Date: Sat Sep 06 1997 - 20:24:05 EDT
Subj: Re: ALLOS and Jn. 1:1c/Was Anarthrous Subject
Date: 97-09-06 20:21:48 EDT
Your ability to maintain a high level of correspondence is commendable.
Please forgive me for my slow response.
In a message dated 97-09-05 12:15:28 EDT, you write:
You are absolutely right when you say that the context is important for the
understanding of any clause, including John 1:1c. But I think we ought to
emphasize that "context" can mean at least two things, one which is
subsumed under "language" and the other "subsumed" under theology. The one
subsumed under "language" can in turn have two members, one related to
syntax and the other to semantics.>>
I would like to limit my own observations primarily to the immediate literary
context at this time.
<< Let us apply this to John 1:1c.
Verse 1 consists of three clauses forming one sentence. This is exclusively
the "linguistic context". Everything else in John, in the whole Bible and
any relevant extrabiblical information is the "theological context". The
lack of article before QEOS in 1:1c has absolute no meaning in itself;
there are scores of examples of QEOS without article which denote the
Father, thus being specific and deserve capital "G" in English
translations. However, two occurrences of articular QEOS together with the
one lacking the article in the same "linguistic context" are highly
important (This is the use of the "syntactical context"). These facts
signals a difference between QEOS and hO QEOS, but not which kind of
There seem to be two suggestions that account for the difference on the
1. The same noun fills two different grammatical slots.
In 1:1b QEOS is the object of the preposition
The article and the accusative case are no surprise.
1:1c QEOS is a predicate nominative.
It is not a surprise that QEOS is not the subject, because hO LOGOS
is the subject in three consecutive clauses and the pronominal referent in
It is not a surprise for the predicate nominative to be anarthrous.
2. The articular QEOS followed by the anarthrous QEOS signals a change
in the referent.
It may seem possible to say that both suggestions can be true, but if the
grammar fully accounts for the use of the article, why is any further
explanation necessary? If it isn't broke, why fix it?
<<If we take a new look at our restricted "linguistic context",
we observe that QEOS is said to be PROS TON QEON. So we learn that QEOS is
another individual than hO THEOS with whom he has a relationship. But the
kind of relationship is not stated (This is the "semantic context"). And
this is as far as we come, if we restrict our investigation to language.>>
This seems based on two assumptions:
1. A switch in a noun from articular to anarthrous clearly signals (as an
essential function) a distinction between the referents (as opposed to a
logical relationship of amplification, for example)
2. PROS necessitates the association of two units and excludes a
relationship within a complex unit.
Neither assumption appears to be supported in a superficial skimming of the
gospel of John. You're welcome to convince me otherwise.
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