Date: Sat Mar 03 2001 - 02:00:02 EST
<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=2>In a message dated 3/1/2001 5:11:42 AM Central Standard Time,
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
<BR>To all with interest,
<BR>The fact that the word theos' in its second occurrence is without the
<BR>definite article (ho) and is placed before the verb in the sentence in Greek
<BR>is significant. Interestingly, translators that insist on rendering John
<BR>1:1, "The Word was God," do not hesitate to use the indefinite article (a,
<BR>an) in their rendering of other passages where a singular anarthrous
<BR>predicate noun occurs before the verb. Thus, at John 6:70, JBand KJ both
<BR>refer to Judas Iscariot as "a devil," and at John 9:17 they describe Jesus
<BR>as "a prophet."
<BR>This little discussion jogged a memory from my seminary days so I got out and
<BR>dusted off my venerable copy of C.F.D. Moule _An Idiom Book of New Testament
<BR>Greek_. On pp. 115, 16 he discusses this very question. He states,
<BR>"7. Much more recently, E.C. Colwell has made important observations on the
<BR>matter. He formulates and supports with evidence a rule 'to describe the use
<BR>of the article with definite predicate pronouns in sentences in which the
<BR>verb occurs. (1) Definite predicate nouns here regularly take the article.
<BR>(2) The exceptions are for the most part due to a change in word-order: (a)
<BR>definite predicate nouns which follow the verb (this is the usual order)
<BR>usually take the article; (b) definite predicate nouns which precede the verb
<BR>usually lack the article; (c) proper names regularly lack the article in the
<BR>predicate; (d) predicate nominatives in relative clauses regularly follow the
<BR>verb whether or not they have the article' (p. 20)."
<BR>"The bearing of 2 (b) above on certain famous problems becomes immediately
<BR>obvious; for instance (as Colwell himself points out) Matt. xxvii. 54 ALHQWS
<BR>QEOU hUIOS HN hOUTOS may, after all mean . . . the Son of God, the
<BR>omission of the article not necessitating the translation a Son of God.
<BR>Similarly it may the demands of this idiom , and not any intention to convey
<BR>a distinction in meaning, which create a contrast such as that between Matt.
<BR>xiii. 37 hO SPEIRWN . . . ESTIN hO hUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU and John v.27 hOTI
<BR>hUIOS ANQRWPOU ESTIN (cf. under 'Semitisms' II. vi.below, p. 177). More
<BR>striking still is the application of this canon to the much debated John i.
<BR>1. Is the omission of the article in QEOS HN hO LOGOS nothing more than a
<BR>matter of idiom? Middleton had already taken it as an instance of the article
<BR>being omitted simply because QEOS is 'the Predicate of a Preposition which
<BR>does not reciprocate'. Similarly Stauffer in T.W.N.T. III. 106 speaks of the
<BR>omission of the article as merely grammatically conditoned ('grammatisch
<BR>bedingt'); and he notes John viii. 54 QEOW hHMWN ESTIN, II Cor. v. 19 QEOS HN
<BR>EN XRISTWi KOSMON KATALASSWN hEAUTWi as predicate uses of QEOS without the
<BR>In your note regarding the APPARENT inconsistency with regard to John 6.70
<BR>and 9.17 as 'a devil' and 'a prophet' respectively, it must be evident that
<BR>this is NOT AT ALL AN INCONSISTENCY but is rather an application of the rule
<BR>since neither DIABOLOS nor PROFHTHS is a DEFINITE predicate noun.
<BR>There is really NO FRONTING (a very infelicitous description in my opinion --
<BR>what's it fronting for?). This is simply the NORMAL ORDER (see the quotation
<BR>above). A further note, in addition to Stauffer's observations quoted by
<BR>Moule above, QEOS may function as a substitute for or a representation of the
<BR>tetragrammaton and would therefore be consider to be definite. If so, it is
<BR>not entirely 'sui generis.' Therefore, Jn. 1.1 must be understood as "the
<BR>Word WAS (=) God" whereas Jn 6.70 must be understoo as one of you is A devil"
<BR>and Jn. 9.17 as "He is A prophet."
<BR>I must therefore opine than 'nihil obstat' except for the facts.
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