b-greek-digest V1 #817
b-greek-digest Wednesday, 9 August 1995 Volume 01 : Number 817
In this issue:
re: John Albu
John 1:1 and the JW's
John 3:16 (eis/into)
Re: Not a Science (WINBROW)
Re: Not a Science
Re: Not a Science
potos: is it excess?
Re: Information Request
PAS with/without article
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 01:53:13 -0400
From: MR ALAN R CRAIG <CSRT29A@prodigy.com>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 02:08:59 EDT
Subject: John 1:1c
- -- [ From: Alan R. Craig * EMC.Ver #2.10P ] --
Hello Mr. Conrad:
> > I think the real reason why nobody who has been regular on this
> > tackled this question is that there was an exhaustive discussion of
> > precisely this verselet and all the questions of the anarthrous
> > predicate
> > noun QEOS in it in the late winter or early spring. I think that
> > everything which anybody wanted to say was pretty much said then.
> > shame we don't have a public archive for the list; I think I can
> > together the entire correspondence for that thread and send it to
> > off-line if you would like, but I really don't think people want to
> > rehearse the very extensive discussion from earlier in the year.
No, I am not particularly interested in how some might have discussed
and/or exchanged their views on what this verse (in particular, clause
*means.* I am simply interested in having someone help me gather
those clauses (from all possible Greek sources) which parallel this
clause---meaning, those which have the precise word order (sentence
structure), that is, not just in the use of the anarthrous predicate
those which are also found precede the verb and the subject noun.
If you can help with this, I'd very much appreciate it.
Thanks for your interest and offer,
From: Eric Weiss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 95 8:55:44 -24000
Subject: re: John Albu
Who is this John Albu who continually refers to Jehovah's Witnesses'
doctrines and scripture translations? Is he a Greek scholar? Does he have
legitimate academic credentials? Is he just quoting from JW commentaries
that have been written to disprove orthodox Christian doctrines such as the
Trinity and the divinity and preexistence of Christ/the Logos? Or what?
From: "DR. KEN PULLIAM" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 08:23:45 -0700 (MST)
Subject: John 1:1 and the JW's
John Albu wrote advocating the JW (Arian) interpretation of John 1:1.
He quoted a number of obscure translations which seem to support his
interpretation. The fact is all of the standard translations in all
languages and the overwhelming majority of all translations (better
than 90%) would render the verse: "and the Word was God."
John is right to say that the anarthrous predicate nominative is
used to qualify or describe the subject. Theos does give the
qualitative nature of logos, as to his nature he was theos, i.e.
deity. The article by Harner in JBL is accurate but it does not
support the JW translation, and I don't think that he would like
being quoted in support of the NWT.
B. F. Westcott has a good comment on why there is no article before
Theos in John 1:1.
The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in iv.24. It
is necessarily without the article inasmuch as it describes the]
nature of the Word and does not identify His Person. It would be
pure Sabellianism to say "the Word as ho theos." No idea of
inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression,
simply affirms the true deity of the Word. (Comm. on John, p. 3)
By the way, it is interesting to note that in John 1:6, 12, 18 Theos
occurs without the article and clearly refers to God in the absolute
Ken R. Pulliam, Ph.D.
From: Craig Martin <CrMartin@sunbelt.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 14:35:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: John 3:16 (eis/into)
Thanks for all of your ideas on the usage of eis/into. At your prompting, I
did a little deeper study, and discovered the following:
The phrase "en piste*", "believe in" does not occur in the book of John.
Every occurrence of the phrase "believe in" is the Greek "eis piste*",
"believe into". What is interesting is that this particular phrase (eis
piste*) _only_ occurs when referring to believing into the person of
Christ, His name, or God. In other words, phrases like "believe en God","
believe en the Bible" "believe en the things I say" do not occur in John.
