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[John_Lit] Re: John's Greek

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  • Carl W. Conrad
    ... So far as I know, Plato invented the word theology --he speaks in Bk 2 of the Republic about TUPOI PERI THS QEOLOGIAS. He may not be a theologian in the
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 18, 1999
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      At 10:16 AM -0400 9/18/99, Jim West wrote:
      >At 07:48 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:
      >
      >>The Logos with which According to John begins is, of course, totally
      >>characteristic of and natively Greek theology.
      >
      >It is indeed a part of Greek ideology (its a bit much to call Plato a
      >theologian- but I suppose that with a loose enough definition anyone can fit
      >that category).

      So far as I know, Plato invented the word "theology"--he speaks in Bk 2 of
      the Republic about TUPOI PERI THS QEOLOGIAS. He may not be a theologian in
      the sense in which the word's been used most commonly in the western
      European tradition, but it's not unheard of to use that term of Greek
      philosophy, and there is another classic work (I begin to get the sense
      that when I refer to a "classic," that means it can be ignored!), Werner
      Jaeger's Gifford Lectures, _Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers_.

      Actually the LOGOS doctrine goes back before Plato to Heraclitus, and a
      "Platonic" LOGOS doctrine as such doesn't come along until Philo "the Jew"
      writes (in Greek).

      >BUT- as the term is used by John, it reflects the Hebrew concept of Davar
      >(the word) rather than the Greek concept of the logos.

      I had thought the more common view was that, as used in John, the LOGOS
      conception derives more from the Hokhma/Sophia tradition; I certainly
      wouldn't want to rule out the Davar traditions as entering into it,
      however. What I would want most to insist upon is that it is a syncretistic
      complex of notions that ought not to be derived exclusively from any one
      source alone.

      >In other words, where you imply Greek influence I suggest Hebrew influence.
      >
      >The word "logos" frequently translates the hebrew "davar" in the LXX.
      >
      >Thus, the suggestion you make above that the logos is "totally" a remnant
      >of Greek "theology" (again, whatever that is supposed to be) is erroneous.

      Of course we've had this out before, Jim, in another forum, and we must
      agree to disagree on some points (I'll grant that the extent to which the
      Essenes were Hellenized may be questionable). I'd hope we agree that the
      LOGOS conception is neither exclusively Greek nor exclusively Jewish in its
      background. For my part, I think the Jewish background is pretty strong,
      but I think nevertheless that the prologue of John's gospel is hardly
      imaginable apart from the cross-fertilization of Greek and Jewish thinking.
      I think the problem in the assertion above is in the word, "totally."


      Carl W. Conrad
      Department of Classics/Washington University
      One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
      Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
      cwconrad@...
      WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
    • Jim West
      ... Absolutely. We are in 100% agreement on this point. ... Ok- totally. jim +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jim West, ThD email- jwest@highland.net web page-
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 18, 1999
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        At 11:52 AM 9/18/99 -0500, you wrote:

        >Of course we've had this out before, Jim, in another forum, and we must
        >agree to disagree on some points (I'll grant that the extent to which the
        >Essenes were Hellenized may be questionable). I'd hope we agree that the
        >LOGOS conception is neither exclusively Greek nor exclusively Jewish in its
        >background.

        Absolutely. We are in 100% agreement on this point.

        >For my part, I think the Jewish background is pretty strong,
        >but I think nevertheless that the prologue of John's gospel is hardly
        >imaginable apart from the cross-fertilization of Greek and Jewish thinking.
        >I think the problem in the assertion above is in the word, "totally."

        Ok- totally.


        jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Jim West, ThD
        email- jwest@...
        web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
      • Thatcher, Tom
        Jim et. al., I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE s Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 20, 1999
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          Jim et. al.,

          I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE's
          Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name to
          FE. Let me clarify by commenting specifically on the following exchange:

          ME:

          <<Many of the unusual features of Johannine style seem to result, in my
          view, from oral storytelling
          >techniques.>>

          JIM:

          <<What? So what??? At some point it was written down- in inelegant
          Greek.>>

          "So what" would be this. My impression from the string was that the Greek
          issue was somehow going to be brought into implications of FE's background
          and worldview--whether that worldview and background were "Hebrew" or
          "Greek."

