Dear HJH, List,
First let me agree with Paul Schmehl: 'Siker's article is more than a bit of
But I think you raise a much more interesting point, and one entirely
appropriate to the list, with your with your question: 'What do you -- all
of you -- think of his
(ie Bush's) interpretation of John 1:4-5?'
That is, you ask us to judge the merits of the the interpretation as
interpretation and not as some kind of threat to our constitution. My short
answer: I've seen worse.
In the first place, Bush picked the best readily available (to me) English
translation of Jn 1.5b, the RSV, which has 'and the darkness has not
*overcome* it.' The verb here is KATELABEN . The KJ and NIV have
*comprehended* and *understood* which strain the Greek and come out
nonsense in English . Also, The glossary in my Aland suggests *put (it)
Also, Jn 1.3a reads word for word: "All things through him (the LOGOS) came
to be" the verb is EGENETO--most or all of the translations I have seen say
The LOGOS 'made all things' -- quite a different feeling. The Greek gives
me the sense of a Philonic, even a nascent, neoPlatonic LOGOS-- a dynamic
plan, a set of divine principles, that 'BECAME flesh and tabernacled among
Now back to Bush's speech. He is obviously guilty of the implied compound
metaphor, by his use of Johannine language, which likens the LOGOS come Life
come Light to Liberty's beacon from life "in liberty and equality" from the
American Ideal, "liberty guided by conscience", etc.
A metaphor is not an equation; it only involves a likening in SOME respect.
A good metaphor---in some respect which we FEEL is true.
Taking the LOGOS as Gods living plan for us (and fo me at least, it is a
very possible interpretation of Jn1) are there no responsive metaphorical
chords in what Bush sets forth as the American ideal--value of human life,
freedom of conscience, hope for the future??
If no, then it deserves to be called a bad metaphor-- hardly 'idolatry' .
----- Original Message -----
From: "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <jefferyhodges@...>
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 2:40 AM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Siker: Bush, Faith, and Politics of Religion
> Thanks, Paul. I looked at Bush's speech. He stated:
> "The attack on our nation was also attack on the
> ideals that make us a nation. Our deepest national
> conviction is that every life is precious, because
> every life is the gift of a Creator who intended us to
> live in liberty and equality."
> Therefore, concerning the interpretation of his
> concluding words:
> "Ours is the cause of human dignity; freedom guided by
> conscience and guarded by peace. This ideal of America
> is the hope of all mankind. That hope drew millions to
> this harbor. That hope still lights our way. And the
> light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will
> not overcome it."
> Bush links the gift of life to dignity, liberty,
> equality, conscience, peace, hope, and light, and he
> seems to mean this gift of life/light by his
> expression "ideal of America."
> I would guess that given his strongly held evangelical
> views, Bush's private meaning is to point to Jesus as
> the Word. Thus, it seems that he's using the language
> of Civil Religion to express the content his personal
> Christian Religion.
> What do you -- all of you -- think of his
> interpretation of John 1:4-5?
> Jeffery Hodges
> Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges (Inv.) [Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley]
> Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)
> 447-791 Kyunggido, Osan-City
> Yangsandong 411
> South Korea
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