Note that every occurrence of "piste* eis" involves Christ, His name, or God:
John 1:12 - believe eis his name
John 3:15 - believe eis him
John 3:16 - believe eis him
John 3:18 - believing eis him /believed eis the name
John 3:36 - believe eis the son
John 6:29 - believe eis him
John 6:35 - believing eis me
John 6:40 - believing eis him
John 6:47 - believing eis me
John 7:38 - believing eis me
John 7:39 - believing esi him
John 9:35 - believe eis the Son of God
John 9:36 - believe eis him
John 11:25 -believing eis me
John 11:26 -living and believing eis me
John 11:48 - believe eis him
John 12:36 - believe eis the light
John 12:44 - believing eis me-believe eis me- (believe)eis Him
John 12:46 - believe esi me - en darkness not remain
John 14:1 - believe eis God and eis me believe
John 14:12 - believing eis me
John 16:9 - believe eis me
John 17:20 - believing eis me through their word
I believe this is significant, and could involve an idiom common to that
time, as some of us have pointed out.
I also think it significant that the term "piste* en", what we would
translate "believe in", does not occur whatsoever. Not that the idea of
believing in something, that is mental assent to the veracity of a truth,
does not occur. It is just that it does not occur with the wording "piste* en".
From: Craig Martin <CrMartin@sunbelt.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 14:35:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Not a Science (WINBROW)
thanks for our response.
>I would agree with Stephen Carlson in some good advice to you about
>translations, especially to use several and to use committee translations.
>In addition to the discussion of case and prepositions in my first post to
>you, you might examine the way the Greek preposition en is translated in the
>following examples with the dative case. The words in the Greek in
>parentheses are translated by the words in English in parentheses. Remember
>that we often use prepositions in English quite loosely. We ride ON a train
>but IN a plane. Context is extremely important in translations both words
This seems to be where everyone is heading in the discussion. Context is the
key in detemining the meaning.
Thanks for the following examples. I am not quite far enough along to
understand them fully, but I am looking at them. I just reviewed 527
instances of "theou" in the NT. What better way to either learn or get
>outws (en tais ekklhsias pasais) diatassomai. (I Cor. 7:17)
>In this way I give instructions (to all the churches) .
>kalon ergon hrgasato en (emoi). (Mark 14:6)
>She has done a good thing for (me).
From: Craig Martin <CrMartin@sunbelt.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 14:35:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Not a Science
Thanks for your insights and obvious effort in responding.
CC>I wouldn't say that translation is a "science" but rather that it is a
>"skill"--.... partly a matter of having traversed a given terrain back and
>forth sufficiently over a number of years to know the idioms and anticipate
the >rises and falls of the terrain traversed.
You are quite right. I guess there is no substitute for this.
CC>I really think that all of that is pretty obvious, and I wouldn't have
>bothered to state it but for the probing, troubled post that I am
Oh, I really was not troubled. Facinated... yes, and even excited that I
have found some folks such as yourself who can address these questions. I
really appreciate the overwhelming response from a large number of list
CC> That is very unlikely in this instance, but it
>is the possibility of this construction that has opened the way to the
>discussion we have had in recent months of the possibility of understanding
>PISTIS IHSOU XRISTOU as a subjective genitive and seriously considering
>that Paul's notion of "faith righteousness" is NOT the righteousness of
>one who has faith IN CHRIST but rather is the righteousness of one who
>emulates and appropriates CHRIST'S FAITH.
I remeber something about this, from Galatians 3 I think.
CC>On this sort of a question there is legitimate dispute, I would say. I
>would also guess that one's theological bias is likely to have an impact on
>what one thinks the Greek allows, but we might hope that we are more
>impartial in our judgments!
I guess this is partially where I was pointing. You just said it a lot clearer.
>As for "believe into"....There may be a Semitism
>behind this; I'm not so sure of that.
I considered this, and due to your above mentioned lack of experience on my
part, I don't know. I looked in a few texts on idoms and word pictures etc.
and found nothing. The search is still ongoing.
CC>However, going back to the question, why the phrase PISTIN QEOU should be
>translated in normal English as "faith IN God," the reason has to do with a
>different structure for verbal nouns in Greek and in English. English will
>permit a prepositional phrase ("in God") to function adjectivally to modify
>a noun; Greek will NOT permit a prepositional phrase to act that way unless
>it is enclosed with an article or an adjective (hH EIS TON QEON PISTIS,
>ALHQINH EIS TON QEON PISTIS). So we have to use the normal ENGLISH
>structure to translate a GREEK structure which is different.
