Wednesday, April 27, 2011

JOHN 1:1 & THE USE & NON-USE OF THE DEFINITE ARTICLE IN GREEK



PHILO JUDAEUS (c. 20 B.C.E to 50 C.E.): “...And do not pass by what is here said, but examine it accurately, and see whether there are really two Gods. For it is said: 'I am the God who was seen by thee;' not in my place, but in the place of God, as if he meant of some other God. What then ought we to say? There is one true God only: but they who are called Gods, by an abuse of language, are numerous; on which account the holy scripture on the present occasion indicates that it is the true God that is meant by the use of the article, the expression being, 'I am the God [ho theos];' but when the word is used incorrectly, it is put without the article, the expression being, 'He who was seen by thee in the place,' not of the God [tou theou], but simply 'of God' [theou]; and what he here calls God is his most Ancient Word [Logos]...” - (On Dreams, 1.228-230)


COMPARE:


(ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA): “...We next notice John's use of the article in these sentences. He does not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties of the Greek tongue. In some cases he uses the article, and in some he omits it. He adds the article to the Logos, but to the name of God he adds it sometimes only. He uses the article, when the name of God refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos is named God. Does the same difference which we observe between God with the article and God without it prevail also between the Logos with it and without it? We must enquire into this. As the God who is over all is God with the article not without it, so "the Logos" is the source of that reason (Logos) which dwells in every reasonable creature; the reason which is in each creature is not, like the former called par excellence The Logos. Now there are many who are sincerely concerned about religion, and who fall here into great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two Gods, and their fear drives them into doctrines which are false and wicked. Either they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be God all but the name, or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father, "That they may know Thee the only true God; "but that all beyond the Very God -- IS ( MADE ) GOD -- by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, ( of ) whom God - is the God, as it is written, "The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth." It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is "The God," and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning, and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father...” - (Commentary On John, Book. 2. Chapter 2. IN WHAT WAY THE LOGOS IS GOD. ERRORS TO BE AVOIDED ON THIS QUESTION. Roberts & Donaldson ANF.)



(ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA): “...We may by this solve the doubts which terrify many men, who pretend to great piety, and who afraid of making two Gods, and through this, fall into vain and impious opinions ; denying that the nature of the Son [Gk., heteros] ( is-different ) [Gk., para] from that of the Father, and who acknowledge that he is God [Gk., me(chi)ri ovomatos par'] in name only ; or denying the divinity of the Son, and then maintaining that his nature and essence is [Gk., heterav folowed by the genitive article] ( different-from ) that of the Father. For we must tell them, that he who is God of himself, is God with the article ; but that all who are not [Gk., auto-theos] God of themselves, who are ( divine ) by ( becoming ) partakers of ( his ) divinity, are God ( without ) the article, and severally, among whom especially ( is ) the first-born of ( of ) all the creatures...” - (Commentary in John II. p. 47. [As quoted in: “The theological and miscellaneous works of Joseph Priestley, Volume 6] Page 254.)



Compare a little further on in the same Commentary:



(ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA): “...There was God with the article [1:1b] and God without the article [1:1c], then there were gods in two orders, at the summit of the higher order of whom is God the Word, transcended Himself by the God of the universe. And again, there was the Logos with the article and the Logos without the article, corresponding to God absolutely and a god..." - (Commentary on the Gospel According to John, translated by: Mensies, Allan, D.D., Professor of Biblical Criticism, St. Andrews University. Appearing as vol. q0 in: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Origens Book 2, part 2, p 324. American Reprint of the Edinburgh 2nd Edition.)