Re: John 1:1

Date: Thu Feb 12 1998 - 14:55:38 EST

Mark Joseph said:

<< This is interesting. Are you really saying that the underlying Hebrew is
 not germane here? Or its contribution to the mindset of John's readers?
 Is the only thing to be discussed on this list "grammar and semantics"?
 Greg Stafford said:
>Of course, in my opinion, it
>doesn't take him long to comment on the temporal nature of the LOGOS'
>existence (John 1:14, 18), but he does not do so in John 1:1. I understand
>that others differ in their view of these two verses, and I respect their
>opinions. But we are commenting on John 1:1 right now.

 Does this mean that we are not to take context into account when

How do gather from my words that I am suggesting any such thing? Of course,
John 1:1 contains the verbs form in question and the use of APKHi, so it is
fitting that we focus on the opening verse of the Prologue, primarily.
<< I understand that on this list Greek grammar is "OK" and theology is "not
 OK." Between those two are such things as historical and cultural
 background, literary context, etc., which I thought were appropriate,
 indeed necessary, for reading the Greek text correctly. Perhaps I was

If you mean the theology of the person we are interpreting, and that theology
is obtained as a result of a discussion of the Greek text, I don't think that
is inappropriate, is it, Carl? Of course, once we reach loggerheads on the
exegesis of an author, it is usually best to suspend the discussion until
things cool off.
>You also make
>an assertion about how a first-century Jewish Christian would understand
>John's use of EN ARKHi. Any chance you could provide some evidence
>that assertion?
 See Gen. 1:1. Whether or not the LXX has translated the words
 *correctly* is not important. The fact is, that Gen. 1:1 was translated
 that way. When John uses that phrase, EN ARKHi, he is bringing to the
 mind of his Jewish (Christian) reader the time to which Gen. 1:1 refers,
 which is why I made an (apparently inappropriate) comment as to what the
 Hebrew of Gen. 1:1 means.>>

Again, you are begging the question. What evidence do you have to support your
view of an "absolute beginning of time"? If the context reveals the meaning of
words, then Genesis 1:1 refers to the creation of the physical universe, as it
does several other times in the Bible.
Greg Stafford
University of Wisconsin

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