Again. I might be sounding a little (lot) ignorant to you. But I wonder just
how much we miss because of the strain that exists in trying to force Greek
thinking into English words. There may well be a spiritual concept where one
"believes into Christ". We may very well "live by the faith of the Son of God".
What I am trying to say is that in the good faith effort to make things
understandable to our English minds, is it possible that translators miss
important truth from the Word?
CC>At any rate, if you look at a concordance (I've been looking at Schmoller),
>you'll see numerous instances of PISTIS with an objective genitive such as
>should be translated "faith in ..." and you'll see numerous instances of
>the verb PISTEUEIN construed with EIS + accusative in the sense "believe in
Very good! I was at work tonight thinking this very thing.
>>Is there a pure word for word translation somewhere that does not reflect
>>the opinion of a translator? I have an interlinear, and find similar
>>difference in it. I have Young's "Literal", and see similar inconsistancies.
>>Am I missing something? Or am I correct in saying that we are putting our
>>faith in the personal opinions of nevertheless good men.
- -snip more-
CC>I don't know if this helps much or not. But, to sum up, I'd say that
>there's an awful lot of any text that should not be in dispute whatsoever
>as to right translation; there are other points in the text where ambiguity
>opens the way to honest difference of opinion over the right translation;
>there are still other passages that are obscure to a greater or lesser
>extent and we try to exercise our collective problem-solving ability on
>them but may never reach a fully satisfactory consensus.
Thanks for your response Carl
From: Craig Martin <CrMartin@sunbelt.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 14:35:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Not a Science
Thanks for your helpful response Steve,
SC>We just had (late March) a huge discussion about Paul's use of
>PISTIS IHSOU XRISTOU, and a consensus quickly developed that the
>issue here is that PISTIS doesn't just have one meaning and that
>the genitive does not just have one meaning. PISTIS, often
>translated as "faith," can mean (a) belief, (b) trust, (c)
>belief-system, (d) faithfulness, etc.. The genitive QEOU can
>be, inter alia, subjective (i.e., God is doing the believing or
>being faithful) or objective (i.e., God is being believed in).
>Thus, the out-of-context phrase PISTIS QEOU can validly mean any
>of the following: (a) faith in God, (b) God's faith, (c) God's
>belief-system (i.e., Christianity, cf. Rv14:12), (d) God's
Do I understand this to mean the the phrase in question (Mk 11:22)could mean
any of the following?
"(you)have faith in God"
"(you)have God's faith"
"(you)have God's belief system"
"(you)have God's faithfulness"
SC>Unlike the situation in Paul's epistles where the context
>furnishes tantalizingly few clues to the meaning, the context of
>Mark 11:22 is quite helpful. Jesus follows up this command with
>an explanation encapsulated in v24 ("So I tell you, whatever you
>ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be
>yours." NRSV). Therefore, a translation like "have [your] trust
>in God" or "have faith in God" (KJV, NRSV) fits best with what
>Jesus is saying.
I think you are getting around to my approach of deciding how this phase is
to be translated. That is using the context in which it was used to decide
which of the four possible translations is correct. But I see the context
very different from what you see.
In the preceeding verses of Mark 11, Jesus cursed (used words) a fig tree,
saying that it would not bear fruit again forever. The next day He and the
apostles walked by the tree once again, and saw that it had dried up from
the roots (apparently overnight). The apostles were amazed, and noted it to
Jesus. Jesus responded to that amazment with the passage in question "echete
pistin theou":"have faith of God".
Mark 11:22 (YLT)
And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God;
He then continued with:
23 for verily I say to you, that whoever may say to this mount, Be taken up,
and be cast into the sea, and may not doubt in his heart, but may believe
that the things that he saith do come to pass, it shall be to him whatever
he may say.
It is my understanding that this is what He did to the fig tree, that is: He
spoke to it, believed He had what he said, and got it. He told the apostles
to do the same in v 22(have this same "faith of God"). Here, He is
explaining to them in greater detail just _how_ to exercise the "faith of
God" (as he did in cursing the fig tree).
