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John 1: 1-3


Doctor Steuss

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We're all familiar with this passage, I'm sure. In the Cardinal Schonborn book I'm reading he cites it, and for some reason a few words stood out to me that never have before:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The last three words kind of seem like an awkward addition given the assumption of an unequivocal â??allâ? that is applied by the majority of Christianity.

If He made *all* things, then why the strange qualifier at the end about things that were made. It almost reads as if it is a tacit acknowledgment to there being things that werenâ??t made (i.e. that the â??allâ? isnâ??t *all*).

Are there any commentaries that focus on the inclusion of these last few words, or am I just making much ado about nothing?

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I had never thought about it that way either. When you read those verses with that part bolded, it does make it seem like that part was added for a specific reason, and not just to use up more words (like that old-english language sometimes sounds like it's doing).

Very cool.

:P

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We're all familiar with this passage, I'm sure. In the Cardinal Schonborn book I'm reading he cites it, and for some reason a few words stood out to me that never have before:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The last three words kind of seem like an awkward addition given the assumption of an unequivocal â??allâ? that is applied by the majority of Christianity.

If He made *all* things, then why the strange qualifier at the end about things that were made. It almost reads as if it is a tacit acknowledgment to there being things that werenâ??t made (i.e. that the â??allâ? isnâ??t *all*).

Are there any commentaries that focus on the inclusion of these last few words, or am I just making much ado about nothing?

No yer correct; and this type of stuff is found thruout the bible; Does the "j,s" translation shed any light on this passage? :P

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JST:

1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.

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We're all familiar with this passage, I'm sure. In the Cardinal Schonborn book I'm reading he cites it, and for some reason a few words stood out to me that never have before:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The last three words kind of seem like an awkward addition given the assumption of an unequivocal â??allâ? that is applied by the majority of Christianity.

If He made *all* things, then why the strange qualifier at the end about things that were made. It almost reads as if it is a tacit acknowledgment to there being things that werenâ??t made (i.e. that the â??allâ? isnâ??t *all*).

Are there any commentaries that focus on the inclusion of these last few words, or am I just making much ado about nothing?

I translate the phrase as the beginning of verse 4. Critical editions tend to put the end of the sentence at καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. If we move the end of 3 to the beginning of 4, we get the following:

ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων

Which I would translate, "That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind."

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I translate the phrase as the beginning of verse 4. Critical editions tend to put the end of the sentence at καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. If we move the end of 3 to the beginning of 4, we get the following:

Which I would translate, "That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind."

I think rendering it that way helps the thought of the verses flow much better.

Thank you Maklelan.

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Doesn't this resemble some Gnostic creation myths?

Not really. Scholarship has been trying for some time to find the roots of the Johannine logos as manifested in the first few verses of John 1. Everything from Gnosticism to Philo to Qumran has been posited as a source, but it most likely derives (at least in my transcendent opinion) from the Aramaic memra, which is part of a Second Temple reinterpretation of the nature of God. The first verse of John 1 uses the exact same opening as LXX Genesis 1, and the dichotomy between light and dark and the creative force of God are highlighted in both.

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Not really. Scholarship has been trying for some time to find the roots of the Johannine logos as manifested in the first few verses of John 1. Everything from Gnosticism to Philo to Qumran has been posited as a source, but it most likely derives (at least in my transcendent opinion) from the Aramaic memra, which is part of a Second Temple reinterpretation of the nature of God. The first verse of John 1 uses the exact same opening as LXX Genesis 1, and the dichotomy between light and dark and the creative force of God are highlighted in both.

Do the Aramaic Targums predate Stoicism (i.e. the likes of Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Aratus of Soli, etc.)? If not, I think that the Stoic Logos might be a more likely candidate.

Edit: Also (and this will definitely betray my ignorance), how influential was Greek philosophy on the Second Temple reinterpretation of G-dâ??s nature (or was attention to Greek philosophy not really an issue until Philo)?

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Do the Aramaic Targums predate Stoicism (i.e. the likes of Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Aratus of Soli, etc.)? If not, I think that the Stoic Logos might be a more likely candidate.

The Targumim themselves are much, much later, but the idea of memra comes shortly after Stoicism. I don't particularly like the Stoicism argument because (1) the logos there is not revelatory, and (2) in John the logos is inimical to the world, but not so in Stoicism. Stoicism is generally posited as reaching the Johannine community through Philo, but Philo's logos has a far wider range of applications than both the Stoic and Johannine manifestations. Two good articles are Daniel Boyarin's, "The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to John," Harvard Theological Review 94.3 (2001): 243-84; and Ed L. Miller, "The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos," Journal of Biblical Literature 112.3 (1993): 445-57

Edit: Also (and this will definitely betray my ignorance), how influential was Greek philosophy on the Second Temple reinterpretation of G-dâ??s nature (or was attention to Greek philosophy not really an issue until Philo)?

