Re: John 1:1, Structure and Transl.

On Mon, 28 Nov 1994, Gregory Jordan (ENG) wrote:
> Of course it's my pet theory that John's word play here is as simple as 
> this: that he meant exactly "word" in the literal sense, in order to 
> create a figurative (metaphorical) comparison between Jesus and God.  
> Jesus is the word that God speaks, and that word that God speaks is 
> "God": that is, all of himself.  The point is reiterated in John 1 by 
> reference to Jesus showing/revealing God to the world (v.18 eksEgEsato), 
> just as a word refers to its referent without at the same time being its 
> referent.
> ...

I rather like this and it is akin to the way I would want to understand 
the intent of the text, a reason why I like the version of 1:1 in 
J.B.Phillips: "In the beginning God expressed himself ..." I would go 
along also, I think, with Greg's insistence that the Greek allusions are 
secondary to the Hebraic OT ones, and that we should therefore see not 
only the tradition of YHWH's _dvarim_ in law and prophets but also in the 
_hokhma_ of the Wisdom tradition. Of course, the Greek background, I 
think, ought not to be dismissed out of hand; it seems to me it is part 
of the Hellenistic element in the _hokhma_ traditions. This makes the 
passage, as is no surprise, very similar in meaning to the opening of 
Hebrews. But all this is interpretation, and strays from the question of 
what the Greek itself can or must mean. 

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