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Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question

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  • Paul Schmehl
    ... From: To: Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 8:09 PM Subject: Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological
    Message 1 of 76 , Sep 10, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <Maluflen@...>
      To: <johannine_literature@egroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 8:09 PM
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question

      > I think the principal reason for the first translation, as opposed
      to the
      > second translation is not a grammatical one, but a (legitimate)
      > one.

      Frankly, I don't think there can ever be a "legitimate" theological
      reason for translating, although I commend you for being willing to
      admit this in an open forum.

      Translations should stand on their own, without the need to be propped
      up by a theological line of reasoning. Otherwise, we are telling the
      text what it ought to say, rather than allowing it to speak for

      The author of John is not thought to have been a polytheist, which is
      > precisely what would be implied by the (grammatically possible)
      > The Word was a god.

      The predicate construction may easily be understood as an adjective,
      as it is most commonly understood in Greek. This would describe the
      Logos as divine or godly, rather than "a god", (which would actually
      be an unusual rendering.) Yet, there *is* support in the OT and NT
      for calling men "gods". The term was not understood to mean the same
      as "the God", HO QEOS. Jesus Christ himself pointed this out in John

      "Jesus answered, 'Is it not written in your own Law, "I said: You are
      gods"? Those are called gods to whom the word of God was
      delivered--and Scripture cannot be set aside. Then why do you charge
      me with blasphemy because I, consecrated and sent into the world by
      the Father, said, 'I am God's son'?" NEB

      > It is clear from much in John's Gospel, besides this bald
      > formulation, that John thought of Jesus as fully divine.

      Which, of course, is not to say that he *was* God. God's only Son
      would most certainly be divine, since he would have the same nature as
      his Father.

      > The Nicean doctrine
      > is far closer to the thinking of John than are the humble opinions
      of the
      > anti-trinitarian contributors to this list.

      I would argue (and the historical record supports the view) that the
      Nicean doctrine was the compromise result of a rancorous and bitter
      debate among theologians who held Platonic views of Jesus' nature and
      those who believed he was what he said he was, the *son* of God, and
      the Platonists won because they had the support of Constantine.
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 9/18/2000 5:39:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, antonio.jerez@privat.utfors.se writes: [Responding to Leonard, who wrote:] Antonio, no
      Message 76 of 76 , Sep 18, 2000
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        In a message dated 9/18/2000 5:39:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
        antonio.jerez@... writes:

        [Responding to Leonard, who wrote:]
        << > Antonio, no matter how highly elevated a creature is, no matter how
        > to God a creature comes, he is still infinitely -- yes, infinitely
        > to God. If this were the case for Jesus it would have been incumbent on
        > NT authors to make this point perfectly clear. Now there are texts in
        > they do not do so, and in fact many of them confound Jesus quite
        > and quite thoroughly with God. If it is true that Jesus is not God, either
        > these writers were terribly misled, or they are terribly misleading.

        The only problem is that Luke and the other synoptic writers did not
        have to contend with a 20th century highly orthodox chap from America
        who is so infatuated with trinitarianism that he has to force it on the texts
        at all price. Leonard, why don't you take a close look at Peter's speech
        in Acts 2:22-36 again and see if you find any support at all for your
        This is as close to Luke's and the early Jerusalem church's Christology as
        we will ever get, and Jesus is never called or likened to God. He is a MAN
        (v.22) SENT by God (v.22) to fullfill God's plan for humanity (v.23). God
        resurrected him (v24) and MADE him into LORD and MESSIAH (v. 36).

        How do you explain that somebody who is God (as you claim Jesus is) has
        to be made Lord and Messiah by God? >>

        Antonio, it seems you didn't read my post carefully enough (which makes me
        wonder how carefully you read the biblical texts that challenge your
        understanding). What I said was that "there are texts" in the NT in which
        Jesus is thoroughly confounded with God. This is quite compatible, logically,
        with the existence of other texts in which he is not (and was carefully
        formulated precisely so as to accommodate these). The Acts text you cite is
        clearly one such, and, in Chalcedonian terms, it could be said that it is
        simply talking about Jesus as man, under which formality he is of course
        thoroughly subordinated to, distinct from and inferior to God. My only point
        is that there are other texts in which the NT authors, or most of them,
        express a kind of fuzzy identity between Jesus and God. So the God-Man
        construct of the later patristic writers and church councils seems to me to
        do justice the whole of the biblical evidence about Jesus while you seem able
        to handle only one side of the paradox. Keep trying though! It is wonderful
        that you invest so much mental effort in the search.

        Leonard Maluf
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