RE: John 1:1

From: Peter Phillips (
Date: Mon Feb 02 1998 - 03:14:48 EST

I wonder whether we can rescue this from theology and return to Greek.
 There is little evidence whatsoever that the actual Greek word LOGOS was
ever used prior to the Johannine material to refer to a person. Philo
evidently used it as a title or theological concept but nowhere else (OK, I
qualify that, nowhere that I know of and you all know better...) is it
used as a person. Therefore for those reading/listening to the prologue
the first conceptual idea must surely have been a-personal. This would
stand wherever the Prologue comes in John's traditionsgeschichte and
whether or not John's readers knew the rest of the gospel.

Of course, once you've read the Prologue once, the first verse is never
read the same way again. Why? Well, I suggest simply for the reason that
Jonathan rules out below - he introduces a generally ambiguous concept
which he gradually modifies over the next few verses up to 14-17 when it is
particularised in Jesus.

There is evidence from mystery religions that this was a common form of
epiphany/evangelism in the first century. But no more, I've got a thesis
to finish writing on this so don't anyone publish this before I finish

Pete Phillips

From: Jonathan Robie []
Sent: 31 January 1998 21:07
To: Ron J Macy
Subject: Re: John 1:1

At 01:22 PM 1/31/98 -0600, Ron J Macy wrote:

>I can understand that verse 14 speaks of Logos being made flesh and
>dwelling among us refers to Jesus. Part of the question, then is, is
>there some linguistic situation that requires Logos in verse 1 to be
>Jesus as well? If so, what? If not, could (would, should) Logos in verse
>1 be something more encompasing than Jesus, based on the linguistics?

Well, the language never rescues us from needing to interpret things. I'm
sure you know that AUTOU does not mean "him", and can refer to any noun
with masculine gender as well as to a male being. But why should John make
such a big deal about introducing the concept of LOGOS, then
surreptitiously change what it refers to a few verses later without telling


Jonathan Robie

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