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Tru_Knyte
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:01 PM
Was going to search for this one, but I think the tool is broken (keeps saying I have less than 3 terms when I have more, weird).


Anyways, I was reading another page regarding the supposed mistranslation of this verse, and was wondering if any of you here could help me rectify this claim.

In brief, this argument says:


"In the "original" Greek manuscripts (Did the disciple John speak Greek?), "The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording). Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as

"In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.""

http://wings.buffalo.edu/sa/muslim/library/jesus-say/ch1.2.2.6.html
More info here.


Anyone have answers? :confused:confused:confused

coldfire136
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:21 PM
All I will say here is, did you look at the page you are getting your information from. There are two places to look for scholarly information on the texts:

1) Books
2) Journals.

Anything on the internet is automatically suspect because anyone can post anything on the internet with any agenda.

calidog
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:37 PM
the same word is used for God.

accordingly if you subsitute one you have to subsitute the other:


Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
In the beginning was the word and the word was with divinity and the word was divinity. The same was in the beginning with divinity.

Athanasius
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:40 PM
Was going to search for this one, but I think the tool is broken (keeps saying I have less than 3 terms when I have more, weird).

Anyways, I was reading another page regarding the supposed mistranslation of this verse, and was wondering if any of you here could help me rectify this claim.

In brief, this argument says:

http://wings.buffalo.edu/sa/muslim/library/jesus-say/ch1.2.2.6.html
More info here.

Anyone have answers? :confused:confused:confused

What you've posted is from the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower organization translation of John 1 (New world translation), which attempts to discredit the deity of Christ.

It's simply a poor translation of the Greek because of an 'agenda'

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God!

Edit* You've got an Islamic site trying to support the claim of the Watchtower organization--there's absolutely no credibility.

markedward
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:49 PM
What you've posted is from the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower organization translation of John 1 (New world translation), which attempts to discredit the deity of Christ.The website he has posted also seems to be an Islamic website, not a Christian one.

ServantofTruth
Dec 23rd 2007, 10:53 PM
Look at the over all context of John 1:1-14? It's harder to mis-read half a page than one single verse, maybe 2 verses. :hug:

Athanasius
Dec 24th 2007, 01:44 AM
The website he has posted also seems to be an Islamic website, not a Christian one.

Yeah, I had written that without looking at the site.
I edited my initial post. In any case, it's bad exegetics.

Tru_Knyte
Dec 24th 2007, 01:48 AM
What you've posted is from the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower organization translation of John 1 (New world translation), which attempts to discredit the deity of Christ.

It's simply a poor translation of the Greek because of an 'agenda'

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God!

Edit* You've got an Islamic site trying to support the claim of the Watchtower organization--there's absolutely no credibility.

Yeah, I noticed that. But is there any way to counter such an argument? i.e. evidence to back up the claim other than having an ad hominem attack?

Tru_Knyte
Dec 24th 2007, 01:50 AM
All I will say here is, did you look at the page you are getting your information from. There are two places to look for scholarly information on the texts:

1) Books
2) Journals.

Anything on the internet is automatically suspect because anyone can post anything on the internet with any agenda.


Of course. But I was hoping to have some resources to discredit this source other than saying that this one is not a scholarly article.

Athanasius
Dec 24th 2007, 01:53 AM
Yeah, I noticed that. But is there any way to counter such an argument? i.e. evidence to back up the claim other than having an ad hominem attack?

There's a sly insinuation when implying the possibility that John may or may not have been able to speak Greek.

The only way to counter this statement is to go back to the original Greek and argue the proper interpretation of 'God' in the passage. If you don't have an intimate knowledge of Greek then you would have to find a respected source that does, or do an exegetical study of the chapter yourself with dictionaries, concordences etc.

There's also the reality that in re-interpreting John 1:1 you have created a contradiction within scripture--Jesus is God vs Jesus is a god.

In terms of an ad hominem (or ad hominem tu quoque) response. There is truth in that an agenda is involved, but perhaps it was bad judgment on my part to include that in my initial post.

I'm at work so I don't have time to look at other sources, but you could always try looking through the essays on Bible.org about John 1:1

Tru_Knyte
Dec 24th 2007, 02:00 AM
There's a sly insinuation when implying the possibility that John may or may not have been able to speak Greek.

The only way to counter this statement is to go back to the original Greek and argue the proper interpretation of 'God' in the passage. If you don't have an intimate knowledge of Greek then you would have to find a respected source that does, or do an exegetical study of the chapter yourself with dictionaries, concordences etc.

