Re: "In the beginning was the word" (Jn 1:1a) <>

Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 23:12:41 EST

Let me try to suggest some things. To synthesize much of what Carl has
already laid out first and add an item or two missed:

1) LOGOS does not mean "word" as in smallest linguistic unit, true.
However, in Greek philosphy the speech act, LEGW, is the act of a reasoned
person. Barbarians by the way aren't reasonable beings, hence they only
speak "bar bar bar" noises.

2) LOGOS does mean (SCM? pointed this out if I recall) reason,

3) Carl I believe mentoined the connections to Genesis 1 and God speaking,
and of course the obvious echo of Jn 1.1 to Gen 1.1

4) Carl also mentioned Stoic philosophy and dear Heraclitus, "no one may
step into te same river twice" (*sigh* used to have that memorized in
Greek, but can't recall about half the line at the moment)

5) As well as Philo's LOGOS

6) And lest we forget the connections with TORAH, which is more properly
"teaching" than "law", and LOGOS can mean a tale, story, body of an
arguement or instruction

7) The fifth book of the Torah is called davirim, words, in Hebrew. And
if memory serves (I'm not near my Hebrew text to verify the exact phrase,
I apologize) when the Ezra and Nehemiah get up and read to the returned
exiles it is the devarim of Moses (or it could be devarim of God), that is
the "words of Moses" which leads to referring to the Scriptures as the
"word of ....."

8) The Targumim on Genesis have an intermediary agent at creation, memra,
one of whose meanings seems to be "word"

Now I would argue that LOGOS is in some senses all of these, what possible
English word or short phrase could cover this? Or word or phrase in
another language? Utterance doesn't. Word doesn't (wonder why Jermoe
chose Verbum for LOGOS---don't have the VL to check what others may have
made of it in Latin before Jerome.) In short, this is one place that I
think that no matter how we choose to render it, it won't quite fit what
is hapening in the Greek.


Larry Swain

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