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Re: [John_Lit] your translation of the prologue of Joh

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  • Matthew Estrada
    ... To which Jeffrey Gibson responded with: In the first place, it does not follow from admitting that Jn 1:1 contains a referent to Gen 1 that (hO) LOGOS can
    Message 1 of 4 , May 14, 2005
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      Bill Ross wrote:

      > >>Why "utterance" for LOGOS?
      >
      >
      > This appears to be a reference to Genesis 1: "Let there be..." and "Let us
      > make..." where God is accompanied by, well, utterance - speech - "Let there
      > be..."
      >
      > If I am correct that the context of the prologue is Gen 1 (EN ARKH)

      > then
      > John's statement has a ready referent in the utterance. There is no
      > justification for ignoring the context and leaping into Philo or Augustine.



      To which Jeffrey Gibson responded with:

      "In the first place, it does not follow from admitting that Jn 1:1 contains a
      referent to Gen 1 that (hO) LOGOS can only mean "utterance", especially in the
      light of specific first century Palestinian Jewish discourse about Gen 1 and
      what was "with God" EN ARCH and the means used by God "in the beginning" to
      bring the world and life into being (cf. e.g., the traditions embodied in
      b.Pes., 54a, Bar; .Gn. r., 1, 1 on 1:1)

      And in the second place, your assertion that the clam that hO LOGOS means
      something other than "utterance" is tantamount to "leaping into Philo or
      Augustine (?) and does not reflect what a Jew in the first century would have
      thought when he/she heard hO LOGOS being spoken of in the context of the phrase
      EN ARCH not only is bifurcation, but shows you to be seriously lacking in
      knowledge of how identical all of the assertions made about hO LOGOS in Jn 1:1
      and following are with claims made in first century Judaism about the Torah --
      which incidentally was specifically designated in Ps. 119 and by the Rabbis as
      "the Word" (see Levy W�rt., I, 374a.).

      The Torah was in the beginning (.b.Pes., 54a, Bar). The Torah was "with God"
      (Midr. Ps. on 90:3 � 12). What God was the Torah was the Torah was (Lv. r., 20,
      10 on 16:1).All things were made by and through it (.Gn. r., 1, 1 on 1:1). In
      it was life (S. Dt., 306 on 32:2)..It was the light of men (Esr. 14:20f). It is
      truth (Midr. Ps. on 25:10 � 11)."



      My response:

      Bill, even as Jeffrey seems to agree, I do not think anyone doubts that the Prologue in John's Gospel, and in particular 1:1, alludes to Genesis 1:1. I think many would even agree with you that the Logos does refer to God's utterances (His communication) in bringing about the creation in Gen 1, but not the only meaning (I state the same in my paper). I would go even a step further than you and state that this communication is God Himself- the second person of the Trinity, and that John is communicating this.

      Now before you or anyone else pounces on me for stating this, I would like everyone to patiently consider what I have before suggested when arguing for my interpretation of the symbolic meaning of "water" in John's gospel, namely, that it symbolizes "the Law and the Prophets". Once one realizes that John has drawn from Exodus and the Synoptics respectively to connect and identify both Moses and John the Baptist with "water", then can one see how the first and greatest of the Law as well as the last and greatest of the Prophets have been combined to symbolize "water = the Law and the Prophets" in John's gospel. Once this has been understood, then can one understand John's comparison/contrast of the Baptist/water with Jesus/Spirit in Jn 1:26, 31, 33; John's comparison/contrast of water (=the Law and the Prophets) with wine (=Holy Spirit) in Jn 2:1-12; John's comparison/contrast of water (=the Law and the Prophets) with Spirit in Jn 3:5; John's comparison contrast of dead water from
      the OT patriarch Jacob's well (= the Law and the Prophets) with the living water of Jesus (= Holy Spirit); and I Jn 5:6-8 where John (if you accept John as author) where the author states specifically in vs 7 that there "are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the three are in agreement" (certain later manuscripts read, "the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one", which is in line with my suggested interpretation of "water" symbolizing "the Law and the Prophets", or the Father's means of revelation; "blood" symbolizing Jesus/the Word; and the Spirit being the Holy Spirit). This is, according to my suggested interpretation, a trinitarian statement.

      What Jeffrey has pointed out above, namely, that the claims that first century Judaism made concerning the Torah and the claims John makes about the Logos are identical (what I tried to point out, in part, in my previous post) is another evidence why we should interpret the character John the Baptist as a personification of "the Law and the Prophets". The author John is placing the Torah/John the Baptist + Moses in a subordinate position to that of the Logos/Jesus throughout his gospel. He does so because "the Jews" (religious leaders in John's day) have given the Torah a status of "divinity". John uses the Baptist, starting in 1:6, as a mouthpiece of the Torah to state that he (= the Law and the Prophets) is not the light, in contrast to what 1st century Judaism was saying about him/the Torah. Instead, John the Baptist (=the Torah) proclaims the Logos as the true Light. John the Baptist (= the Law and the Prophets) states in the same context that he came as a witness, and only as a
      witness, to the Logos. Note that the author has the Baptist say the same thing about his role as a witness concerning Jesus (cf. Jn 1:32, 34, 35), that he is a witness to Jesus. So the Logos is Jesus, and Jesus is the Logos, but more importantly for our understanding of John's gospel, John the Baptist is the Law and the Prophets. I again refer those who would to read patiently through to the end my paper on Joe Gagne's website (http://www.fourthgospel.com/estrada.doc).







      Matthew Estrada

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      Peachtree City, Ga 30269

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