He then expands the topic into the area of prayer(v23). Applying the same
principle to it.
>> I searched out every instance where theou is used in Mark, and found no case
>> where it was (or could be) translated "in God". Most were phrases like
>> "kingdom of God", and "Son of God. Obviously "kingdom in God" and "Son in
>> God" make no sence. Yet in this one instance it is rendered "in God".
>The issue is not whether the genitive is usually rendered as "in
>God." The issue here is what is the function of this genitive.
>The context clearly show that it is objective -- that God is the
>object of the faith. Normally objective genitives are rendered
>into English with "of," but for English verbs of believing, the
>English preposition "in" is the most appropriate. Therefore, the
>use of "in" depends more on the requirements of English grammar
>than those of Greek.
What I am hearing you say is that we could reasonably rendered 11:22 as:
"(you)have belief in God"
Where God is the object of the belief.
And that because of problems involving translating Greek into English.
I understand what you are saying about the problems we (english
speakers)have made for ourselves in the "faith/believe" useage.
I am thinking about:
the grace of God ( charis theou)
they have a zeal of God, ( autois oti zelon theou)
>> Also I see differences in the way that "eis" is translated. From my
>> textbooks, it is illustrated as a preposition denoting action or change:
>> starting at the "outside" of an object and ending at the "inside": hence
>> "into". Yet in John 3:16 the word is rendered "in" by almost everyone.
>> "pisteuon eis auton" = believe into him?
>I would submit that "believe into him" is simply not grammatical
>English. A minimum requirement of translation, I think, is that
>it should be grammatical in the target language. Furthermore, I
>note that the English preposition "in" can mean "into" as in "I
>went in the house."
I understand this. I think we discussed this on another list a while back.
"In" and "Into" are intechangable in english only if you substitute in for
into. It does not work if you substitute into for in.
"I went in the house." works for "I went into the house.
"I am into the house." does notwork as "I am in the house.
So I am not sure that into/eis can be substituted for in/en.
And I am not sure these rules exist in Greek.
CM>> Hence my conclusion that some translation is the _opinion_ of the
>> translator, and not rote.
SC>This will always be the case. In fact, this problem is inherent
>in any act of communication. To minimize the problems with
>translation, I recommend (a) use several translations, (b)
>prefer committee translations to individual translations, and
>(c) learn the source language. You should also learn a bit
>about textual criticism, because some differences in translation
>reflect differences in the Greek text used.
Good advice, of course...
>> Is there a pure word for word translation somewhere that does not reflect
>> the opinion of a translator? I have an interlinear, and find similar
>> difference in it. I have Young's "Literal", and see similar inconsistancies.
SC>No. There is no such thing as a "pure word for word translation."
>There do exist some very literal (formal equivalence) translations,
>such as the NASB.
>> Am I missing something? Or am I correct in saying that we are putting our
>> faith in the personal opinions of nevertheless good men.
>Not all. Greek is not a secret code available only to a select
>few. Anyone can with diligence learn it and bypass the translators.
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 15:16:01 -0400
Subject: potos: is it excess?
David Willis here,
On another list, we are discussing whether a non-medicinal moderate drinking
of alcoholic wine was prohibited in the NT. I would like to post a part of
that discussion for consideration and comment. Since my reference sources
are limited, I would appreciate input from those more knowledgable in the
language. My question would be, are there any "objective" and
"authoritative" sources that would support the idea that ~potos~ is ever used
to indicate non-excessive wine consumption...does it indicate alcohol
drinking in _any_ amount or only in excess? Here is the partial discussion
("Harry" is the other participant):
<< I've pretty much stayed out of the wine
matter in the past, but I feel the need to address this "banquetings is not
excess and is yet prohibited" argument. It is very frequently used by many
brethren, but is not correct. (Please note that all I might say here to
argue that moderate alcohol consumption is not a sin in no way should be
construed to indicate that I am not strongly opposed to its being consumed in
excess, which is sin.)
