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

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  • Bill Ross
    ... Hi Liz. It is always nice to hear from you on a list. While it is an activity doomed to be fraught with compromise, translation is in general
    Message 1 of 34 , May 7 4:52 PM
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      <Liz>
      >>I wonder if Logos should be retained and not translated at all.

      <Bill>
      Hi Liz. It is always nice to hear from you on a list.

      While it is an activity doomed to be fraught with compromise, translation is
      in general a productive activity. We just have to be realistic about what we
      hope to accomplish. There is no substitute for reading the original
      language(s) as no translation can map perfectly.

      <L>
      >>Philo speaks of the Logos as the Son of God (sorry, I forget where).

      <B>
      My efforts at understanding a Philo background to John 1 were not met with
      anything to be excited about. I think that the Philo connection is way
      overrated. However, I would love to see any citations that you or anyone
      else deems important.

      <L>
      >>I don't think it is in contradistinction to the Torah.

      <B>
      The Torah is never denigrated in the NT but certainly made subservient to
      the broader authority of God. I came across this recently and found it
      interesting in this regard:

      (ISV) You examine the Scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them
      you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me.

      <L>
      >>In Proverbs 8, all things are made by Wisdom, H.oh.ma.

      <B>
      "by" as in "by means of?"


      <L>
      >>Both Hohma and Sophia are unfortunately feminine, while Logos carries much
      the same meaning of Wisdom and is masculine. So I think that except that
      Torah is feminine, it can be equated with Logos.

      <B>
      Is the Torah presumed to be female or only grammatically feminine?
      Is the LOGOS male or only grammatically masculine?

      There seems to be a great deal of confusion between grammatical "gender" and
      sexuality in the readings I have seen of John 1!

      <L>
      >>The pre-existent Torah is the pre-existent Logos. John has Jesus say "I am
      the way," which is what Jews say about the Torah. Halaka is "the way."

      <B>
      I have provided evidence that John is referring to the utterances in Gen 1
      which are recorded in the Instruction (Torah) but are not what I would call
      part of the Torah. ISTM that the Torah is, for John, a witness to the
      gospel, not in itself the way.

      <L>
      >>John is saying that Jesus is the carnalization of the pre-existent Torah
      by which God made the world.

      <B>
      This is, IMHO, the question of Torah versus utterance aside, usually taken
      way too literally - as if Jesus' flesh is what the Torah used to be. Ie:
      that the Torah became human flesh. Rather, I see it as the utterance of God
      being made by a life:

      Heb 1:1 God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our
      forefathers by means of the prophets,
      Heb 1:2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom
      he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of
      things.

      Bill Ross
    • 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
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        --- 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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