Jn 1:1, Colwell, Nelson Stdy Bible

From: Rolf Furuli (furuli@online.no)
Date: Fri Aug 29 1997 - 12:15:48 EDT

Paul Dixon wrote,

<In order to argue for definiteness one would have to consider at least a
<random sampling of anarthrous predicate nouns, then ascertain how many of
<them were definite (or qualitative). This is what I did. Well, I
<actually considered all the occurrences of the anarthrous predicate
<nominatives in John. My thesis argues that normally the anarthous
<predicate nominative in John is qualitative, especially when it precedes
<the verb (94% of occurrences).

Dear Paul,

Your thesis represents a great leap forward, because Colewellęs rule
greatly has been misused. We should not, however, discard Colewell
completely, although his rule cannot be applied to John 1:1c. In a comment
to your post Carl wrote: "I would think that one ought to determine first
what the Greek text CAN mean, and only then go on to make a judgment about
whether that accords with this or that theological position." These are
sound words,and taking them as a point of departure, I would like to ask
about the relation between what is qualitative, indefinite and definite.
The last two are mutually exclusive, but what about the first?

When you conclude that 94% of the predicate nominatives in John which
precedes the verb are qualitative, do you by this exclude that they also
can be qualitative and definite or qualitative and indefinite? Or applied
to John 1:1. We agree that QEOS is not definite, and your arguments that it
is qualitative are logical. However, can we exclude the possibility that
QEOS is BOTH qualitive and indefinite?

Recently there were some discussion on the Bible list concerning your
thesis, and the final conclusion were not drawn, so I use the opportunity
to ask for a clarification of your view.

Using only the grammar and syntax I see four possible English translations:
(1) "and the Word was God"
(2) "and god was the Word"
(3) "and the Word was divine"
(4) "and the Word was a god"
Do the conclusions of your thesis nullify any of these renderings, or are
all four compatible with your thesis?


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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