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

From: Williams, Wes (
Date: Tue Sep 02 1997 - 15:17:21 EDT

Paul Dixon wrote:
>> I do totally reject the translation "a god" because the
correct nuance of
> QEOS is qualitative, and "a god" can and probably would communicate
> indefiniteness here. <<
> I appreciate Rolf, Paul and Carl contributing to the clarification of
> the John 1:1c issue. I would like to point out a long unstated point
> here and then highlight some food for thought for all to maintain
> consistency of argumentation.
> I am glad to have the honor of stepping forward to be the first to
> state the obvious; that "a god" is a perfectly acceptable translation
> on grammatical and linguistic grounds without introducing theology; I
> repeat, without introducing theology. If we dislike "a" as a
> grammatical marker for qualitativeness since it may imply
> indefiniteness, then what do we do with John's "a sinner" "a king" "a
> prophet" "a disciple", etc., etc. If these are qualitative ONLY and
> not qualitative _and_ indefinite, then would we not be better off with
> "sinful" "kingly" "prophetic" "disciplish" (I invented a word here)?
> By the way, rejecting the possibility of indefiniteness with the John
> 1:1c QEOS (as in the above second clause) is a theological argument
> and not a grammatical one.
> >> The best translation may be one that clearly and unambiguously
> communicates qualitativeness, either "deity," "divine," or more
> paraphrastically, "all that the Father was in essence and being, that
> also was the Logos." <<
> Perhaps this is true with a "qualitative only" stance. But we do not
> do this with "a sinner" "a king" "a prophet" "a disciple" etc. Why
> would we do this at John 1:1 and not with these others? Grammar or
> theological predisposition? Carl's quotation of the NEB (not J.B.
> Phillips) is well taken "what God was, the Word was," is a good
> paraphrase if one is of the theological disposition of a "qualitative
> only" posture. Actually, I regard "what God was, the Word was" and the
> latter above as a "qualitative and definite" paraphrase and not
> qualitative only (divine, godlike). However, once again, we must be
> reminded that we do not do this with other precopulative anarthrous
> predicate nominatives in John.
> Having said all of this, "divine" and "godlike" are perfectly fine and
> acceptable "qualitative only" translations.
> Sincerely,
> Wes Williams

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