b-greek-digest V1 #518
b-greek-digest Tuesday, 20 December 1994 Volume 01 : Number 518
In this issue:
The meaning of John 1:1.
Re: Col. 1:15, PRWTOTOKOS
Re: son of man
Original Language Software
Re: Son of Man
Re: Son of Man
son of man
From: MR ALAN R CRAIG <CSRT29A@prodigy.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 01:19:44 EST
Subject: The meaning of John 1:1.
- -- [ From: Alan R. Craig * EMC.Ver #2.10P ] --
For those of you who may be interested, I thought you might like to see
what a scholar had written about the meaning of this verse in the year
1807. Interestingly, he first translates John 1:1 to read (with his
In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with God,
and the word was [a] God.
To the word's "with God," he has this footnote and note:
FTN: "If to come forth from God, is to be sent upon his service, to be
with God, is to have such previous intercourse, to be so with him,
really or metaphorically, as to be instructed or qualified for that
service. With God Christ received his errand; in the world he
NOTE: "To explain what is meant by this language, we are referred to
the eighteenth verse of this chapter, where Christ is said to be in the
bosom of the Father, and to John vi. 46, where he says that he is the
only one who hath seen the Father: for by being in the bosom of the
Father, and seeing the Father, no more is meant than being intimately
acquainted with the divine counsels and designs' and if these phrases
signify no more than this, to be with God may, agreeably to this
language, be considered as meaning the same thing: so that by saying
the word was with God, the apostle may be understood to assert that he
fully comprehended his most secret counsels and designs, and was hereby
prepared to reveal them to the world; just as a companion and a friend
is better qualified to give an account of a man's purposes than a
To the Word's "[a] God," he writes:
"That is, on account of the knowledge and power communicated to him by
Almighty God, he may have been said to have been a God on earth, just
in the same manner as God was pleased to say to Moses, Exodus vii. 1.
'I have made thee a God to Pharaoh;' and as magistrates are called Gods,
Psalm lxxxii. 1. 6. 'God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he
judgeth among the Gods. I have said ye are Gods;' which last verse our
Saviour cites, John x. 34. in vindication of himself against the Jews,
who stoned him, because, as they said, 'Thou, being a man, makest
thyself a God.' Agreeably to the language here made use of, it is said
in another place, that Christ, being in the form of God, or in the form
of a God, took upon himself the form of a servant. In this manner has
the above declaration of the evangelist been explained, by those who
maintain that the translation may be altered in the manner in which I
have exhibited it. But if it should be insisted that this alteration
is not countenanced by the idiom of the original, and the common
translation be retained, viz. 'and the word was God,' still this
language may be understood to intimate no more than a complete union of
counsels and designs between the word of life and God; so that the
authority of the one might be considered as the same as that of the
other; just in the same sense as Christ says, 'I and my Father are one;
' and 'he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.'"
From: Kenrick, Timothy (b.?-?). "An Exposition of the Historical
Writings of the New Testament." Vol. II, "Containing Those Parts of
Like Which Are Not Found in the Other Evangelists, and the Entire
Gospel According to John." (Birmingham, England: J. Belcher and Son,
1807), pages 210, 211.
Hope you enjoy,
Upper Marlboro, Maryland, USA.
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 01:15:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Col. 1:15, PRWTOTOKOS
DMCCARTNEY@HSLC.ORG (Dan G. McCartney) quoted and wrote as follows:
>David Moore writes, in response to my note:
>> Would not the O(TI of Col. 1:16 indicate that the reason He is the
>>Firstborn has to do with His activity in the creation of all things (vv.
>>16ff.)? ... [and much more].
>There is always danger in saying anything because you cannot at the same
>say everything. V. 15a says that Jesus is the _eikwn tou theou tou aoratou_
>and to this 15b is parallel. Thus v 15b presents Jesus as the one who,
>because he is the image (i.e. The Man) can be a head of creation. V. 16
>recognizes that there are other grounds for Jesus being "firstborn" because
>just being a human being would not itself qualify him. He is also firstborn
>inasmuch as he is the mediator of creation (en autw ektisthE). Thus he
>is *head* of creation by virtue of his both being a "part" of it (in a
>sense) and because he is also outside creation as its mediator. In the
>same way he is "part" of the church (v.18) and also outside it as mediator
>of its "creation" by his resurrection from the dead. V.19 and 20 reinforce
>the dual aspects -- all the _plErOma_ was pleased to dwell in him, and he
>reconciled all things *to Himself* (i.e. as God he was the one needing to be
>reconciled and as Firstborn he was the one qualified to do it. The complex
>inner workings of this passage I think are some of the strongest indications
>that Nicea got Paul and the rest of the NT right.