          Literacy rates in the Roman Empire in the period of late Second Temple
          Judaim did not exceed 10%, and the number of people who could actually
          "write" anything down would be lower than that. Consequently, to refer to
          the classical authors as "elegant Greek" and then categoirze the other 90%
          of the population (or, truly, the other 99.999% of the population, if you
          want to use "the classical authors" as the baseline) seems to be a strained
          comparision. I am not certain, in other words, how acknowledging that
          John's Greek is "inelegant" (a very aesthetically biased term in the first
          place) when compared to Plato et. al. really provides relevant data for a
          discussion on authorship or FE's background, when at least 90% of the
          population of that period would have used the language in a similar way.

          I may, however, be missing your broader point.

          Respectfully,
          --tom thatcher

          "The Truth Will Set You Free"
          tom thatcher
          cbs&s
          (513) 244-8172
        • Kevin O'Brien
          I am a new member of the group (having just joined) and am very interested in contributing material to a topical current theme I have seen discussed in brief
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 26, 1999
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            I am a new member of the group (having just joined) and am very interested in contributing material to a topical current theme I have
            seen discussed in brief by Tom Thatcher and others in the group. The theme is John's Greek and how it has been communicated in the form
            we have today in the Gospel. To be brief in this opening communique: John 4:6 and John 13:25 in the use of hOUTWS puicture a lecturer --
            the B.D. relaying to those listening -- among whom was his son, the Evangelist and his principal notetaker his experiences with the
            Lord! It is highly significant that in hOUTWS we have a demonstrative adverb, to be translated as "like this", cewrtainly not the
            unintelligible translation, "just as he was". Here are two scenes in the same Gospel where first Jesus rested on the well of Jacob and
            secondly where the B.D. leaned back in a resting position on the Lord's breast. It is my contention that the B.D. demonstrated these two
            positions of rest in his own dining room at the Judaean Bethany and in the case of John 13:25 on the triclinium there where he showed
            how he did it!. I say the Evangelist was his son with many arguments in my published works -- one very important aspect of these claims
            solves the problem of the unified literary stylistics throughout the Gospel. The son in his formative years put into wrirting what his
            father the B.D. gave orally. Perhaps members of this group in their formative years under the parental roof absorbed the same idioms of
            speech, the same vocabulary and forms of vocal and literary expression as your parents. It certainly happened in my own case. Any takers
            on all this?

            Cheers
            Kevin O'Brien (Australia)




            .
            Thatcher, Tom wrote:

            > Jim et. al.,
            >
            > I apologize that my previous remarks on the possibly oral nature of FE's
            > Greek were so cryptic. First, I have no desire to attach a specific name to
            > FE. Let me clarify by commenting specifically on the following exchange:
            >
            > ME:
            >
            > <<Many of the unusual features of Johannine style seem to result, in my
            > view, from oral storytelling
            > >techniques.>>
            >
            > JIM:
            >
            > <<What? So what??? At some point it was written down- in inelegant
            > Greek.>>
            >
            > "So what" would be this. My impression from the string was that the Greek
            > issue was somehow going to be brought into implications of FE's background
            > and worldview--whether that worldview and background were "Hebrew" or
            > "Greek."
            >
            > Literacy rates in the Roman Empire in the period of late Second Temple
            > Judaim did not exceed 10%, and the number of people who could actually
            > "write" anything down would be lower than that. Consequently, to refer to
            > the classical authors as "elegant Greek" and then categoirze the other 90%
            > of the population (or, truly, the other 99.999% of the population, if you
            > want to use "the classical authors" as the baseline) seems to be a strained
            > comparision. I am not certain, in other words, how acknowledging that
            > John's Greek is "inelegant" (a very aesthetically biased term in the first
            > place) when compared to Plato et. al. really provides relevant data for a
            > discussion on authorship or FE's background, when at least 90% of the
            > population of that period would have used the language in a similar way.
            >
            > I may, however, be missing your broader point.
            >
            > Respectfully,
            > --tom thatcher
            >
            > "The Truth Will Set You Free"
            > tom thatcher
            > cbs&s
            > (513) 244-8172
            >
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