Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Bill Ross
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Re: Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Post by Bill Ross » January 17th, 2019, 6:59 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:38 pm
Bill Ross wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 4:25 pm
This might explain why the NT usage of the word slants slightly more toward "utterance" than does BDAG; it could be a mild Hebraism.
You haven't convinced me that you have a better grasp of this than Danker (of BDAG). I don't really understand the methodology you use for lexicography here. How are you testing your assertions?
By posting them here! :)

Actually, BDAG does have "utterance". He has "word" but, as I read it, in apposition to "utterance" so if I'm right about that than BDAG isn't really even offering "word" in the sense of lexeme/verbum. But it seems to me that the apposition kind of got lost.

This is where the word "word" appears in the entry. Am I mistaken about the apposition?:
...① a communication whereby the mind finds expression, word
ⓐ of utterance, chiefly oral.
α. as expression, word (oratorical ability plus exceptional performance...
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 599). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 17th, 2019, 7:13 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:59 pm
Actually, BDAG does have "utterance". He has "word" but, as I read it, in apposition to "utterance" so if I'm right about that than BDAG isn't really even offering "word" in the sense of lexeme/verbum. But it seems to me that the apposition kind of got lost.

This is where the word "word" appears in the entry. Am I mistaken about the apposition?:
...① a communication whereby the mind finds expression, word
ⓐ of utterance, chiefly oral.
α. as expression, word (oratorical ability plus exceptional performance...
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 599). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Yes, that's definitely in BDAG.

So why isn't it used in translations? I think it's because the language used in a dictionary or lexicon is often quite different from the words you want to use in an actual translation. Let me illustrate using the Webster's definition of the English word word:
Webster's Dictionary (Word) wrote:1.a.1 : a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use
Now suppose I am writing a translation using that definition. Should I translate like this?
John 1:1 (Just Say No Translation) wrote:In the beginning was a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use.
We don't usually copy dictionary definitions blindly into translations. It wouldn't be helpful.
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Bill Ross
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Re: Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Post by Bill Ross » January 17th, 2019, 7:57 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:38 pm
Bill Ross wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 4:25 pm
This might explain why the NT usage of the word slants slightly more toward "utterance" than does BDAG; it could be a mild Hebraism.
You haven't convinced me that you have a better grasp of this than Danker (of BDAG). I don't really understand the methodology you use for lexicography here. How are you testing your assertions?

In general, you really want to rely on Greek rather than other languages to understand Greek, and looking in-depth at lots of Greek examples is better than looking at definitions for other languages.
I've wrestled with this for many years and I don't believe there is a very suitable word for logos in English. "https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expression" might be the best translation we have available in English.
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Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Post by Devenios Doulenios » January 18th, 2019, 5:49 pm

J.B. Phillips’ English version used both “expressed” and “expression” as well as “word” in John 1:1,
“At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God…”. For some reason, though, he reverts to “word” in 1:14, “So the word of God became a human being and lived among us.”

—J.B. Phillips (1972), on http://biblegateway.com/

In my own translation, which I plan to start posting on my blog, I use “Message” for λόγος in John 1:1 and 1:14.

1:1 In the beginning the Message already existed, and the Message was face to face with God. In fact, the Message was Deity.

1:14 The Message became human and lived for a while among us.
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Brian Gould
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Re: Why is λόγος consistently translated as "word"?

Post by Brian Gould » May 27th, 2019, 4:07 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 4:25 pm
This might explain why the NT usage of the word slants slightly more toward "utterance" than does BDAG; it could be a mild Hebraism.
There are two Hebrew translations of the NT in common use, and in both of them John’s word λόγος is translated as דָּבָר (davar or dabar). Assuming that this is the basis of John's conjectural Hebraism, a difficulty arises in the shape of an overabundance of possible translations, nuances, and shades of meaning. This noun occurs over a thousand times in the OT …

http://www.haktuvim.com/en/study/John.1
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