So, what about the O(TI of v. 16? Our exegesis should inform our
theology: our theological ideas should not demand preconceived answers from
Is there some parallelism between 15a and 15b? Perhaps. Nevertheless,
they are considerably different statements. Lightfoot's observation is
pretty convincing when he says about the two parts of v. 15, "The Person of
Christ is described _first_ in relation more especially to Deity, as EIKWN
TOU QEOU TOU AORATOU, and _secondly_ in relation more especially to created
things, as PRWTOTOKOS PASHS KTISEW." (J. B. Lightfoot, _St. Paul's Epistles
to the Colossians and Philemon_, [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1987
(Reprint)], p. 144).
For comments on the versification of the poetic or hymnic section (Col.
1:15-20) see Ralph P. Martin, _Colossians and Philemon_ (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1973), pp. 55-57, in which he refers to work by E. Schweizer.
Verses 15b through 17 is a very emphatic statement about the
pre-existence of Christ and His activity in the creation. In his commentary
on Colossians, in reference to the list of powers in vv. 16 and 17, C. F. D.
In any case, the cumulative effect of this catalogue of powers is to
emphasize the immeasurable superiority of Christ over whatever
rivals might, by the false teachers, be suggested: he is himself the
agent and the place of their creation, and their very _raison d'etre_
(Moule, _The Epistles to Colossians and to Philemon_ [Cambridge:
University Press, 1957], p. 66).
In this passage, it appears probable that Paul is speaking of the very sort
of beings that Greg Jordan refers to as demiurges, angels and archangels and
to those, among angelic rank, that Larry Hurtado has called grand viziers.
It is interesting to note that Paul ascribes superiority to Christ over all
such beings not on the basis of worship accorded to Him or to any of them
(Worship of such angels was a problem at Colossae.). Paul shows, rather,
that those creatures are dependent on Christ for their very existence and
that their reason for being is to serve His purposes.
"All the _plErOma_ was pleased to dwell in him." A better way to
translate, O(TI EN AUTW EUDOKHSEN PAN TO PLHRWMA KATOIKHSAI would be, "for it
pleased God that all the fullness dwell in Him," taking EUDOKHSEN as a
Hebraistic circumlocution to used to avoid naming God.
"As God he was the one needing to be reconciled...." Is that Nicene?
It sounds anthropocentric to me.
David L. Moore
From: Kenneth Litwak <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 94 09:05:34 PST
Subject: Re: son of man
First, sorry for the typo in your name in my post. Inexcusable.
Second, I am using divine in its primary sense, at least according to my
Webster's II: Having the nature of or being God. I don't, therefore,
accept the idea that anything else is divine but God, whatever
attributes it has, and using "divine" in the way you are leads IMHO to
confusion in the argument. So let's try this: restating your argument
while applying divine ONLY to a being that has the nature of or is God.
That way, at least we are talking about the same thing. Second, it
appears to me futile to continue this thread. Your exegesis and mine are
hopelessly divergent. For example, when Jesus tells the rich young ruler
there is no one goood but God, after the young man has called Jesus good,
Jesus MUST be doing either one of two things: 1) denying his own goodness
(which would be out of keeping with what else I think we can glean of his
self-undestanding); or 2) he is telling the young man that He is God. I
see no way around these two choices, unless of course you arbitrarily
throw out the pericope.
In other texts, I think you fail to see that making a distinction
between God the Father and Jesus does NOT require a distinction between
their natures. That's your interpretation. I'm not reading back
Nicea into the text, I hope. What I am doing is trying to come to grips
with the fact that the NT writers use language of Jesus that, to my mind,
demarcate him as divine in the sense I'm using it, without yet having
tried to come to terms themselves with a doctrinal formulation for that
reality. One such passage is 1 TIm 3:16. Even apart from the
textual question, it seems evident to me, at least, that when Paul says
the "mystery of godliness is great", he is certainly NOT talking about
piety. He has just been talking about what pertains to God. So he is
saying the musterion of godliness, i.e., what has been revealed about
God is awesome: He appeared in a body.... Again, back to 2 Peter,
while there may be some ambiguity, I think the most natural way to read
the verse is to say that kai links two nouns together as a compound
identification, i.e., the God and Saavior who is Jesus Christ.
I think you have raised significant issues, worthy of discussion, so I
would hope we can come to some common ground for disucssing them, since
it seems we are poles apart in our basic exegetical approaches.
From: "Dr. John M. Fossey" <JMFOSSEY@engah.lan.mcgill.ca>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 14:18:40 EST5EDT
I was given your address as one I should contact but I do not remember who gave it to me or
exactly what for! Can you inform me of the nature of your posting? Many thanks.
Dr. John M. Fossey, Art History, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Phone: (514) 398-6209; FAX: (514) 398-9076(private) or (514) 398-7247 (dept.);
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 17:06:26 -0500
Subject: Original Language Software
Thanks for the info. on the software. Would you let me know how to get more
info. - address, etc.
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 20:58:24 -0500
Subject: Re: Son of Man
firstname.lastname@example.org (Gregory Jordan (ENG)) quotes Ken Litwak and then
comments as follows:
>> I might also mention that the prologue of one of the epistles,
>>I think 2 Peter (which I accept as authentic) basicaaly says
>My edition reads 2 Peter 1-2 "...dikaiousunEi tou theou hEmOn kai sOtEros
>IEsou Khristou, ... en epignOsei tou theou kai IEsou tou kuriou hEmOn."
