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

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Sat Aug 30 1997 - 20:05:50 EDT

On Sat, 30 Aug 1997 09:40:15 +0000 Clayton Bartholomew
<> writes:
>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
>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. The 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.

Au contraire, Matthew. By what rule in Greek would it be "natural" to
expect a predicate noun, preceding the verb and another noun, to be
"without the article"? Have I missed something? Only if one assumes
Colwell's rule, which assumes definiteness, should we expect the definite
noun to occur without the article in such a situation. But, we have to
assume definiteness to do so, and that begs the question.

>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
>not read it you are missing out.

Well, I haven't read him, but would certainly be open to doing so. I do
hate to miss out. But, I also hate it when guys bring up articles, don't
tell us the point or thesis of the article, then suggest we read it. Why
not wet our appetites by at least giving us his main point and argument?
If you can't do so now (no slam intended), then why not go back and
figure it out, then get back to us? That might be a more efficient use
of time and energy. Thanks.

Paul S. Dixon

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