darkness couldn't put it out.|
|Phillips||the darkness has never put it out.|
|Moffat||but the darkness did not master it.|
I’m rendering it ‘master’, since that English word has the sense both of ‘mastering an opponent’ (overcoming) and ‘mastering a subject’ (understanding), which fits the Greek passably well.