>"righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, ... through the
>knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." [NIV]. If you are going to deny
>that this passage is ambiguous ("righteousness of our God and of the
>savior Jesus the Messiah" in the first part; already distinct in the
>second), I will say you are mistaken; and if you say this passage should
>be read out of the context of the rest of the NT (and even 2 Peter 1:17),
>I will say you are making an even greater error.
It might be of interest to note here that individual Roman emperors
used, were referred to, and were addressed by titles like QEOU...KAI SWTHROS.
This practice first appeared in the Greek-speaking world among the Ptolemies
in Egypt where there was already a longstanding tradition of deification of
the ruler. Moulton & Milligan (s.v. QEOS) cite an inscription in which a
votive offering is dedicated in honor of one of the Ptolemaic kings, with the
words, *PTOLEMAIOU TOU SWTHROS KAI QEOU.
In light of the ascription of such terms as these to the Roman rulers,
we should seriously consider whether these same terms used in 2 Pet. 1:1 may
represent a statement by the Christian writer to the effect that, although
evil men had usurped such titles for themselves, to Christ they could be
ascribed truly, as to someone who really merited them.
David L. Moore
From: Carl W Conrad <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 21:45:24 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Son of Man
On Mon, 19 Dec 1994 Dvdmoore@aol.com wrote:
(considerable material deleted)
> It might be of interest to note here that individual Roman emperors
> used, were referred to, and were addressed by titles like QEOU...KAI SWTHROS.
> This practice first appeared in the Greek-speaking world among the Ptolemies
> in Egypt where there was already a longstanding tradition of deification of
> the ruler. Moulton & Milligan (s.v. QEOS) cite an inscription in which a
> votive offering is dedicated in honor of one of the Ptolemaic kings, with the
> words, *PTOLEMAIOU TOU SWTHROS KAI QEOU.
> In light of the ascription of such terms as these to the Roman rulers,
> we should seriously consider whether these same terms used in 2 Pet. 1:1 may
> represent a statement by the Christian writer to the effect that, although
> evil men had usurped such titles for themselves, to Christ they could be
> ascribed truly, as to someone who really merited them.
You might add Philippians 3.20 HMWN GAR TO POLITEYMA EN OYRANOIS YPARXEI,
EKS OY KAI SWTHRA APEKDEKHOMEQA KYRION IHSOUN XRISTON, ... as another
such statement by a Christian writer; here the political nature of the
language is blatant.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
From: Pete Cepuch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 94 21:07:05 MST
Subject: son of man
First, I'd like to thank all who have been discussing this term as the
discussion has been very interesting. I'd like to re-iterate that my
original post on this was an attempt to illustyrate the words of Jesus in
a Hebraic fashion i.e. the more we can get into a Hebraic mode with the
gospel materials we have the more we can understand some of the more
difficult sayings of Jesus. Our 20th century minds seem to seek for the
Jesus=God statement in these gospels, but obviously,its not as easy as that.
Some have commented in so many words that to continue on with this thread
is futile since there seems to be such divergence in opinion. I would agree
that at this point this is a good idea. however, the value of these kinds
of discussion is great due to the opportunity to react with people with
all types of backrounds and points of view etc. Perhaps, I should have said
interact instead of react:)
Now, it seems the idea of the Jesus=God discussion is evolving towards the
other NT writings. I think that this is much easier to illustrate as Ken
Litwak and David Moore have already begun to do. I would like to add to the
list a couple more:more fuel for the fire ,I suppose:)
In Col. 2:2,3 it reads:
in order that their hearts might be comforted having been knit together in
love and into all riches of the full assurance of the comprehension with
a view to accurate-knowledge( or full-knowledge or acknowledgement)of the
mystery of THE GOD CHRIST,
in WHOM are all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge hidden away.
In verse 2 we have tou mystEriou tou theou Xristou.
In 2 Thess. 2:16,17 it reads:
But,HIMSELF,the LORD of us Jesus Christ and(or perhaps it could be rendered-
even)the GOD our FATHER, the one-having-loved us and having given age-abiding
comfort and good hope in undeserved-favour,
MAY HE COMFORT your hearts and may HE establish in every work and word good.
In verse 16 we have a compound subject with 3 per. sing may he comfort in
It would seem Paul is talking about the same person, does it not? There is
much more to this, but as can be seen from the progressive revelation of
the scriptures that this idea of Jesus=God is surely is evident. As Paul
states in Eph. 4:6 ONE God and Father of all, the(one)over all and through
all and among all.
comore than react:
End of b-greek-digest V1 #518
** FOR YOUR REFERENCE **
To unsubscribe from this list write
with "unsubscribe b-greek-digest" as your message content. For other
automated services write to the above address with the message content
For further information, you can write the owner of the list at
You can send mail to the entire list via the address: