Re: Subject: Re: Jn 1:1, Colwell, Nelson Stdy Bible (Countability, Sense & Reference)

From: gjordan (
Date: Wed Sep 10 1997 - 13:35:04 EDT

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Rolf Furuli wrote:

> My thoughts here are in line with M.J.Harris "Jesus as God". Says he
> (63,64) "QEOS HN hW LOGOS does not exactly mean "the Word was divine"
> (QEIOS). Especially when there exists an adjective corresponding to a
> substantive, the anarthrous noun should not be deemed adjectival."

Because natural languages are routinely redundant, the existence of an
adjective QEIOS has no relevance whatsoever in determining the semantic
boundaries of QEOS. On the other hand, Harris seems to be saying that
QEOS is not a simple adjective, which is a commonsense observation.
Those who are claiming QEOS has a qualitative dimension are not arguing
that it should be considered an adjective.

> In 1:1 there is a LINGUISTIC unit of three clauses making one sentence.
> Reference is irrelevant for a linguistic analysis. In this verse we find
> two count nouns LOGOS and QEOS, occurring three and two times respectively.
> In 1:1c we find that ho LOGOS is subject and QEOS is PN. This is the
> linguistic analysis, and to claim AT THIS STAGE that QEOS with the article
> is not a count-noun but a proper name or a mass-noun (Greg Jourdan) is
> clearly wrong!

For the record, my last name is Jordan. But also, you seem to be
assuming that any given lexeme will inevitably be a count noun or not,
regardless of context and without consideration of multiple meanings. You
also seem to be assuming that any noun with a definite article must be a
count noun, which is not the case. But I did not claim that QEOS with
article was a mass noun etc., since almost all my remarks were concerning
the anarthrous QEOS. As for hO QEOS, I haven't looked into it, but it
seems to me from Hellenistic Jewish usage in many cases to be functioning
as a proper name, in this case, in the form of an epithet, but I think it
could also used to refer abstractly to divine essence/characteristics
(same as pagan signification); Greek probably could not signal the
difference in meaning, except by context (difficult to construe, of

I have similar reservations about your understanding of Hebrew elohim,
which is often understood as a plural abstract noun, conveying not
plurality but futher abstraction, and used as a proper epithet for YHWH,
while the same lexeme could be a simple plural of a concrete noun, etc.
But this is not the list to discuss the Hebrew, except to object that we
cannot assume "John" (author of Gospel of John) was a "Hebrew" for any

Greg Jordan

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:28 EDT