John 1:18 μονογενὴς

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Robin
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John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Robin » November 27th, 2018, 12:16 am

μονογενὴς Θεὸς Means "Only Begotten God" or "one of a kind God"?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 27th, 2018, 11:32 pm

If you search the B-Greek archives, you'll find that this has been discussed a number of times, such as:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... tten#p6141

In the meantime, the answer is "unique, one of a kind."
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Sean Kasabuske
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Sean Kasabuske » November 28th, 2018, 7:45 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 11:32 pm
If you search the B-Greek archives, you'll find that this has been discussed a number of times, such as:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... tten#p6141

In the meantime, the answer is "unique, one of a kind."
I wonder why no translator (I'm aware of) renders the verse that way? Some have "only", but that isn't exactly the same as "unique" or "one of a kind".
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 28th, 2018, 8:52 am

Sean Kasabuske wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 7:45 am
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 11:32 pm
If you search the B-Greek archives, you'll find that this has been discussed a number of times, such as:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... tten#p6141

In the meantime, the answer is "unique, one of a kind."
I wonder why no translator (I'm aware of) renders the verse that way? Some have "only", but that isn't exactly the same as "unique" or "one of a kind".
NIV renders "one and only."

① pert. to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship, one and only, only (so mostly, incl. Judg 11:34; Tob 3:15; 8:17) of children: of Isaac, Abraham’s only son (Jos., Ant. 1, 222) Hb 11:17. Of an only son (PsSol 18:4; TestSol 20:2; ParJer 7:26; Plut., Lycurgus 59 [31, 8]; Jos., Ant. 20, 20) Lk 7:12; 9:38. Of a daughter (Diod S 4, 73, 2) of Jairus 8:42. (On the motif of a child’s death before that of a parent s. EpigrAnat 13, ’89, 128f, no. 2; 18, ’91, 94 no. 4 [244/45 A.D.]; GVI nos. 1663–69.)
② pert. to being the only one of its kind or class, unique (in kind) of someth. that is the only example of its category (Cornutus 27 p, 49, 13 εἷς κ. μονογενὴς ὁ κόσμος ἐστί. μονογενῆ κ. μόνα ἐστίν=‘unique and alone’; Pla., Timaeus 92c; Theosophien 181, §56, 27). Of a mysterious bird, the Phoenix 1 Cl 25:2.—In the Johannine lit. (s. also ApcEsdr and ApcSed: ὁ μονογενής υἱός; Hippol., Ref. 8, 10, 3; Did., Gen. 89, 18; ὑμνοῦμέν γε θεὸν καὶ τὸν μ. αὐτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 8, 67, 14; cp. ἡ δύναμις ἐκείνη ἡ μ. Hippol., Ref. 10, 16, 6) μονογενὴς υἱός is used only of Jesus. The renderings only, unique may be quite adequate for all its occurrences here (so M-M., NRSV et al.; DMoody, JBL 72, ’53, 213–19; FGrant, ATR 36, ’54, 284–87; GPendrick, NTS 41, ’95, 587–600). τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μ. ἔδωκεν J 3:16 (Philo Bybl. [100 A.D.]: 790 Fgm. 2 ch. 10, 33 Jac. [in Eus., PE 1, 10, 33]: Cronus offers up his μονογενὴς υἱός). ὁ μ. υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ vs. 18; τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μ. ἀπέσταλκεν ὁ θεός 1J 4:9; cp. Dg 10:2. On the expr. δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός J 1:14 s. Hdb. ad loc. and PWinter, Zeitschrift für Rel. u. Geistesgeschichte 5, ’53, 335–65 (Engl.). See also Hdb. on vs. 18 where, beside the rdg. μονογενὴς θεός (considered by many the orig.) an only-begotten one, God (acc. to his real being; i.e. uniquely divine as God’s son and transcending all others alleged to be gods) or a uniquely begotten deity (for the perspective s. J 10:33–36), another rdg. ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός is found. MPol 20:2 in the doxology διὰ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ τοῦ μονογενοῦς Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Some (e.g. WBauer, Hdb.; JBulman, Calvin Theological Journal 16, ’81, 56–79; JDahms, NTS 29, ’83, 222–32) prefer to regard μ. as somewhat heightened in mng. in J and 1J to only-begotten or begotten of the Only One, in view of the emphasis on γεννᾶσθαι ἐκ θεοῦ (J 1:13 al.); in this case it would be analogous to πρωτότοκος (Ro 8:29; Col 1:15 al.).—On the mng. of μονογενής in history of religion s. the material in Hdb.3 25f on J 1:14 (also Plut., Mor. 423a Πλάτων … αὐτῷ δή φησι δοκεῖν ἕνα τοῦτον [sc. τὸν κόσμον] εἶναι μονογενῆ τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἀγαπητόν; Wsd 7:22 of σοφία: ἔστι ἐν αὐτῇ πνεῦμα νοερὸν ἅγιον μονογενές.—Vett. Val. 11, 32) as well as the lit. given there, also HLeisegang, Der Bruder des Erlösers: Αγγελος I 1925, 24–33; RBultmann J (comm., KEK) ’50, 47 n. 2; 55f.—DELG s.v. μένω. M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.


