Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question
> Two points of clarifications:
> 1. In the first place, I was speaking of settling a
> ambiguous statement by reference to a theological argument. The
> is that the phrase remains ambiguous if, in this case, only
> arguments are used.
I'm glad you pointed this out, because I appear to have confused
Horace on that point.
> 2. I was referring not to a theology (of my own) imposed on the
> rather to a theology that inhabits the text of John itself and that
> discovered through fully scientific exegetical methods. It is
> archaic to imagine that "theology" is an exclusively post-text
> the case of any of the New Testament writers. They are all (and
> John) thought to have been theologians in their own right (by an
> majority of contemporary scholars). Thus there was no "admission" in
> remarks of having introduced an extraneous element into the
I don't believe John has a theology. I think that is an anachronistic
view of the gospel. I think John simply attempts to set forth the
truth about who Jesus was and what Jesus did and said, without
attempting to weave some mystical underlayer to befuddle the simple.
You may call it quaintly archaic or naive or any other term to
describe what you think it is, but there it is.
Priests have always sought to mysticize their religions so that the
common man would be enslaved by them. Thomas Jefferson speaks of this
in his letters. Yet the Bible says it is so simple that "not even a
fool can err therein".
> << Translations should stand on their own, without the need to be
> up by a theological line of reasoning. Otherwise, we are telling
> text what it ought to say, rather than allowing it to speak for
> Unless of course the text is one informed with a theology that is
> there to be discovered. In this case, a theological line of
> purposes of translation is perfectly legitimate for settling the
> grammatically ambiguous statements.
This is simply one opinion, albeit the majority one.
And who gets to decide what that theology is? And how do we know it's
not "pre-informed" with the presuppositions of the traditional view?
Much greater men than I, trinitarians all, have had to admit that the
Bible does not teach Jesus Christ's divinity. It must be "understood"
from the theological information that lies beneath the surface.
When one begins with a belief in the trinity and then sets out to find
it in the text, I have no doubt one can find ample evidence to support
one's view. Particularly when to take an opposing view would almost
certainly mean expulsion or excommunication and loss of position and
> << Which, of course, is not to say that he *was* God. God's only
> would most certainly be divine, since he would have the same nature
> his Father.>>
> If he is divine, then Jesus can legitimately be called God. This is
> the correct orthodox understanding of the expression "Jesus is God".
> assumed, in a Catholic ambiance at least, that this point is made as
> a basic Christian catechetics.
I certainly believe he's divine, and I can see how one could argue
that he legitimately could be called God. I do not, however, think
there is a one to one correspondence between divinity and being God.
Not in the Biblical sense, at least. Perhaps in modern thinking this
pauls@... (Paul Schmehl)
- In a message dated 9/18/2000 5:39:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
[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, infinitelyinferior
> to God. If this were the case for Jesus it would have been incumbent onthe
> NT authors to make this point perfectly clear. Now there are texts inwhich
> they do not do so, and in fact many of them confound Jesus quitedeliberately
> and quite thoroughly with God. If it is true that Jesus is not God, eitherThe only problem is that Luke and the other synoptic writers did not
> these writers were terribly misled, or they are terribly misleading.
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.