[b-greek] Re: theos and ho theos'

From: Wes Williams (WesWilliams@usa.net)
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 01:20:20 EST

Summary: The existence of a class QEOS implies members of the class.
Progress beyond the class and think about the instantiated members of the
class, whether definite or indefinite.

Dear David,

you said:
> If I read Greg correctly, he says that to say "the Word was with God, and
> the Word was God" is bad grammar, because the Word can't be the God he was
> with.
> Here is a parallel from the Garden of Eden.
> In Genesis 5:1-2 we read:
> This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made
> him in the likeness of God.
> 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were
> created, he called them "man".

This is interesting but if you probe a bit deeper, you will see that this
actually supports Greg's argument of an indefinite "a god" at John 1:1c.

Whenever you have a concrete class describing a class of count nouns (like
"man" and "QEOS" and pencils and computers and other things that can be
pluralized), the class has members whenever the class is instantiated.
Those members can be referred to as definite, indefinite, or generic. In
your example, when class "man" (i.e. "mankind" or "humanity") is
instantiated, you have "a" man or "the man" or "man" (generic). The
multiple members of class "man" are indefinite. Adam and Eve are
indefinite members of class "man." It is true that they have the qualities
and attributes of class "man" **but they are ALSO members of that class!**
(print the previous sentence and post it on the refrigerator!)

In application to John 1:1b, you simply cannot refer to class QEOS without
avoiding the issue of instantiations of QEOS. **Do not stop thinking at
just the class!** In John 1:1b and c, there is one instantiation of class
QEOS identified as hO QEOS and a separate instantiation identifed as QEOS
who is *with* hO QEOS. The context makes clear the distinct QEOI by (1)
the lack of the article and (2) the hO QOES he is PROS in the same
immediate context. Since there is another instantiation of QEOS it argues
for indefiniteness in this context. This does not necessarily mean the
extreme of polytheism, but it makes us think about other senses for the
term QEOS in application to the LOGOS that makes it compatible with
first-century monotheism.

Therefore, simply translating QEOS as "G-god" to refer to a class but no
particular instantiation of the class or QEOS as a generic noun actually
forces one to face the conclusion that the class consists of plural
members, definite and indefinite.

Thus, following grammar, the QEOS of John 1:1c must be either definite or
indefinite. Since this anarthrous QEOS is *with* hO QEOS, can you see why
many opt for indefiniteness (rejecting definiteness and qualitativeness)
and remain in harmony with the rest of John's Christology?

Wes Williams

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:52 EDT