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. 658). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » November 28th, 2018, 3:15 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 11:32 pm
In the meantime, the answer is "unique, one of a kind."

B.P. Harris spends roughly 250 pages disagreeing in one of the longest word studies I have ever seen.

http://silicabiblechapel.com/uploads/3/ ... ogenes.pdf
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by MAubrey » November 28th, 2018, 3:30 pm

Well, these things are decided on the basis of length, that's for sure.

"Unique" isn't right. But 'only begotten' hasn't been meaningful English for quite some time.

Seumas MacDonald did an excellent SBL paper last year, but I don't think it's available online update: found it: https://thepatrologist.com/2017/11/26/m ... sbl-paper/

But he does have this piece responding to Charles Lee Iron's article on the same.

https://thepatrologist.com/2017/11/29/a ... -begotten/
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » November 28th, 2018, 6:03 pm

B.P. Harris[1] cites Athanasius; The following is a large block quote from pages 164-165.
Athanasius
Athanasius (A.D. 298-373) whose mother tongue was Greek, the great defender of the Faith up to, during, and after the Council of Nicaea says this:
“If then He is Only-begotten, as indeed He is, ‘First-born’ needs some explanation; but if He be really First-born, then He is not Only-begotten for the same cannot be both Only-begotten and First-born, except in different relations;—that is, Only-begotten, because of His generation from the Father, as has been said; and First-born, because of His condescension to the creation and His making the many His brethren.”229
The first line above begins, “If then He is Only-begotten, as indeed He is, ‘First-born’ needs some explanation; but if He be really first-born, then He is not Only-begotten for the same cannot be both Only-Begotten and first-born…”

In the Greek it reads:
“Εί μὲν ουν μονογενής ἐστιν, ὥσπερ ουν καὶ ἕστιν, ἑρμηνευέσθω τὸ προτότοκος. εἰ δὲ προτότοκος ἐστι, μὴ ἔστω μονογενής πγ.”230
Now let me quote something he had said a few lines before this quote (with the appropriate Greek text), that will clearly show forth his understanding of monogenes.
“ Ὁ γάρ τοι μονογενὴς, οὐκ ὄντων ἄλλων  δελφῶν, μονογενὴς ἐστιν. ὁ δὲ πρωτότοκος διὰ τοὺς ἄλλοθς  δελφοὺς πρωτότοκος λέγεται.”231
“For the term ‘Only-Begotten’ is used where there are not brethren, but ‘First–born’ because of brethren.”232
And then let me quote one other statement he makes later,
“…who also is therefore the Only-begotten, since no other was begotten from Him.”233
“…ὁ διἂ τοῦτο καὶ μονογενὴς ὢν, ἐπειδὴ οὐκ ἄλλος τις ἐξ αὐτοῦ ὲγεννήθη.”234
What could be more succinct? Clearly, Athanasius understood monogenes to mean only-begotten. It could not mean “one of a kind,” or “unique,” “only,” “only member of a kin,” or “one and only.”

----------------------------------------------------------
229 Philip Schaff, Henry Wace, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. IV (T&T Clark, Edinburgh; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1991) pg. 382 (Against the Arians, II, 58)
230 Athanasius, William Bright, St. Athanasius Orations Against the Arians (At the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1884) pg. 132
231 Ibid., pg. 132
232 Schaff, op. cit., pg. 382
233 Philip Schaff, Henry Wace, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. IV (T&T Clark, Edinburgh; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1991) pg.434 (Against the Arians, IV, 4)
234 Athanasius, William Bright, St. Athanasius Orations Against the Arians (At the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1884) pg. 225
B.P. Harris, Studies in the Usage of the Greek Word Μονογενής As Found in the Gospel of John, the Epistle to Hebrews, First Clement and Other Sources Variously Translated as Only-Begotten, One of a Kind, and One and Only.
http://silicabiblechapel.com/uploads/3/ ... ogenes.pdf

postscript
Citation does not imply agreement. I haven't had the opportunity to seriously consider every step in the argument. Certain aspects of the methodology are open to criticism but the author has put an enormous amount work into this and when he cited Athanasius I couldn't resist looking into it. B. P. Harris is an elder in a Brethren congregation.
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Robin
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Robin » November 28th, 2018, 9:39 pm

Psalm 25:16
ἐπίβλεψον ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ καὶ ἐλέησόν με, ὅτι μονογενὴς καὶ πτωχός εἰμι ἐγώ.

