Re: Fw: My concluding thoughts on MONOGENES

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Mar 18 1997 - 08:44:54 EST

At 6:14 AM -0600 3/18/97, Martin A. Childs wrote:
>Well, I will not try to explain the Trinity any further than to point out
>that if the
>Father "begot" the Son, it is the Son's origin. Such a Son is not
>co-existent with the Father.
         [much omitted]
>I spoke with a Modern Greek speaker about it.
>He considered the word to mean "made only once" in the sense of a
>"custom-built" automobile. If the word has any sense of "onliness" it
>should be something like this.
>Christ is the Firstborn of all creation. If the term is limited to its
>application in the context of His incarnation, it should probably be
>something other than "begotten".
>>But I believe the meaning of MONOGENES
>> must come from a careful study of the context in which it is used, and
>> that is done I believe the two meanings that emerge, especially in filial
>> contexts, are "only" and "only-begotten."
>Which, again, you have stated in a conclusory fashion.
>Perhaps it is because you never moved from your original conviction that
>you were correct in your assumption.
>Your appeal to "context" for such "careful study" amuses me in light of the
>fact that you seem unaware of the contexts which must be addressed,
>both Johannine and LXX.
>Perhaps you should reconsider your "belief".
>It appears to be unfounded.

Insofar as these "concluding thoughts" are stating an interpretation of a
Biblical Greek text, they are certainly appropriate to discussion on the
list. But insofar as they are in promotion of a respondent's personal
doctrinal beliefs, they have moved beyond the proper scope of the list.
This is the point at which mutual respect of respondents fades and the
flames are about to break out. Whose benefit does that serve?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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