There's also the reality that in re-interpreting John 1:1 you have created a contradiction within scripture--Jesus is God vs Jesus is a god.

In terms of an ad hominem (or ad hominem tu quoque) response. There is truth in that an agenda is involved, but perhaps it was bad judgment on my part to include that in my initial post.

I'm at work so I don't have time to look at other sources, but you could always try looking through the essays on Bible.org about John 1:1

Thanks for the advice. I've consulted my study Bible, which said that the Greek term refers to reason/rationality, while the Jews used it as a reference for God. i.e. the Word was distinct from the Father, and also was God (with God and was God).

coldfire136
Dec 24th 2007, 02:03 AM
Go to a library, preferably a university library if you have one around, and check out either an anchor Bible commentary or a word biblical commentary. Both of these will comment heavily on the Greek, but is not so scholarly that you cannot understand it. Other than this, look at a Greek Lexicon. There is one available at blueletterbible.org, but as I said, there is no substitute for written works that have been published. blueletterbible and orther sites like them use OLD lexicons and do not always discuss all the nuances of the text. Plus they are hard to understand.

David Taylor
Dec 24th 2007, 02:35 AM
Of course. But I was hoping to have some resources to discredit this source other than saying that this one is not a scholarly article.

Three Greek Manuscripts that pre-date the Watchtower Tract and Bible Societies version by several centuries.



http://unbound.biola.edu/index.cfm?method=searchResults.doSearch

Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
εν G1722 PREP αρχη G746 N-DSF ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM και G2532 CONJ ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S προς G4314 PREP τον G3588 T-ASM θεον G2316 N-ASM και G2532 CONJ θεος G2316 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM

Greek NT: Textus Receptus (1550/1894)
εν G1722 PREP αρχη G746 N-DSF ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM και G2532 CONJ ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S προς G4314 PREP τον G3588 T-ASM θεον G2316 N-ASM και G2532 CONJ θεος G2316 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM


Greek NT: Westcott/Hort, UBS4
εν G1722 PREP αρχη G746 N-DSF ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM και G2532 CONJ ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S προς G4314 PREP τον G3588 T-ASM θεον G2316 N-ASM και G2532 CONJ θεος G2316 N-NSM ην G2258 G5713 V-IXI-3S ο G3588 T-NSM λογος G3056 N-NSM

Tru_Knyte
Dec 24th 2007, 04:44 AM
Thanks for the tips guys, appreciate it. :)

BadDog
Dec 28th 2007, 12:57 AM
Was going to search for this one, but I think the tool is broken (keeps saying I have less than 3 terms when I have more, weird).

Anyways, I was reading another page regarding the supposed mistranslation of this verse, and was wondering if any of you here could help me rectify this claim.

In brief, this argument says:

Greek manuscripts (Did the disciple John speak Greek?), "The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording). Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as

"In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.""


http://wings.buffalo.edu/sa/muslim/library/jesus-say/ch1.2.2.6.html
More info here.


Anyone have answers? :confused:confused:confused
Confused,

My first suggestion is that you read the www.Bible.org footnote on this. Also, I assume you meant John 1 (John's gospel), not 1 John 1 (John's first letter).

I have posted on this test a few times on this board. But I don't really come here much at all anymore, so I may not be able to even respond to further questions/comments you have. But let me make a few brief comments.

Perhaps the best way is to simply cut-n-paste some of the text from the quote above and respond to it:


(Did the disciple John speak Greek?)
As far as we can tell, he wrote in Greek, so he must have spoken it.


"The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). [BD: ???] A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording). Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as

"In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.""
Uh, never heard anyone say something about TON THEON vs. HO THEOS. It makes no sense Greek-wise at all. (Also, it could never be TON THEOS - would have to be TON THEON - the article has to agree with the case. THEOS is nominative [subject] while THEON is direct object. I'm going to assume that was what you meant.)

But what some have inaccurately claimed is that the definite article ("the" - both TON and HO above) is necessary IOT make a definitive statement - to "identify" the Word as "God."

Not true. Look at the next few places THEOS appears:
1:6 There was a man named John who was sent from God. (No article here)

1:12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, (Again, no article)

1:13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. (No article)

1:18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son-- the One who is at the Father's side-- He has revealed Him. (Again, no article)


So having the article "missing" in Koine Greek does not mean that it is not referring to God. (I am addressing the green text above in first quoted section.) You see, Koine Greek did not have an indefinite article ("a", "an"). So the anarthrous condition (no article) could indicate either quality ("divine" works) or indefiniteness ("a God", "a god"). But it could also refer to identification ("the God").

