RE: John 1:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Feb 02 1998 - 06:56:35 EST

At 2:14 AM -0600 2/2/98, Peter Phillips wrote:
>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.

This may be so, but some would argue that Hellenistic Jewish notions of
HOKKMA/SOFIA which appears in allegorical personalization in Proverbs 8 and
in the Wisdom of Solomon are antecedents of the LOGOS conception in both
John's prologue and Philo--and if this is so, that might incline the first
readers of the Johannine prologue to understand the prologue in a
personalized manner.

It must be conceded that all we have to say about the first interpretations
of the Johannine prologue is deeply speculative. What is harder to argue,
however, is that the gospel itself is anything OTHER than a commentary on
the Prologue.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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