Hellenism influenced Judaism from the third century BCE on. I'm presenting a paper at SBL this November on the alleged anti-anthropomorphisms of LXX Exodus, and I argue the Greek influence is not quite as readily evident as previously thought. There's still a lot of debate over just how much and in what ways Greek thought pervaded Judaism.

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The Targumim themselves are much, much later, but the idea of memra comes shortly after Stoicism. I don't particularly like the Stoicism argument because (1) the logos there is not revelatory, and (2) in John the logos is inimical to the world, but not so in Stoicism. Stoicism is generally posited as reaching the Johannine community through Philo, but Philo's logos has a far wider range of applications than both the Stoic and Johannine manifestations. Two good articles are Daniel Boyarin's, "The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to John," Harvard Theological Review 94.3 (2001): 243-84; and Ed L. Miller, "The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos," Journal of Biblical Literature 112.3 (1993): 445-57

I believe the SBL article you listed was once recommended to me by Rabbi Hamblin. I'll have to check my copies (if it is, then it's probably time I actually read it... given it's been recommended twice now and might help me move away from my dogmatism regarding the Stoic Logos).

Hellenism influenced Judaism from the third century BCE on. I'm presenting a paper at SBL this November on the alleged anti-anthropomorphisms of LXX Exodus, and I argue the Greek influence is not quite as readily evident as previously thought. There's still a lot of debate over just how much and in what ways Greek thought pervaded Judaism.

Congrats on yet another paper!

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Someone...back on the old ZLMB published several dozen different english translations of that passage. They also published english translations of Spanish, German, and French versions of that passage.

Many of the translations did not align with the trinitarian skews that most English translations seem to have.

Does anyone know where that list (or similar) exists now?

Six

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Someone...back on the old ZLMB published several dozen different english translations of that passage. They also published english translations of Spanish, German, and French versions of that passage.

Many of the translations did not align with the trinitarian skews that most English translations seem to have.

Does anyone know where that list (or similar) exists now?

Six

I just have _this_ that gives various translations of John 1:1c (which, I suppose might be what you're after given the various translations that render it "the word was a god" and other variations that mean basically the same thing).

Edited to add:

Many thanks to David Waltz for the above link.

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I translate the phrase as the beginning of verse 4. Critical editions tend to put the end of the sentence at καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. If we move the end of 3 to the beginning of 4, we get the following:

Which I would translate, "That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind."

Mak, I'm having a brain fart right now, could you put all four verses together so I can see what you are talking about?

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Mak, I'm having a brain fart right now, could you put all four verses together so I can see what you are talking about?

Sure. The Greek currently, with current versification:

1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3 πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων:

My translation:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing which was made was made without him. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

My proposed versification and translation:

1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3 πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. 4 ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing was made without him. 4 That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

γέγονεν can be translated a number of different ways, but the main sense is coming into existence.

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Sure. The Greek currently, with current versification:

My translation:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing which was made was made without him. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

My proposed versification and translation:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing was made without him. 4 That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

γέγονεν can be translated a number of different ways, but the main sense is coming into existence.

Thanks!!!

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Sure. The Greek currently, with current versification:

My translation:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing which was made was made without him. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

My proposed versification and translation:

1 In the beginning the logos was, and the logos was at the side of God, and what God was, the logos was. 2 He was in the beginning at the side of God. 3 Everything through him was made, and nothing was made without him. 4 That which came to be in him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

γέγονεν can be translated a number of different ways, but the main sense is coming into existence.

Thank you very much for your translation, maklelan! I have been hoping to read a modern LDS translation of the beginning of John.

That reminds me, isn't there a BYU-related translation of the New Testament in the works? I think I remember reading about such a thing some time ago.

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Thank you very much for your translation, maklelan! I have been hoping to read a modern LDS translation of the beginning of John.

That reminds me, isn't there a BYU-related translation of the New Testament in the works? I think I remember reading about such a thing some time ago.

There is. Jack Welch and John Hall are in charge of it. Hall plans to translate Ἐν ἀρχῇ as "In the council," following Hugh Nibley. I disagree with him regarding a number of his translations, and I've discussed the Johannine logos with him at great length (I'll be interested to see if I influenced his translation at all). You can expect the BYU translation to be a quite distinct translation.

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There is. Jack Welch and John Hall are in charge of it. Hall plans to translate Ἐν ἀρχῇ as "In the council," following Hugh Nibley. I disagree with him regarding a number of his translations, and I've discussed the Johannine logos with him at great length (I'll be interested to see if I influenced his translation at all). You can expect the BYU translation to be a quite distinct translation.

Do you know if the translation will also contain commentary (i.e. regarding variant readings/manuscripts/etc.)?

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From the article,

You take John 1:1 “in the beginning…”. But the Greek reads: “In the ruling council was a spokesmen, and the spokesman was among the gods and the spokesman was himself a God. That’s John 1:1.

What were Nibley's reasons for rendering Ἐν ἀρχῇ as "in the council"? Is there a reference for where he discusses this?

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