Re: The article for abstract nouns

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Mon Jan 05 1998 - 19:47:18 EST

On Sat, 03 Jan 1998 12:52:00 -0500 Al Kidd <> writes:


> It [(i.e., YHWH)] is everywhere a proper
> name, denoting the personal God and him
> only; whereas Elohim partakes more of the
> character of a common noun, denoting
> usually, indeed, but not necessarily nor
> uniformly, the Supreme. . . . The Hebrew
> may say the Elohim, the true God, in
> opposition to all false gods; but he
> never says the Jehovah, for Jehovah is
> the name of the true God only. He says
> again and again my God . . . ; but never
> my Jehovah, for when he says my God, he
> means Jehovah. He speaks of the God of
> Israel, but never of the Jehovah of
> Israel, for there is no other Jehovah.
> He speaks of the living God, but never
> of the living Jehovah, for he cannot
> conceive of Jehovah as other than
> living.
> So, in view of the material above, is the following
>statement not a logical summation--a real rule? namely:
> If a Greek writer wanted to make use of
> the common noun appellative QEOS as a
> definite descriptive reference to the God
> of the Bible, _and_ if he wanted it to
> function as a _title phrase_ having
> semantical equivalence to the divine name
> (YHWH), then he had first of all to
> articulate QEOS, and then to use it in a
> context that truly allows place for it as
> a grammatical (semologically justified)
> equivalent of the divine name
> (Jehovah/Yahweh).
> Now, it seems to me that the apostle John's use of QEOS in
>John 1:1b meets the rule, so that the apostle might just as
>well have written ". . . and the Logos was with Jehovah" for
>1:1b. His next use of QEOS, however, does not meet the rule,
>and cannot function as a personal-name reference either to
>the Logos or, as trinitarians would have it, to a Logos-
>incorporating, (triune) Godhead/Divinity. Consequently,
>is there not error in those English translations of John
>1:1c that give us "God" for John's predicative use of QEOS?
>Does not the logic in such translation (wrongfully) suggest
>to us readers of English that John 1:1c gives us a personal,
>proper name _equivalent_ for the Logos?

Well, you certainly get no argument here. But, hardly anybody
I know of these days is arguing that QEOS in Jn 1:1c is definite.
Colwell and others subsequently did argue that, but their
argumentation was logically fallacious. Most NT scholars today
seem to be taking QEOS in 1:1c qualitatively, and rightly so. The
anarthrous precopulative predicate nominative in John is almost
always qualitative.

This in no way, however, militates against the trinitarian position.
Even if hO QEOS refers only to YHWH by usage, and if YHWH
refers only to God the Father, this does not imply that hO LOGOS
cannot be QEOS, as John so affirms to the contrary. If the translation
"and the Word was God" is offensive or suggests otherwise, then let's
go with "and the Word was deity," or if that is still offensive, "the
was divine." The point is that all that hO QEOS was in essence and
being (1:1b) that also the Logos was. God the Father was QEOS and
the LOGOS was QEOS.


Paul Dixon

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:48 EDT