Theos in the NT, esp John 1

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Douglas Nast
Posts: 23
Joined: February 14th, 2017, 5:50 pm

Re: Theos in the NT, esp John 1

Post by Douglas Nast » August 1st, 2017, 3:12 am

Tony Pope wrote:
July 31st, 2017, 6:00 am
If you have the time and energy, I recommend this article:

Jan Van der Watt & Chrys Caragounis, «A Grammatical Analysis of John 1,1», Filología Neotestamentaria 21 (2008) 91-138
I made the time and found the energy today. Level-headed and accessible analysis. I am trying to find it in print, but the only opportunity I found was to buy a box set of some journal for 200 bucks; seemed like overkill.

In the view of these authors, theos in 1c is NOT definite (i.e. must not be rendered "the God"), is NOT indefinite (i.e. must not be rendered "a God"), IS qualitative but should not be rendered adjectivally (should not be rendered "divine"). In effect, the text declares that the subject "the logos" has ALL of the attributes of the nominative "God".

I think they say that nothing should be inferred from 1c about the physical relationship between "the logos" and any other person or entity, but that it has already been established from 1a,b that "the logos" has been "with" an entity named "God" since the beginning.

What we are to make of this is not obvious from 1,1, but looking at it in the context of the rest of the NT and OT one might find himself led to some theological inferences that we should avoid mentioning in this forum.

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1004
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Theos in the NT, esp John 1

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 1st, 2017, 10:59 am

Douglas Nast wrote:
August 1st, 2017, 3:12 am
Tony Pope wrote:
July 31st, 2017, 6:00 am
If you have the time and energy, I recommend this article:

Jan Van der Watt & Chrys Caragounis, «A Grammatical Analysis of John 1,1», Filología Neotestamentaria 21 (2008) 91-138
I made the time and found the energy today. Level-headed and accessible analysis. I am trying to find it in print, but the only opportunity I found was to buy a box set of some journal for 200 bucks; seemed like overkill.

In the view of these authors, theos in 1c is NOT definite (i.e. must not be rendered "the God"), is NOT indefinite (i.e. must not be rendered "a God"), IS qualitative but should not be rendered adjectivally (should not be rendered "divine"). In effect, the text declares that the subject "the logos" has ALL of the attributes of the nominative "God".

I think they say that nothing should be inferred from 1c about the physical relationship between "the logos" and any other person or entity, but that it has already been established from 1a,b that "the logos" has been "with" an entity named "God" since the beginning.

What we are to make of this is not obvious from 1,1, but looking at it in the context of the rest of the NT and OT one might find himself led to some theological inferences that we should avoid mentioning in this forum.
Yes, quite the informative article, and it reminds me of Frodo's comment in LoTR's, "Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes." What I found interesting was the essential conclusion, that the best translation in English of 1:1c was "The word was God" and God in the fullest sense of the word. This is not far from my own argumentation, which is that the definite or indefinite category of θεός here is practically irrelevant. What John wants us to see is that the Logos is both with God and is God, and how we fit that into our theology is a product of how John develops that theme and comparison with the rest of Scripture. We know how the ancient church did in the subsequent centuries.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Douglas Nast
Posts: 23
Joined: February 14th, 2017, 5:50 pm

Re: Theos in the NT, esp John 1

Post by Douglas Nast » August 1st, 2017, 12:34 pm

Appreciate the LOTR reference very much.

It seems the authors of the this article are in accord with Wallace (and Robie in this thread) who references work by several scholars who point out the abuse of Colwell's Rule. Wallace describes the abuse as follows:

The rule said that pre-verbal definite PNs are usually anarthrous, but it has been taken to mean that pre-verbal anarthrous PNs are usually definite (i.e. the converse).

Wallace reports that later research shows that empirically in the NT pre-verbal anarthrous PNs are in FACT usually qualitative, by a large margin. Thus the default should be qualitative, unless context forces something else.

The authors maintain that nothing else is forced in 1c, therefore it should be qualitative. Wallace agrees with this. It is also evident from his book that though he believes the Biblical context forces the deity of Christ, this is not compromised by making the default grammatical assumption that theos in 1c is qualitative. Robie and Hofstetter are saying the same thing I think.

This has been a great blessing to me. You guys ought to be paid for this, and I am sure that eventually you will be.

BTW, although I have been reading Wallace out of curiosity, I AM a beginning Greek student in every sense of the word. I should be reading my Black or Mounce, but am playing hooky.

My parting shot is that David Black's "Learn to Read NT Greek" quotes Colwell's rule in the converse without apology or explanation. This causes me to suppose that there is another side to the argument propounded by Wallace above, which again takes us back to the "yes and no" of it.

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