RE: Jn 1:1, Colwell, Nelson Stdy Bible

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Sat Aug 30 1997 - 05:40:15 EDT

Paul S. Dixon wrote:

This morning I purchased the new Nelson Study Bible. This is what I
found on p. 1756 regarding the translation of Jn 1:1c::

        "The best understanding of the translation, however, as
recognized by Greek scholars, is that since theos is a predicate
and precedes the noun logos and a verb, it is natural for it to
occur here without the article."

Zounds! Colwell's error revisited. This statement clearly reflects the
erroneous thinking whereby the converse of Colwell's rule is affirmed.


I don't have a copy of Nelson so I am limited to your quote. As I read it
your quote is not the Colwell error revisited because the ideas of
definite/indefinite do not occur in the quote. To quote above falls
short of stating the converse of Colwell's rule because the quote does
not state that QEOS is definite or indefinite. The statement is about a
predicate nominative which precedes the verb having or not having
the article, without drawing any other conclusions. If one were to read
this paragraph in context it might become Colwell's error revisited
but not as you quote it.

Murray J. Harris has a very fine treatment of John 1:1 in *Jesus As
God* (Baker 1992, pps 51-71). Harris discusses Colwell and his
interpretation of John 1:1. He disagrees with Colwell for reasons
somewhat different than yours. I will not attempt to give a synopsis
of Harris here which would be to do him a grave injustice. Harris' book
is a exceptionally fine example of lucid Greek exegesis. If you have
not read it you are missing out.

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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