Re: your mail

On Mon, 21 Nov 1994, Leroy Huizenga 1996 wrote:
> As long as we are talking about John 1:1, I'd like to ask a question.  
> PLease forgive me if this sounds simple, but I am a first year grk 
> student.  At the end of the verse, it says KAI THEOS HN HO LOGOS.  In most 
> translations I've seen (NIV, NRSV, etc.)  it reads "...and the Word was 
> God."  My question: Why does THEOS not have an article? Could not this be 
> translated "a God?" Why not?
It COULD, but it WOULDN'T. It could because the grammar of the Greek 
would permit the text to be understood that way. It wouldn't, because the 
context makes it clear that the writer is not thinking in polytheistic 
terms, so that an English translation in the form, "The Word was a god" 
would be misleading and misrepresenting the intention of the original. 
Neither grammar nor context can be ignored in interpreting such a text. 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com