Now IMO in John 1:1 "divine" does work, but not as we often use it in English. (That chicken was "divine.") It means that the Word was divine in nature - that He had the very nature of God - He had the quality and characteristics of God - divine characteristics.

You see, grammatically an article could not have been used in John 1:1. To do so requires what is referred to as "reciprocity" when a predicate nominative is involved. IOW, it would need to be able to go both forward and backwards since word order in Greek is for emphasis. IOW, both would have to be valid:

The Word (Jesus) was God

and

God was the Word (Jesus).

But this last phrase is not true. God is not Jesus - the entire trinity is involved. This would require some sort of "modalism" idea that God only appears in the form of the Father or the form of the Son or of the Spirit. But since each is a distinct person of the Godhead, this is not what the trinity means. IOW, such an option was not available to John. So to say that if John was saying that Jesus (the Word) was God that he would have used an article (HO) is just ignorant of proper Greek usage of the article. That was not a possibility.

Hence, John expressed the deity of Christ in a very powerful form. He put THEOS (anarthrous - no article) first in the phrase - for emphasis.

Now just look at what the first few verses says about the Word. IMO just English is very clear about the focus on deity:

The Word was always with the Father (the Godhead)
The Word was from the beginning - has always existed
All things which have come into existence have done so as a result of the Word
Life sources from the Word
That life is the light of mankind.


Clearly John was declaring the Word (Jesus) to be God. Hope this helps.

BD

BadDog
Dec 28th 2007, 01:05 AM
Following is the NET Bible (from www.bible.org) translation of John 1:1 with a couple footnotes:

1:1 In the beginning 1 was the Word, and the Word was with God, 2 and the Word was fully God. 3

3 tn Or “and what God was the Word was.” Colwell’s Rule is often invoked to support the translation of θεός (qeos) as definite (“God”) rather than indefinite (“a god”) here. However, Colwell’s Rule merely permits, but does not demand, that a predicate nominative ahead of an equative verb be translated as definite rather than indefinite. Furthermore, Colwell’s Rule did not deal with a third possibility, that the anarthrous predicate noun may have more of a qualitative nuance when placed ahead of the verb. A definite meaning for the term is reflected in the traditional rendering “the word was God.” From a technical standpoint, though, it is preferable to see a qualitative aspect to anarthrous θεός in John 1:1c (ExSyn 266-69). Translations like the NEB, REB, and Moffatt are helpful in capturing the sense in John 1:1c, that the Word was fully deity in essence (just as much God as God the Father). However, in contemporary English “the Word was divine” (Moffatt) does not quite catch the meaning since “divine” as a descriptive term is not used in contemporary English exclusively of God. The translation “what God was the Word was” is perhaps the most nuanced rendering, conveying that everything God was in essence, the Word was too. This points to unity of essence between the Father and the Son without equating the persons. However, in surveying a number of native speakers of English, some of whom had formal theological training and some of whom did not, the editors concluded that the fine distinctions indicated by “what God was the Word was” would not be understood by many contemporary readers. Thus the translation “the Word was fully God” was chosen because it is more likely to convey the meaning to the average English reader that the Logos (which “became flesh and took up residence among us” in John 1:14 and is thereafter identified in the Fourth Gospel as Jesus) is one in essence with God the Father. The previous phrase, “the Word was with God,” shows that the Logos is distinct in person from God the Father.

sn And the Word was fully God. John’s theology consistently drives toward the conclusion that Jesus, the incarnate Word, is just as much God as God the Father. This can be seen, for example, in texts like John 10:30 (“The Father and I are one”), 17:11 (“so that they may be one just as we are one”), and 8:58 (“before Abraham came into existence, I am”). The construction in John 1:1c does not equate the Word with the person of God (this is ruled out by 1:1b, “the Word was with God”); rather it affirms that the Word and God are one in essence.



I think the above are great footnotes. They are very technical in nature, but accurate. You see, there are three possibilities:
1 - identification ("the God")
2 - quality ("divine" - meaning the Word is fully God in nature)
3 - indefiniteness ("a God" or "a god") - even here "a God" would be preferred to "a god" since clearly the context is of deity.

The NET Bible translators suggest that quality nuance is intended - I agree. BTW, the authors of that article you referenced violate several Greek grammatical principles. They are not Greek authorities.

BD