John 1:1, Structure and Transl.

jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu (Gregory Jordan (ENG)) wrote:

>Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that the passage illustrates 
>the Greek rhetorical figure of _climax_ (Latin "gradatio"), a perfect 
>series of three clauses in anadiplosis (a keyword at the end of one 
>clause appears at the beginning of the next):

>En arkhEi En ho logos
>kai ho logos En pros ton theon
>kai theos En ho logos

>At first [there] was the word
>And the word was with God
>And "God" was the word.

>Like Shakespeare's:

>"My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
>And every tongue brings in a several tale,
>And every tale condemns me for a villain." Richard III 5.3.193-5

>Except John's is more ingenious since instead of creating a mere 
>build-up, it comes full circle by ending where it started.

     The comments on the rhetorical figure in Jn. 1:1 seem well taken, and
the quote from Shakespeare is a good illustration of this construction from
our own tongue.  But the translation of the last foot of the verse under
discussion (i.e. "And 'God' was the word"), IMO, goes somewhat off the beam.
 We've already had quite a bit of discussion about the subject's being in the
predicate position when two nouns are joined by the third person singular of
EIMI and only the latter of them has the article.  The arthrous noun in the
predicate position in such a case (as here in Jn. 1:1) is treated as the

     Besides the foregoing, LOGOS should probably not be understood as "word"
in the strictest sense of that term here.  Recent discussion on this list has
shown that LOGOS is very ample semantically, and many of its other meanings
probably come closer to what John was expressing than "word" understood

David L. Moore