You (Harry) wrote:
<<The Greek word potos (translated "banquetings" in KJV, "carousings" in ASV,
and "drinking parties" in NKJV) simply means "a drinking." R.C. Trench in
_Synonyms of the New Testament_ says that the word potos denotes drinking
"not of necessity excessive" (p. 211). Since the obvious trend in 1 Pet 4:3
is of decreasing levels of alcoholic consumption, what amount of alcohol
would have been suggested by the word potos?>>
I have never heard this point about "decreasing levels" before. "Oinoflugia"
indeed seems more excessive and is listed first among the sins of drinking.
But the list is of many of the excesses of the Gentiles, not just drinking
sins, and one could not argue that the entire list was progressive from worst
to less bad, indeed some of these are wrong in any amount. "Lasciviousness"
and "lusts" start the list, and it ends with "abominable idolatries." Now
we know that there is no small amount of idolatry or lasciviousness that
would not be an "excess." So their being a sin and included in the list of
excesses was not because some level of involvement in a proper practice had
been surpassed. They were excesses because the Gentiles did them a lot, not
because necessarily because you had to do a lot of them to be a sin. That
really throws off the order of this progression when you look at the whole
list. That being said however, even if you were to look only at the drinking
sins, you could not establish that "potos" was a sin of drinking wine
"non-excessively" (in the sense of not going beyond a certain acceptible
You quote Trench (Richard C. Trench, _Synonyms of the NT_, p. 225-7) with
regard to "potos" which is very commonly done.
Interestingly, I have never found another lexicographer that would suggest
that potos is not drinking in excess, however I don't think Trench is saying
that either. It requires a very selective and prejudiced reading of Trench
to conclude that the use in I Pet. 4 is not referring to excess. This is the
only use of the word in the NT...and it is clearly used in connection with 2
other "drinking words" that DO mean excess. I have never heard of any
classical or extrabiblical uses of this word which would not imply excess
(except as possibly indicated by Trench in the LXX, with approval, see
Trench opens his section on these synonyms (including potos) with the
following: "The notion of riot and excess in wine is common to all these;
but this with differences and offering for contemplation differing points of
He says ~ALL~ IMPLY EXCESS IN WINE, including potos. (Harry, why did you not
include this in your quote...would this be what Skip would call "special
pleading?") Now Trench knew what he would be writing about potos about 10
lines later, so unless he was trying to confuse everyone why would he have
said "all imply excess in wine" and then later "not necessarily in excess"
if yours is a proper understanding of what he meant? Trench then equates in
meaning ~methe~ and ~potos~, saying they "are distinguishable as an abstract
and a concrete." What distinguishes these two words is not their meaning but
their way of expressing the same meaning of drunkeness. I wonder why he
didn't say that they were distinguishable as a matter of degree of
intoxication, or more precisely, as one being a matter of intoxication, the
other not. ~Methe~ very clearly means intoxicated, so what he meant was that
one word abstractly describes the state, while the other (potos) identifies
what concrete activity brings it about. We might similarly say someone who
was drunk had "been partying". A party need not include excessive drinking,
and not all parties are sins. But used in the way it is in I Pet. 4:3, the
context would make clear that a drunken state was implied.
When Trench says, "not of necessity excessive" he cites Gen. 19:3; 2 Sam.
3:20; and Esth. 4:14 (presumedly from the LXX) as instances. Note, he does
NOT cite I Pet. 4:3 for this meaning, and these cases from LXX are all of
APPROVED behavior. He then also cites I Sam. 25:36 and a classical source
where the word implies drunkeness.
