ALLOS and Jn. 1:1c/Was Anarthrous Subject

Date: Fri Sep 05 1997 - 10:27:59 EDT

Dear Carl,

In a message dated 97-09-04 11:58:28 EDT, you write:

 At 10:28 AM -0500 9/4/97, wrote:
>My position is that if John intended a word play, he would have signalled
>by saying clearly KAI ALLOS QEOS HN O LOGOS. In fact, that would have a
>nice ring to it. If that is what John meant, I think it would have been
 hUMIN ... Interesting. That ALLON is something I've always been troubled
 by; I've even wanted to understand ALLON as a substantive (pronoun) object
 of DWSEI and view PARAKLHTON as an appositive (or predicate accusative) to
 ALLON. Might that not also be a possible way of reading KAI ALLOS QEOS HN
 hO LOGOS?>>

Friedel Selter and Colin Brown's article in the DNTT notes that ALLOS, used
as a noun or adjective, introduces a new person, thing or group. One might
make a case for my suggested phrase paralleling Jn. 14:16. One might make a
case that John was likely to use ALLOS at this point in that way.

<< I think that somewhat more "normal" (if there IS such a beast)
 Greek for this nuance would be KAI QEOS TIS HN hO LOGOS.>>

I see now that my suggested use of ALLOS was far from "normal." I don't want
to shoot myself in the foot and defend the use of ALLOS. I wanted to say
that in Jn. 1:1c, that John if wanted the noun QEOS to signal a different
referent than 1:1b and 2:2, one would expect at least some marking to
differentiate that this was "another God." I appreciate your observation:
an insertion of TIS would have signalled a change of referrent if that had
been John's intended meaning.
 <<>Participants in this discussion have argued about the grammatic
>of the clause in isolation at length. We should also consider the logical
>probabilities as far as its immediate literary context is concerned. There
>is also the cultural contextual issue that Paul Dixon has already raised.
 I think this is quite true, but it has been called to attention also by
 others and very nicely by Rolf in his most recent post under the other
 heading, "Re: Jn 1:1, Colwell, Nelson Stdy Bible." Personally I think that
 the context resolves the issue beyond doubt, BUT a lot of the argument
 really has turned on the question of the grammar of that little clause and
 the significance of the anarthrous noun QEOS before the copula. I'm not
 sure the questions involved there have been fully resolved as yet--or
 whether it's possible to achieve a consensus.>>

I know that several in the Jn. 1:1c, Colwell Stdy Bible thread suggested that
context was important. I don't remember reading any extensive treatments on
the context in the discussion, which is why I attempted bring it up at this
point--tacking it on the anarthrous subject issue.

I think I am struggling with the old "meaning derives from context vs.
meaning derives from philology/grammar/etc." issue. As you say, a case
could be made for context resolving the issue. I do understand that the
whole discussion revolves around Colwell's rule and the use of the anarthrous
noun to mark the predicate. However, it is also about the open options of
how the wording and grammar in 1:1c can be translated. In my book, context
should be one of the earliest considerations in eliminating options that may
be possible in a vacuum.

But, as you imply, I don't think that we can expect a consensus here.

Cindy Westfall

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