Re: John 1:1
On Fri, 22 Apr 94 15:12:36 PDT you said:
>reason I bring up John 1:1 is because I talk to many Jehovah Witnesses and
>their english translation is "In the begining was the Word, and the Word was
>with God, and the Word was 'a god'." Now I have done some looking into in the
>greek and came across this definition, if you will:
> "A definte predicate nominative that precedes a verb does not have the
> definite article. When a greek writeer wanted to stress the quality
> of the person or thing that was in the predicate nominative case, he
> would put it before the verb rather than after it."
>Is this correct.
This is correct, and in general it is fairly safe to say that a nominative
predicate word linked to a subject usually precedes the verb, as it does in
Jn 1:1 (theos En ho logos), but for that matter an accusative predicate
word also tends to precede the verb, as *pikron poiei ton gamon ("he/she makes
marriage bitter"). In the case of Jn 1:1 the phrasing is *theos En ho logos,
where the subject is clearly the noun with the article, *ho logos, and *theos,
which has no article, must be a predicate word. From the standpoint of normal
Greek grammar, this clause might perfectly rightly be translated "The word was
a god." The context of the clause, however, is undoubtedly monotheistic, so
that the intended sense here cannot be "a god" in the sense of one of many
gods. I think that the initial position of *theos in this clause is not only
normal for a predicate word but in this instance particularly emphatic, such
that it is not wrong to translate the clause, "The word was God," bwould be o
to ignore the rhetorical force of the word-order. One of the versions, I don't
remember which (Phillips?) renders it neatly, "What God is, the Word was."
That conveys pretty precisely both the essential identification of theos and
logos and the intense rhetorical underscoring of the essence, God, with which
the word is equated.
Hope this helps. No doubt there will be other respondents as well.
CARL W. CONRAD, C25001CC@WUVMD.BITNET OR C25001CC@WUVMD.WUSTL.EDU
Classics, Washington University, One Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: (314) 935-4018