Psalm 25:16
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.




μονογενὴς translates to "Onely"
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Seumas Macdonald
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Seumas Macdonald » November 29th, 2018, 5:27 am

Since Mike has been kind enough to reference my work, I have 2 papers on this, one the direct result of that SBL presentation, currently in the limbo of the "resubmitted" part of "revise and resubmit", focused on all 470 references to μονογενής in Athanasius, Basil, and the two Gregories. The second is near completion, and looks at every occurence in the literary corpus up to the 1st cent. AD (about 109 occurrences).

In both these, I make the case that every time μονογενής is used in reference to a person, the idea expressed is "siblingless". "One of a kind" or "unique" applies in the relatively few other cases: types of animals, species, plants, universes, and grammatical terminology. I distinguish 3 basic approaches to the meaning of μονογενής, (1) focused on 'generation' and prioritising the -γενής stem; (2) the uniqueness argument, focused on being the only one in a category, and usually related to an etymological argument on γένος / -γενής, (3) my own position that it regularly refers to the absence of other siblings.

The modern history of seeing it as 'one of a kind' seems to rest predominantly on Moody's 1953 article, which in my view misreads Thayer's lexicon (or doesn't read the entry far enough), and takes Moulton and Milligan at their word, which is also a mistake.

Besides the Athanasian passage quoted above by Sterling from Harris, which I think is one strong patristic proof that the word still carried an ordinary sense of 'absence of siblings', there is Basil's Against Eunomius
For μονογενής designates in common usage, not ‘the one coming from a sole entity,’ but ‘the sole entity that is begotten.’
2.20 Μονογενὴς γὰρ οὐχ ὁ παρὰ μόνου γενόμενος, ἀλλ’ ὁ μόνος γεννηθεὶς, ἐν τῇ κοινῇ χρήσει προσαγορεύεται.
He then goes on to say:
Not even Sarah was a mother of a μονογενής child, in that she alone did not produce him, but with Abraham. And if your opinions prevailed, the whole world would have to re-learn, that this name is indicative not of a solitariness in relation to siblings, but an absence of co-procreators.

2.21 Οὐδὲ ἡ Σάρα μήτηρ μονογενοῦς ἦν παιδὸς, διότι οὐχὶ μόνη αὐτὸν, ἀλλὰ μετὰ τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐτεκνώσατο. Καὶ ἐάν γε κρατῇ τὰ ὑμέτερα, ἀνάγκη ὅλον τὸν βίον μεταμαθεῖν, μὴ μονώσεως ἀδελφῶν, ἀλλ’ ἐρημίας τῶν συντικτόντων δηλωτικὸν εἶναι τοὔνομα.
Basil treats the term as having a standard meaning, the lack of siblings, which argues against Eunomius' attempt to define the term as simply 'soleness of origin'.

As for Charles Lee Irons, I think his argument is basically along good lines, except that he insists on using the term "only-begotten", which with Mike I consider to be meaningless in contemporary English apart from theological jargon. The closest English collocation for μονογενής is "only child", but since we do not use "only child" as an adjective to another substantive, it's utility for translation is minimal. I can't see "siblingless" catching on anytime soon.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John 1:18 μονογενὴς

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 29th, 2018, 9:34 am

Robin wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 9:39 pm
Psalm 25:16
ἐπίβλεψον ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ καὶ ἐλέησόν με, ὅτι μονογενὴς καὶ πτωχός εἰμι ἐγώ.

Psalm 25:16
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.




μονογενὴς translates to "Onely"
Yes, translating the Hebrew יָחִיד, yachīd, which also may refer to not having siblings. Maybe the Psalmist is upset because he has no brothers and sisters? :lol: Seriously, remember the LXX is translation literature, and often tries to follow literally the Hebrew even when it isn't good Greek. This could be part of the translation methodology, and doesn't really contribute to how the word is being used when it isn't part of a translation.
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