Re: Jn. 1:1c

Parts of a discussion between Dvdmoore@aol.com (>>) and Greg Jordan (>)

>>      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.

>I was merely trying to show the pattern in English. Since English doesn't 
>have as flexible a word order, I did make "God" the grammatical subject 
>in my translation.  I didn't mean for it to have any meaning other than - 
>The word was: "God."  Aside from emphasis by position and an avoidance of 
>literalism, what would the distinction be between, say, a translation like 
>"The word was God" and "God was the word"?

>>      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 strictly.  

>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 

     The main thing I reacted to in the construction "and 'God' was the word"
were the quotation marks around "God."  Whichever way we are to understand
LOGOS, the context seems to demand that it be personal.  I believe that the
use of PROS (which is usually translated "with" here), in Jn. 1:1b, is a
fairly clear indication that the LOGOS is thought of as personal.  To
translate "and 'God' was the word" (or "and the word was 'God'," for that
matter) IMO loses sight of the personality of the LOGOS.

     On what exactly John meant by LOGOS, there are many factors to be taken
into consideration.  One of these is John's Jewish, Scriptural background.
 Another is that the Fourth Gospel is obviously written in such a way as to
appeal to the Greek mind (See Raymond E. Brown, _The Gospel According to
John_, [_AB_], [New York: 1966] pp. lvi-lvii).  Another matter to consider is
John's style.  At times, he seems to avoid defining certain of his terms too
strictly, but rather allows the different possible meanings of his words to
complement one another.  See for instance his use of ANWQEN in Jn.3:3ff.  We a
re used to advertisers from our own day employing this sort of style.  The
Ford people used the motto "We're winning the world over."  So what did they
mean?  There are at least a couple of interpretations that are acceptable.
 Or consider the Coca-Cola people who say, "Things go better with Coke."  One
wonders, whereas John uses a word which is as ample and loaded with meaning
as LOGOS, whether he is not expressing more than any *one* definition of
LOGOS could carry.

David L. Moore