john 1:18, john 1
I checked my GNT3 last night and I should have known better than to quote
variants from memory. The variants in the John 1:18 phrase are:
monogenEs theos, ho monogenEs huios, ei mE ho monogenEs huios,
monogenEs huios theou, monogenEs huios theos (?), ho monogenEs.
There is no variant "huios" merely, as I thought there was.
Yes the edition goes with variant #1 but notice that all of the other
variants fit my general premise: that this phrase, with a "B" level of
uncertainty indicating some doubt, is probably not the best verse to
support a kind of NT Nicene Christology.
I think your words are very timely in this thread, and I would like to
clarify that for me, the Bible is probably not the best way to approach a
"true" knowledge of the real, "out-there" God.
Pace any implications by Ken that my interest in literary criticism
is the foolishness of gentiles (and look at Paul's allegorical reading of
the Hagar story - talk about literary criticism without a leash!), my
interest is in *merely* figuring out a consistent narrative from within
the NT. I would be satisfied to model my God-talk on the NT God-talk in
terms of words alone, without reference necessarily to the meanings
behind them. I can glibly say, "The Messiah is the image of God" by
imitating the NT phrase without having the vaguest clue as to what kind
of image might represent the mysterious substance/hypostasis of God. Of
course I and everyone else has an opinion, as Augustine said - our
opinions may be right or wrong and yet this does not necessarily affect
our religiosity/relationship with God, which is more practical-spiritual
than a mere academic opinion on an idea.
But that is why this John 1:1 passage is important to me - not
because it tells me anything necessarily about the "reality" of God (for
all I or anyone knows, God may be a Quaternity, or his substance may be
green cheese), but because it sets an example for discussions of God and
Christ, the kinds we have with non-Christians to lead them, like us, to
believe in Christ (without ever knowing, *completely*, what this God is
that we believe in!) because of the things we do understand from the NT
narratives. And it is my minority, unpopular, etc. opinion from my
reading of the Greek NT that although Jesus and his first followers used
heavily figurative language, they did not proclaim paradoxes - the kind
that would keep unbelievers from rationally coming to accept Christ. As
Paul said, our message is "foolishness" enough without adding any of our
own, very different all-too-human "foolishness" to the pile! :)