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RE: [John_Lit] John 1:1-10 - my proposed translation

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  • Matthew Estrada
    ... utterance here loses the possibility of the rich play that LOGOS has -- word, logic, thought, reason,etc... Perhaps John is less enamored with Greek
    Message 1 of 34 , May 7 8:06 AM
      Bill Ross <BillRoss@...> wrote:

      >>While every translation loses something and gains something, the use of
      utterance here loses the possibility of the rich play that LOGOS has --
      word, logic, thought, reason,etc...

      Perhaps John is less enamored with Greek concepts and more enamored with
      Genesis 1? He does begin with EN ARKH, yes? And in another book quite
      popular with Jews, we do have "and God said, Let there be..." yes? So
      perhaps we are missing the intended direct referent and being distracted by
      fallacious presumed allusion to Philo and what have you?

      EN ARKH points us to Genesis 1. There the utterance of God is manifest with
      God, with everything being made with the words "Let there be...". Now, I do
      mourn the inability of a single word to capture all that is there in LOGOS
      (there is no word that maps entirely exactly) but my proposed translation is
      a nudge toward seeing Genesis 1 and a nudge away from Greek and even Roman

      Well, John 1:1-3 is THE prooftext of Trinitarianism. A better translation of
      John 1 seems to make it clear that the LOGOS is not "The Second Person of
      the Trinity" by any stretch, but rather God's utterance. "Let there be..."

      Bill Ross

      Hello Bill,

      I agree with the others in that your translation of LOGOS to "utterance" is not correct. You appear to have two motives for translating it as such: 1) you want to move those who would interpret this word as a reference to Philo's writings away from that interpretation; and 2) you want to argue against it being used as a reference to the Second Person of the Trinity.

      I have sympathy with the first motive, as I have suggested in my paper on The Cana Miracle that Logos is an allusion to Amos 8:11-12. In that passage Amos warns of a future spiritual famine- a famine for the Word of God. In the Cana Miracle, as I have argued, John presents us, first, with the famine situation as predicted in Amos 8, and then, with Jesus (the Logos) providing for that famine, via an abundance of wine, even as proclaimed again by Amos in Amos 9:13ff.

      I believe you err in not seeing Logos as a reference to the Second Person of the Trinity. John 1:14 clearly refers to Jesus as the Logos (see below).

      Jeffrey Gibson wrote:

      "And since the prologue seems to involve a counter proposal to the Jewish claim that it was through the pre existent Torah that God made the world..."

      My response:

      I agree with Jeffrey in what he states- again, as I have argued in my paper- that John is responding to the Jewish claim that it was through the pre-existent Torah that God made the world, claiming himself that it was through Jesus (=the Logos) that God made the world. This is seen more clearly in John 1:6-9. There we discover a statement that John the Baptist is a witness, and a witness only, to the One that would come after him. John the Baptist is not Israel�s salvation. He came only to serve as a witness to the One who would be Israel�s salvation.

      The reason why so many scholars today are confused over why John the Baptist has been introduced so early on into this gospel, and over the role of witness that he plays in this gospel, is because they have not understood that the character John the Baptist is being used by the author as a personification of the Law and the Prophets. Once one accepts and realizes this interpretation, then the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together. John is stating that "the Law and the Prophets are a witness, and a witness only, to the Logos- the One who would come after Him. The Law is not the Light, as claimed to be in Bar 4:1-2, Wis 18:4, and in T. Levi 14:4:

      "the light of the law which was granted to you for the enlightenment of every man?"

      The Law only came as a witness to "the True Light". John the Baptist, who is really the Law, "cries out", "Behold, the Lamb of God!". The Law, who demands that a sacrifice be made for sin, calls Jesus that perfect sacrifice. The Law, whose primary purposes are to convict humanity of its sin and point the way to the Savior, is now saying, through John the Baptist, who represents the Law and the Prophets, Jesus is the Christ, the sacrificial offering for humanity.

      So, according to this interpretation, even as John is comparing/contrasting the Logos to the Law, so, too, does he compare/contrast the Baptist (who is the Law) to Jesus (who is the Logos).

      Again, I would encourage all to read my paper found at the following website for a fuller understanding (http://www.fourthgospel.com/unpub.htm#e). Before judging it, please read all the way through it. If you only read the beginning, you may be discouraged. But if you read it all the way through, you may find it enlightening.

      Matthew Estrada

      113 Laurel Court

      Peachtree City, Ga 30269

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    • R. Robert Jenkins
      ... Can you provide us with any evidence for this statement? I have some handbooks on the Gospel of John written by translators, some commentaries in which the
      Message 34 of 34 , May 9 2:25 PM
        --- Bill Ross <BillRoss@...> wrote:

        > <B>
        > My stated premise for my translation of "utterance"
        > has not been addressed.
        > Let my restate it for closer scrutiny...
        > When John says "EN ARKH" ISTM that most translators
        > understand him to be
        > saying "Once upon a time..."

        Can you provide us with any evidence for this
        statement? I have some handbooks on the Gospel of John
        written by translators, some commentaries in which the
        commentators give their own translations and discuss
        what they mean by them, and some works by John scolars
        like C.H. Dodd who discuss Jn. 1:1, and none of them
        give any hint that they have the understanding you say
        "most translators" do.

        So could you produce something from a translator that
        shows that "Once upon a time" is what ytasnaltors
        understand John to be saying in 1:1?

        whereas I hear him
        > saying "Ladies and
        > gentlemen, if you would, please turn in you
        > Septuagint to page 1. I am going
        > to tell you who is being referred to by the word
        > "us" in "Let us make
        > man...".

        Now I'm really confused. Are you saying that it is
        John's intent to say that God made the world through
        the male and the female he created in Gen 1:26?

        > The main think that John is expounding, I believe,
        > is that in Gen 1,
        > everything that was made, without exception, was
        > made in conjunction with
        > the utterance, "let there be...".

        But this is expressly what he does not say about
        "man". There is a conspicuous absence of the let
        there be phrase in the section of Gen 1 where God
        creates "man, both male and female" in his image.

        > In the course of this discussion, I realize that my
        > objection to "the word"
        > (non-capitalized only) is not so much linguistic as
        > it is to the baggage
        > that the term is made to carry - that it is a
        > reference to something from
        > Greek philosophy rather than God's word(s).
        > So, I ask, is my fundamental interpretation, that EN
        > ARKH refers us to Gen
        > 1, and "PROS TON THEON" refers us to "let us
        > make..." and "by means of hO
        > LOGOS everything was made" refers us to "Let there
        > be..."?

        You are missing a clause here. Is your fundamental
        interpretaion what? Reasonable? I don't see how it
        could be. What possible lingusitic or allusive
        connection could there be between "he was with God"
        and the divibe declaration of intent to make humankind
        in God's image in Gen 1:26? And it becomes even more
        unlikely given how Dr. Gibson has shown how all that
        John says about the LOGOS in John 1:1 is what Jews
        were saying about the Torah.

        R. Robert Jenkins

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