Trench uses some similar language as he attempts to explain the connection of
~komos~ to the idea of being drunken. He writes, "At the same time komos is
often used of the company of revellers themselves; always a festal company,
but not of necessity riotous and drunken;(cites Euripides) ...Still the word
GENERALLY IMPLIES AS MUCH being applied in a special sense to the troop of
drunken revellers." I suppose one could take a part of this quote and misuse
it as Harry has taken a portion of Trench's definition of potos and conclude
that any "festal company" which is "neither riotous or drunken" is a sinful
activity. (Of course that would mess up the "progression" theory since komos
is supposed to be lesser form of intoxication). But Trench clearly said it
implies drunkeness. He also said as much of potos when he describes it as "a
drinking bout." A bout is a contest and is in no way an appropriate term to
apply to one's drinking, for instance, a small amount of alcoholic wine with
It seems that the nearest to Harry's view one could "almost" reach from
Trench is that the word can mean either excessive or not excessive, and that
the context must determine it. If this is correct, it would place Trench at
odds with every other source I've found. How could one establish from the
context of I Pet. 4:3 that the context requires that it be understood as not
in excess? This is the only NT passage I've heard referenced to support the
idea that any non-medicinal alcoholic consumption is sin, so why does the
context here indicate that, especially when it's listed as one of the
"excesses" of Gentiles and used with other words meaning drunkeness?>>
Regardles of which "side" your view may fall on, I would appreciate your help
with this. Thanks.
6728 Silver Tree Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46236
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 16:41:43 -0400
Subject: Information Request
I have two questions that I thought someone here in B-Greek might be able to
1) Does anyone know of a similar forum dedicated to Church History,
patristic study, etc.?
2) I just spent a few hours rummaging through Migne's _Patrologiae Cursus
Completus Series Latina_, and for those of you who share my miserable Latin
skills, it was a pain. I think we all know, though, that if we wish to
access the widest spectrum of information on Greek, we have to have some
level of proficiency in Latin. Anyone know of a semi-decent (or even bad)
program for drilling on Latin vocabulary and grammar? A Windows program
would be nice, but I'll take just about anything at this point.
Oh, I guess this makes the third request, but a few months ago there was talk
of scanning various manuscript sources and making them available for study,
comparison, collation, etc. Anything new come of this? I'd like to do some
collation work on some specific texts relevant to the charge of "tampering"
in the Alexandrian family, and I was wondering what, if anything, was now
* Recte Ambulamus ad Veritatem Evangelii *
* James White *
* Scholar In Residence Director of Ministries *
* College of Christian Studies Alpha and Omega Ministries *
* Grand Canyon University Orthopodeo@aol.com *
* Adjunct Professor---Golden Gate Seminary *
From: Vincent Broman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 95 15:08:43 PDT
Subject: Re: Information Request
James White, Orthopodeo@aol.com asked:
> Does anyone know of a similar forum dedicated to Church History,
> patristic study, etc.?
Check out email@example.com
> there was talk of scanning various manuscript sources...
This procedes under the "Electronic New Testament Manuscript Project",
which you can learn about at http://styx.uwa.edu.au/ENTMP/ on the WWW.
Negotiations are underway to do scanning of papyri images.
Some transcription is being done: I'm working on the Freer Gospels
and Tim Finney has done most of the pre-1000 MSS of Hebrews.
I've collected texts of major editions and there is a catalog of
MSS derived from the appendix of NA26. There is a mailing list
which can be joined by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The only MS actually transcribed and available on the Internet right _now_
is my Freer Gospels Matthew.
Vincent Broman, code 572 Bayside Email: email@example.com
Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Div.
San Diego, CA 92152-6147, USA Phone: +1 619 553 1641
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 95 21:12:35 -0600
Subject: PAS with/without article
In Eph. 3.15: EX hOU PASA PATRIA . . .
I realize that anarthrous PAS is usually partitive, thus the above phrase is
commonly translated "from whom every family . . . ."
But the author seems to contradict this rule in Eph. 2.21: EN hW PASA OIKODOMH,
which is surely to be read "in whom the whole house," not "in whom every
Am I wrong re. Eph. 2.21?
How "hard and fast" was the above stated rule?
Are there any other examples of this apparent solecism in Koine lit., New
Testament or elsewhere?
Could there be a Hebraism or Aramaism that sheds light on the question?
In the light of this antecedent, and since this section of Ephesians is
primarily concerned with describing the unity God has established among those
who were formerly separated, is not the NIV translation of "from whom the whole
family . . . " for EX hOU PASA PATRIA preferable to "from whom every family . .
Thanks in advance.
Perry L. Stepp, Baylor University
End of b-greek-digest V1 #817
** 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: