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[John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue - another view

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  • Peter Phillips
    Ok...thanks James and Ramsey and thanks especially for the references. I am wary of offering this as it may stir up a whole load of things...but... I am not
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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      Ok...thanks James and Ramsey and thanks especially for the references.

      I am wary of offering this as it may stir up a whole load of things...but...

      I am not very happy with the whole idea of linking baptism and the incarnation
      of the Word. Ramsey points to some problems, but then there is also John 8 -
      before Abraham was I am...but that could refer to the non-incarnate logos
      speaking 'through' Jesus.

      I don't have a problem with adoptionism in John. I don't want to read John as
      though it is supposed to be orthodoxy and so rule out a good reading.
      However, I am just not convinced that there are enough textual markers to make
      this reading possible for those reading John in the first/second century. Were those really as expert as you all seem to think they were. How many of them had read Philo and Jewish speculation on wisdom and Torah? How many of them had read Dunn and Talbert and so on and so had their presupposition pools prepared, as it were. Where are the hints for them to pick up any of this rather esoteric stuff about incarnation meaning the same as spiritual indwelling. If john mean that the Spirit came down upon Jesus then why say that the Logos became flesh? Was he such a bad communicator?

      Moreover, Word, Wisdom and Spirit are not synonyms in the first century texts, whatever
      Dunn suggests. More importantly, for all the suggestions that John 1 is some
      form of midrash on the Genesis myth, there are key problems with this. First
      of all, logos never appears in Gen 1-3 - nor does DABAR. God speaks creation
      into existence but that is different from the Psalmist saying much much later
      that God created by his word (Psalm 33.6). The Proverbs 8 and Sirach 24 passages are
      similarly lacking in specific reference. Indeed the Prologue works against them rather than with them.

      For the early readers of John to have picked up the references back to the
      Wisdom literature of Philo (who really understands what the heck Philo meant
      when he uses logos - do you think he does?) and so on, then they would need
      clear textual markers to it. There are none. Instead the only marker that
      stands out is logos. Philo's logos could not become incarnate, never. It was
      part of the kosmos noetos - an object of contemplation not reality. So John
      is not working on the same trajectory as Philo.

      So where is logos from and what are the markers. I suggest that the markers
      are very diffuse - not to specific texts like Gen 1-3, but rather to general
      religious speculation on the source of all things. Stoicism, the Corpus
      Hermeticum, Gnosticism, Philo, even Heraclitus use the term in such contexts. In the LXX DABAR ADONAI is often translated with rhema or phoné rather than logos. So even the Hebrew Bible hints may have not been as obvious as the NIV makes them!

      The point is that all of these 'sources' use logos to identify various ideas about what was
      there in the beginning - not to exegete Gen 1-3.

      In the end there are links to Genesis 1.1ff - the reference to 'in the
      beginning' (one word in Hebrew not three as someone said in a recent post);
      the reference to the role of logos in creation; the distinction between light
      and dark. But are these parallels/direct references or are they just
      coincidences because the two authors are talking about the same thing - how
      the world came to be, and they talk about that within the same tradition.

      So overall I am not convinced. I can see the possibilities. But that's the
      problem with John, he is not writing hard and fast doctrine lectures. He's
      writing speculative prose seeking to bring in as varied an audience as
      possible in order to convince people that they need to know this Jesus
      themselves and so have life in all its fullness.

      I don't think he thought as
      he was writing - ok I will hide a reference to the baptism here and make sure
      I don't mention water or Jordan or anything and see how many people will be
      fooled by it. That is a particularly arcane way of writing.

      Pete Phillips

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... I wonder if this doesn t have things backwards. Gen 1-2:4a is (with good reason) usually considered something that comes from the exilic period. And Ps.
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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        Peter Phillips wrote:

        > More importantly, for all the suggestions that John 1 is some
        > form of midrash on the Genesis myth, there are key problems with this. First
        > of all, logos never appears in Gen 1-3 - nor does DABAR. God speaks creation
        > into existence but that is different from the Psalmist saying much much later
        > that God created by his word (Psalm 33.6).

        I wonder if this doesn't have things backwards. Gen 1-2:4a is (with good reason) usually considered something that comes from the exilic period. And Ps. 36 is -- correct me if I am wrong -- earlier. If so, then why the "much .. later"?

        Yours,

        Jeffrey Gibson
        --

        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

        jgibson000@...
      • Peter Phillips
        Apologies, I must be brain-dead or simply don t know enough about the OT and my presupposition pool kicked in! Even better for my argument, though! If
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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          Apologies, I must be brain-dead or simply don't know enough about the OT and
          my presupposition pool kicked in!

          Even better for my argument, though! If dabar-adonai appeared in earlier
          speculation about creation but was undone in the exilic period, then the
          trajectory is away from logos-speculation rather than towards it!
          Interesting!

          Pete

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
          To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:01 PM
          Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue - another view


          > Peter Phillips wrote:
          >
          > > More importantly, for all the suggestions that John 1 is some
          > > form of midrash on the Genesis myth, there are key problems with this.
          First
          > > of all, logos never appears in Gen 1-3 - nor does DABAR. God speaks
          creation
          > > into existence but that is different from the Psalmist saying much much
          later
          > > that God created by his word (Psalm 33.6).
          >
          > I wonder if this doesn't have things backwards. Gen 1-2:4a is (with good
          reason) usually considered something that comes from the exilic period. And
          Ps. 36 is -- correct me if I am wrong -- earlier. If so, then why the "much
          .. later"?
          >
          > Yours,
          >
          > Jeffrey Gibson
          > --
          >
          > Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
          >
          > 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
          > Chicago, IL 60626
          >
          > jgibson000@...
          >
          >
          >
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        • McGrath, James
          I am wary of offering this as it may stir up a whole load of things...but... Stirring up things is good, I think - taking a look at
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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            <Peter wrote>
            I am wary of offering this as it may stir up a whole load of
            things...but...

            <Reply>
            Stirring up things is good, I think - taking a look at familiar texts
            and our assumptions about them is always a necessary activity. If we
            come back to the good old familiar conclusions, that's fine, but at
            least we'll accept them because we've wrestled with several possible
            interpretations, and not just by default!

            <Peter wrote>
            However, I am just not convinced that there are enough textual markers
            to make
            this reading possible for those reading John in the first/second
            century. Were those really as expert as you all seem to think they
            were. How many of them had read Philo and Jewish speculation on wisdom
            and Torah? How many of them had read Dunn and Talbert and so on and so
            had their presupposition pools prepared, as it were. Where are the
            hints for them to pick up any of this rather esoteric stuff about
            incarnation meaning the same as spiritual indwelling. If john mean that
            the Spirit came down upon Jesus then why say that the Logos became
            flesh? Was he such a bad communicator?

            <Reply>
            I never suggested that John had read Dunn or Talbert. But he probably
            was familiar with some of the ancient Jewish works they cite! In Wisdom
            of Solomon 9:1-2, for example, we read "O God of my fathers and Lord of
            mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, and by thy wisdom hast
            formed man...". Similarly in 9:17, we read "Who has learned thy counsel,
            unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?"
            This is just one sample of the fact that Wisdom, Word, and Spirit are
            used regularly in synonymous parallelism in texts before and after John.
            The evidence suggests that the presuppositions of his readers would have
            been that these terms all refer to the same thing. The question for me
            is why we should assume he meant something other than what his earliest
            readers would most likely have understood. And, in answer to your last
            question, John does say that the Spirit came upon Jesus. If this is a
            separate event from the descent of the Logos, then you have the descent
            of two divine persons, which seems to me to cry out for some explanation
            of its significance and meaning!

            <Peter wrote>
            I don't think he thought as
            he was writing - ok I will hide a reference to the baptism here and make
            sure
            I don't mention water or Jordan or anything and see how many people will
            be
            fooled by it. That is a particularly arcane way of writing.

            <Reply>
            In view of John's clear emphasis on Jesus' superiority to the Baptist,
            this would simply be a way of avoiding reference to what other early
            Gospels clearly indicate was a difficult and controversial event. This
            is no more implausible than that Matthew thought 'Oh, OK, I'll make John
            object to being baptized and see how many people will believe that'.
            Lots of people do ignore the fact that this is a later addition, not
            found in Mark (or Luke or John, for that matter). So John's way of going
            about it is much less problematic that that of Matthew - he simply
            doesn't mention the baptism event, but focuses all attention on the
            descent of the Spirit and John the Baptist's witness to his own
            subordinate status.

            I hope you have stirred things up! This is a worthwhile conversation,
            and I hope it will continue!

            Best wishes,

            James McGrath
          • Peter Phillips
            In Wisdom of Solomon 9:1-2, for example, we read O God of my fathers and Lord of ... Yes. Craig Evans Word and Glory has listed hundreds of
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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              <James wrote>
              In Wisdom of Solomon 9:1-2, for example, we read "O God of my fathers and
              Lord of
              > mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, and by thy wisdom hast
              > formed man...". Similarly in 9:17, we read "Who has learned thy counsel,
              > unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?"
              > This is just one sample of the fact that Wisdom, Word, and Spirit are
              > used regularly in synonymous parallelism in texts before and after John

              Yes. Craig Evans Word and Glory has listed hundreds of similar quotations.
              But I don't think that actually reading the texts in their context allows us
              to make the assumption that x and y are mentioned in the same sentence and
              are therefore used in parallel and are therefore synonyms.

              For example, let's take the example you have used: Wisdom 9:1-2 does not use
              LOGOS and SOPHIA in the same construction - LOGOS is used anarthrously in
              the dative but as part of a prepositional phrase with EN, whereas SOPHIA is
              used with the article and in the dative but without preposition. The
              differences could just be to fit in with the metre...but how good an
              argument is that?

              A direct translation might be: (God of fathers and lord of mercy,) who has
              made all things in word of you and with the wisdom of you has formed
              humanity. Now we can then choose to translate this in better English as
              "who made all things by your word and formed humanity by your wisdom". It's
              a nice parallel but it is not the parallel of the original language. With
              the focus in Wisdom on the relationship between Torah and Logos, the verse
              might be better translated as "who made all things in your word, and with
              your wisdom fashioned humanity" - and see in this a reference to the divine
              plan...we could even throw in a trendy reference to 1QS11.11 which talks of
              "all things come to be in accordance with God's plan". The first reference
              could refer to the pattern of creation in the pre-existent Torah, whilst the
              second simply assigns wisdom to God who fashions humanity. it is not saying
              that Logos created and Wisdom fashioned and that they are the same thing.

              Now compare this with a proper parallel - Wisdom 9.1 where both QEE and
              KURIE are in the vocative form and followed by a genitive. So here we are
              not talking about two separate ideas but one, spoken of by the use of two
              synonyms.

              I am not convinced, yet, that the background material really allows us to
              say that Wisdom, Word and Spirit are all part of the one muddle in Jewish
              heads in second Temple Judaism. I think there was a battle raging about
              Wisdom - either remote Wisdom as in Proverbs 8, or available Wisdom as in
              the Torah. It may well be that the former was discussed in terms of Spirit
              whilst the latter in terms of the Law. But that is certainly not saying
              that they were all but synonyms in the mind of John's readers. In fact the
              debate suggests that clear lines of demarcation would have been drawn -
              particularly between Torah/Logos and Wisdom/Spirit.

              And I am still not convinced that John 1.14 has anything whatsoever to do
              with Baptism.

              Pete

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "McGrath, James" <jfmcgrat@...>
              To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 3:29 PM
              Subject: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue - another view


              > <Peter wrote>
              > I am wary of offering this as it may stir up a whole load of
              > things...but...
              >
              > <Reply>
              > Stirring up things is good, I think - taking a look at familiar texts
              > and our assumptions about them is always a necessary activity. If we
              > come back to the good old familiar conclusions, that's fine, but at
              > least we'll accept them because we've wrestled with several possible
              > interpretations, and not just by default!
              >
              > <Peter wrote>
              > However, I am just not convinced that there are enough textual markers
              > to make
              > this reading possible for those reading John in the first/second
              > century. Were those really as expert as you all seem to think they
              > were. How many of them had read Philo and Jewish speculation on wisdom
              > and Torah? How many of them had read Dunn and Talbert and so on and so
              > had their presupposition pools prepared, as it were. Where are the
              > hints for them to pick up any of this rather esoteric stuff about
              > incarnation meaning the same as spiritual indwelling. If john mean that
              > the Spirit came down upon Jesus then why say that the Logos became
              > flesh? Was he such a bad communicator?
              >
              > <Reply>
              > I never suggested that John had read Dunn or Talbert. But he probably
              > was familiar with some of the ancient Jewish works they cite! In Wisdom
              > of Solomon 9:1-2, for example, we read "O God of my fathers and Lord of
              > mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, and by thy wisdom hast
              > formed man...". Similarly in 9:17, we read "Who has learned thy counsel,
              > unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?"
              > This is just one sample of the fact that Wisdom, Word, and Spirit are
              > used regularly in synonymous parallelism in texts before and after John.
              > The evidence suggests that the presuppositions of his readers would have
              > been that these terms all refer to the same thing. The question for me
              > is why we should assume he meant something other than what his earliest
              > readers would most likely have understood. And, in answer to your last
              > question, John does say that the Spirit came upon Jesus. If this is a
              > separate event from the descent of the Logos, then you have the descent
              > of two divine persons, which seems to me to cry out for some explanation
              > of its significance and meaning!
              >
              > <Peter wrote>
              > I don't think he thought as
              > he was writing - ok I will hide a reference to the baptism here and make
              > sure
              > I don't mention water or Jordan or anything and see how many people will
              > be
              > fooled by it. That is a particularly arcane way of writing.
              >
              > <Reply>
              > In view of John's clear emphasis on Jesus' superiority to the Baptist,
              > this would simply be a way of avoiding reference to what other early
              > Gospels clearly indicate was a difficult and controversial event. This
              > is no more implausible than that Matthew thought 'Oh, OK, I'll make John
              > object to being baptized and see how many people will believe that'.
              > Lots of people do ignore the fact that this is a later addition, not
              > found in Mark (or Luke or John, for that matter). So John's way of going
              > about it is much less problematic that that of Matthew - he simply
              > doesn't mention the baptism event, but focuses all attention on the
              > descent of the Spirit and John the Baptist's witness to his own
              > subordinate status.
              >
              > I hope you have stirred things up! This is a worthwhile conversation,
              > and I hope it will continue!
              >
              > Best wishes,
              >
              > James McGrath
              >
              >
              >
              >
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              >
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              >
              >
              >
            • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
              Dear Pete, I may be alone in this but, in answer to your: I would suggest that John s use of it comes
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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                Dear Pete,

                I may be alone in this but, in answer to your:

                <<<So where is logos from and what are the markers?>>>

                I would suggest that John's use of it comes from Rev 19:11-13.
                That is, the Revelation preceded the gospel. I suspect that the
                Revelation was given in mid-62 and the gospel written following
                Nero's death in late 68. In that case, the title 'Word of God' and
                the victorious image of Jesus with which it was associated had
                been used for around six years to exhort the believers in the face
                of the tribulations expected before the parousia. The gospel was
                part of the response (as also, I think, were Matthew and Luke) to:
                a. the crisis resulting from the failure of Jesus to return at that
                time and, therefore, the apostles' mistaken expectation and
                teaching that he would, and
                b. the need for written material for a Church which might outlast
                the remaining apostles and eyewitnesses.
                The title for Jesus, 'The Word of God', then, was well known
                throughout the Church and readily understood as a reference to
                him in John's prologue.

                Sincerely,

                Kym Smith
                Adelaide
                South Australia
                khs@...
              • fmmccoy
                ... From: Peter Phillips To: Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 8:42 AM Subject:
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Peter Phillips" <p.m.phillips@...>
                  To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 8:42 AM
                  Subject: [John_Lit] Word and Spirit in the prologue - another view


                  For the early readers of John to have picked up the references back to the
                  Wisdom literature of Philo (who really understands what the heck Philo meant
                  when he uses logos - do you think he does?) and so on, then they would need
                  clear textual markers to it. There are none. Instead the only marker that
                  stands out is logos. Philo's logos could not become incarnate, never. It
                  was part of the kosmos noetos - an object of contemplation not reality. So
                  John is not working on the same trajectory as Philo.

                  So where is logos from and what are the markers. I suggest that the markers
                  are very diffuse - not to specific texts like Gen 1-3, but rather to general
                  religious speculation on the source of all things. Stoicism, the Corpus
                  Hermeticum, Gnosticism, Philo, even Heraclitus use the term in such
                  contexts. In the LXX DABAR ADONAI is often translated with rhema or phoné
                  rather than logos. So even the Hebrew Bible hints may have not been as
                  obvious as the NIV makes them!

                  The point is that all of these 'sources' use logos to identify various ideas
                  about what was there in the beginning - not to exegete Gen 1-3.

                  In the end there are links to Genesis 1.1ff - the reference to 'in the
                  beginning' (one word in Hebrew not three as someone said in a recent post);
                  the reference to the role of logos in creation; the distinction between
                  light and dark. But are these parallels/direct references or are they just
                  coincidences because the two authors are talking about the same thing - how
                  the world came to be, and they talk about that within the same tradition.


                  Dear Peter Philips:

                  However, it appears that 1:1-3 is a meditation on Gen 1:1 (LXX) and, in it,
                  the Logos is Philo's Logos.

                  Let us look at Gen 1:1 (LXX), "En arche epoiesen ho Theos to ouranon kai ten
                  gen." (In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth.").

                  From the viewpoint of Philonic thought, "arche" has two levels of meaning.

                  On the first level of meaning, it means the period before time began. So,
                  in Op (26), he states, "Then he says that 'In the beginning God made the
                  heaven and the earth,' taking 'beginning' not, as some think, in a
                  chronological sense, for time there was not before there was a world. Time
                  began simultaneously with the world or after it."

                  On the second level of meaning, it is the Logos. So, in Conf (146), he
                  speaks about "the Word (logon), who holds the eldership among the angels,
                  their ruler as it were. And many names are his, for he is called, 'the
                  Beginning (arche)',..."

                  Now, let us look at John 1:la, "En arche en ho Logos." From the
                  perspective of Philonic thought, we see, here, a pun: In the beginning (in
                  the sense of the period before time) was the Logos (the Beginning).

                  So, I suggest, the author of John did know something about Philo's Logos and
                  speaks about Philo's Logos in 1:1a. Further, he is meditating on Gen 1:1
                  (LXX) while doing this.

                  Now, let us re-look at Gen 1:1a (LXX), "En arche epoiesen ho Theos". One
                  thing that this tells us is that, when "arche" is taken in its sense as
                  "Logos", the Logos was with God.

                  Let us now look at John 1:1b, "Kai ho Logos en pros ton Theon" (And the
                  Logos was with God). What I suggest, then, is that the author of John,
                  here, continues to meditate on Gen 1:1.

                  Now, let us add in another wrinkle. That is, according to Philo, the Logos
                  has the title of God. So, in Som i (230), Philo states, "Here (Gen 31:13)
                  it gives the title of 'God (Theon)' to his chief Word (Logon)".

                  This relates to Gen 1:1, "En arche epoiesen ho Theos to ouranon kai ten
                  gen." (In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth."). In
                  particular, it means that, on one level of meaning, Theos is the Logos.

                  Now, let us look at John 1:1c, "Kai Theos en ho Logos." (And the Word was
                  God). Here, I suggest, the author of John is continuing his mediation of
                  Gen 1:1 and identifying the Theos of Gen 1:1 as being, on one level of
                  meaning, the Logos.

                  Having established, in 1:1, that the Logos was in the beginning (in the
                  sense of the period before time) and was with God, the author of John next
                  puts the two ideas together in 1:2, "Houtos en en arche pros ton Theon."
                  "He was in the beginning with God."

                  Now, let us return again to Gen 1:1, "En arche epoiesen ho Theos to ouranon
                  kai ten gen." (In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth."). If
                  we take "arche" in its sense as the period before time and Theos in its
                  sense as the Logos, then it tells us that, in the period before time, the
                  Logos made the heaven and the earth.

                  Next, let us look at 1:3a-b, "Panta di autou egeneto kai chwris auto egeneto
                  oude hen." ("All things came to be through him and without him came to
                  be not one thing."). Here, I suggest, we have an expression of this idea
                  that, before time, the Logos made the Cosmos. So, it would appear,
                  the author of John is continuing to meditate on Gen 1:1.

                  This falls far short of a thorough-going analysis of Gen. 1:1 from a
                  Philonic perspective. For example, in Philonic thought, the heaven and the
                  earth are the visible Cosmos only on one level of meaning. On another level
                  of meaning, they are the incoporeal Cosmos, the world of ideas, that is the
                  Pattern for the visible Cosmos. On yet a third level of meaning, they are
                  mind and sense-perception.

                  In any event, the basic point I'm trying to make here is that John 1:1-3
                  appears to be a meditation on Gen 1:1 from a Philonic perspective--although
                  an incomplete meditation. Further, the author of it appears to be aware of
                  Philo's Logos and speaks of Philo's Logos.

                  If so, then there are these important implications: (1) John 1:1-3 is based
                  on Gen 1:1, and (2) the Logos of the Prologue is based on Philo's
                  Logos--even though it not be identical to Philo's Logos, e.g., it becomes
                  flesh.

                  Regards,

                  Frank McCoy
                  1809 N. English Apt. 17
                  Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                • John Lupia
                  To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com From: Pete Phillips ... Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:36:23 -0000 Subject: Re: [John_Lit]
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 9, 2003
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                    To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
                    From: "Pete Phillips" <p.m.phillips@...>
                    | This is Spam | Add to Address Book
                    Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:36:23 -0000
                    Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: Word and Spirit in the
                    prologue


                    Peter Phillips:
                    I was simply suggesting that you take Arche out of its
                    preositional phrase and so make it parallel with
                    Logos.


                    John Lupia:
                    I thought that was your objection but needed to hear
                    you state it yourself. The general grammatical rule is
                    that EN is exclusively dative, which is usually a
                    reference to place location. Based on that ARCH is
                    usually translated as �beginning� since it
                    superficially best satisfies the demands for a dative
                    place location, hence, �In the beginning�; the same
                    way that English translations of EN ARCH in Genesis
                    1:1 are also rendered. However, the dative case does
                    not necessitate every single case be a referent to a
                    geodesic place. Even in the translation �In the
                    beginning� the sense could not mean a physical place
                    since it would be a contradiction to the contextual
                    sense of the creation account in verse 3. This leaves
                    the necessary requirement of philosophical analysis to
                    construe the sense of �beginning� not as a temporal
                    place but the qualitatively different mode of
                    existence of God to transcend time existing in
                    eternity in a realm that ancient philosopher's called
                    the pleroma. With this necessary understanding the
                    sense of John 1:1 is: �In the pleroma was the Word�.
                    This sense is certainly correct, but not correct, at
                    least in my opinion, according to Aristotle�s
                    definition of truth, which states that the whole truth
                    and not just part must be stated. So, it is
                    convenient that �In the beginning� has been the
                    accepted sense so long since an essential aspect of
                    the import of what St. John was saying is successfully
                    communicated, but not the whole truth.

                    My suggestion that the singular feminine noun ARCH is
                    a referent to Aristotelian metaphysics enhances the
                    well-established sense and allows the reader to
                    comprehend a fuller view. Certainly the Second Person
                    of the Trinity existed within the Godhead from all
                    eternity in the pleroma. That is a basic premise and
                    nearly unanimous across all sects of Christianity.
                    However, it appears that St. John was not merely
                    stating this basic theological tenet but stating
                    something deeper. The Peripatetic doctrine �first
                    principle and cause of all creation� is an alternate
                    or philosophical name for God, which can be used as a
                    synonym that gives God this title based on one of His
                    attributes that can be predicated in philosophical
                    terms. With this in mind reading John 1:1 calling God
                    by His philosophical name �first principle and cause
                    of all creation� not only maintains him in the pleroma
                    (realm of eternity) but focuses on his attribute of
                    Creator for which St. John has carefully selected this
                    term in order to build his text to express not only
                    the divinity of Jesus Christ, or his pre-existence,
                    but state unequivocally His role in creation, which is
                    concretized in verse 3. With this understanding the
                    reader can see how St. John produced his text with
                    great finesse to make this a logically clear and
                    spelled out doctrine.

                    The complaint you have about my having removed ARCH
                    out of its prepositional phrase is not necessarily
                    justified based on the rules of grammar, but if you
                    insist on a preposition to be included simply place
                    the English word �Within� before the phrase �first
                    principle and cause of all creation�. This will
                    produce a reading with the sense that �Within God was
                    the Word� with God here expressed by his philosophical
                    name ARCH meaning �first principle and cause of all
                    creation�. This produces a very lucid description of
                    Trinitarian doctrine that the pre-existent Christ
                    lived within the God.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    The two lexemes have different syntagmatic roles.


                    John Lupia:
                    I am unclear if you mean syntagma, as a string of
                    �signs� or words forming a unit of meaning in syntax.
                    A term first used by the Dutch philologist Willem
                    Canter (1542-1575) in his book Syntagma published in
                    1566. Adopted by the Genevan linguist, Fredinand de
                    Saussure (1857-1913), in Cours de linguistique
                    g�n�rale (1916), to describe the linear and additive
                    value of signs like mathematical equations, which he
                    termed sygmatic. Later on when the term signs become
                    contrasting they are called associative or
                    paradigmatic. In Saussure�s schema the syntagmatic
                    run horizontally and the paradigmatic run vertically
                    creating the language system of interrelated
                    linguistical units. Perhaps, you might be referring to
                    the syntagmatic delimitation of phonemes, a term
                    coined by C. L. Ebeling, (1959) Linguistic Units, a
                    volume in the Festschrift series Janua Linguarum
                    Studium Memoriae Nicolai Van Wijk Dedicata, edited by
                    Cornelius H. Van Schooneveld, N.12. A phonetic
                    scientific study on mutations of phonemic variations
                    produced by speakers within varying syntaxes.
                    Perhaps, you might also be referring to syntagmatic
                    delimitation of semantic units, a term coined by C. L.
                    Ebeling, (1959) Linguistic Units, a volume in the
                    Festschrift series Janua Linguarum Studium Memoriae
                    Nicolai Van Wijk Dedicata, edited by Cornelius H. Van
                    Schooneveld, N.12. A phonetic scientific study on
                    mutations of phonemic variations produced by speakers
                    within varying syntaxes expressing various semantic
                    significations. But, I think you might simply be
                    pointing to the inflectional case endings.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    Yes, you are completely right that ARCHE can mean
                    first principle. It can also mean ruler, source,
                    origin, beginning. It is a polysemous word which is
                    not exclusively coterminous with our 'beginning'.
                    However, if it did mean First Principle, then the
                    Prologue would read:

                    In the First Principle was the Logos, and the Logos
                    was with God and the Logos was God.


                    John Lupia:
                    Yes, that�s right.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    Such a translation would entail a differentiation
                    between three [e]ntities -FP, Logos and God.


                    John Lupia:
                    No. This has already been explained above. FP = God =
                    Word. This was exactly what St. John was attempting
                    to show the union within the Godhead of the three
                    divine persons, not a differentiation between three
                    entities.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    Now the Logos is dealt with in the contradiction
                    between being with God and God and we can't get away
                    from that one, well, not without some fancy footwork
                    which no doubt lots of contributors will be capable
                    of, but the other differentiation seems to put us into
                    a lot of trouble.


                    John Lupia:
                    From the point of view of Trinitarian doctrine your
                    above comment makes no sense. Each person of the
                    Trinity is within the Godhead and are with one
                    another. I do not understand your point.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    Note that there is nothing else to suggest throughout
                    Johannine cosmology that there is anything like a FP.



                    John Lupia:
                    Try taking a very close look at verse 3.


                    Peter Phillips:
                    However, the Gnostics did think that there was an FP
                    but they did not use ARCHE to designate this FP -
                    usually it was known as the Father or Propater.
                    Arche tended to be reserved for one of the later
                    emanations or even for Barbelo.


                    John Lupia:
                    That's interesting but what does this have to do with
                    St. John�s Gospel? The view that John is very late
                    brings those exponents to look for Gnostic influence
                    in his text. The view that St. John has a very
                    different Gospel from the Synoptics leads those
                    exponents to give weight to the late dating and accept
                    Gnostic influence as a reaction to it, either for or
                    against. My view is that St. John�s Gospel is early,
                    very early and the two above referenced views are
                    intellectual errors in logic. This statement cannot
                    be defended within an email but would require a
                    minimum of space taken like that of Raymond Brown in
                    his AB Commentary.


                    =====
                    John N. Lupia, III
                    31 Norwich Drive
                    Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
                    Phone: (732) 341-8689
                    Email: jlupia2@...
                    Editor, Roman Catholic News
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

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