θεός vs. υἱός 1 John 1:18

Gryllus Maior

Active member
Internal Evidence for the Reading θεός (QEOS) vs. υἱός (hUIOS).



In text criticism, there are two major divisions of evidence:



1) The external witnesses. These include, in order of priority, a) actual manuscript copies), b) ancient versions (translations), and c) citations in Early Christian Writers (ECW’s). These constitute “hard evidence.”



2) Internal Evidence. This is evidence from the text itself, and asks the question, “Given a texual difference among the external witnesses, what would the author most likely have written based on his style and content?” “What exegetical considerations might lead us to make a determination one way or the other?”



It should be clear that there is always going to be a subjective element to the internal witness, since it results largely from interpretation of the text. The external witnesses, despite the claims of some critics such as Emmanuel Tov, must always remain primary. Nevertheless, when the external witnesses are close in terms of the readings, internal criteria may sometimes help resolve the issues. In this brief essay, which at this point is only effectively an outline, I wish to point out one major composition issue that leads us toward the reading θεός (QEOS), and also discuss syntactical considerations which show the consistency of the reading with John’s understanding of the LOGOS-QEOS of John 1:1-18.



Ring Composition



John 1:18 shows specific stylistic markers that indicate the necessity of seeing it as a section, specifically as an introduction or a prologue to the rest of John’s gospel. This includes the themeatic nature of the text, a series of generalized statements in discourse style, but in observably non-narrative format, that introduce the major themes that John will reference time and time again throughout the document. Another stylistic marker is “ring composition,” a form of parallelism in which the section ends with a repetition or paraphrase of the language with which it began. In this case, the repetition of θεός (QEOS) in 1:18 would provide a perfect reflection of the claims with which John begins his gospel, the Logos as the Creator/Redeemer with the Logos become flesh as the Revealer/Redeemer.



Exegetical Notes



It has been claimed that the language of John 1:18, if θεός is read, will result in bitheism (a two gods theology) rather than a Trinitarian understanding. The actual syntax of the the passage will not, however allow this, any more than at John 1:1. Vs. 18 begins with the statement that “no one has ever seen God,” a statement that itself must be very carefully qualified. Monotheistic readers would at this point read the anarthrous θεόν as the one true God, although if they had read or listened carefully, might be suspicious that this is still part of John’s expansion of the term begun at 1:1, and they would be correct. John then goes on to state that the “the only begotten God (μονογεν\ς θεός) the one being (ὁ ὤν) in closest kinship with the Father, he has explained him.”



1. Whether μονογενής should be translated “unique” or “only-born/generated” is another discussion. What is clear from the lexical evidence is that the term implies a unique relationship best suited to only children, and so I have used the traditional rendering here. “Only begotten God” is no more strange than the the claim at John 1:1, that the Logos is both with God and is God himself, or that Jesus, despite his several claims to deity throughout the gospel of John, should refer to his Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3). The ancient church theologians, however, read this word of the eternal relationship of the Father and the Son, that the Son is fully God, being generated by the Father from all eternity. It certainly implies the traditional Trinitarian belief that the distinction between the first and second persons of the Trinity are the qualities of Fatherhood and Sonship.



2. The phrase translated above, “the one being” (ὁ ὤν) is reminiscent of the language used at LXX Ex 3:14, and may be a deliberate attempt to recall that language.



3. The use of the participial phrase explains in part the lack of the article for θεός. The participial phrase, is used substantively and is the effective subject, with θεός acting as the predicate, the same syntax as at John 1:1c, with λόγοςas the subject and θεός as the predicate. The use of the participial phrase in the non-attributive position emphasizes the relationship of the only-begotten God to the Father.
 
Suggest you read what Mr. Barth Ehrman has to say on this issue in his The Orthodox Corruption Of Scripture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 78-82.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
Here is Metzgar:

1:18 μονογενὴς θεός {B}


With the acquisition of 𝔓66 and 𝔓75, both of which read θεός, the external support of this reading has been notably strengthened. A majority of the Committee regarded the reading μονογενὴς υἱός, which undoubtedly is easier than μονογενὴς θεός, to be the result of scribal assimilation to Jn 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9. The anarthrous use of θεός (cf. 1:1) appears to be more primitive. There is no reason why the article should have been deleted, and when υἱός supplanted θεός it would certainly have been added. The shortest reading, ὁ μονογενής, while attractive because of internal considerations, is too poorly attested for acceptance as the text.

Some modern commentators take μονογενής as a noun and punctuate so as to have three distinct designations of him who makes God known (μονογενής, θεός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς …).

Metzger, B. M., United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (pp. 169–170). London; New York: United Bible Societies.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
Internal Evidence for the Reading θεός (QEOS) vs. υἱός (hUIOS).



In text criticism, there are two major divisions of evidence:



1) The external witnesses. These include, in order of priority, a) actual manuscript copies), b) ancient versions (translations), and c) citations in Early Christian Writers (ECW’s). These constitute “hard evidence.”



2) Internal Evidence. This is evidence from the text itself, and asks the question, “Given a texual difference among the external witnesses, what would the author most likely have written based on his style and content?” “What exegetical considerations might lead us to make a determination one way or the other?”



It should be clear that there is always going to be a subjective element to the internal witness, since it results largely from interpretation of the text. The external witnesses, despite the claims of some critics such as Emmanuel Tov, must always remain primary. Nevertheless, when the external witnesses are close in terms of the readings, internal criteria may sometimes help resolve the issues. In this brief essay, which at this point is only effectively an outline, I wish to point out one major composition issue that leads us toward the reading θεός (QEOS), and also discuss syntactical considerations which show the consistency of the reading with John’s understanding of the LOGOS-QEOS of John 1:1-18.



Ring Composition



John 1:18 shows specific stylistic markers that indicate the necessity of seeing it as a section, specifically as an introduction or a prologue to the rest of John’s gospel. This includes the themeatic nature of the text, a series of generalized statements in discourse style, but in observably non-narrative format, that introduce the major themes that John will reference time and time again throughout the document. Another stylistic marker is “ring composition,” a form of parallelism in which the section ends with a repetition or paraphrase of the language with which it began. In this case, the repetition of θεός (QEOS) in 1:18 would provide a perfect reflection of the claims with which John begins his gospel, the Logos as the Creator/Redeemer with the Logos become flesh as the Revealer/Redeemer.



Exegetical Notes



It has been claimed that the language of John 1:18, if θεός is read, will result in bitheism (a two gods theology) rather than a Trinitarian understanding. The actual syntax of the the passage will not, however allow this, any more than at John 1:1. Vs. 18 begins with the statement that “no one has ever seen God,” a statement that itself must be very carefully qualified. Monotheistic readers would at this point read the anarthrous θεόν as the one true God, although if they had read or listened carefully, might be suspicious that this is still part of John’s expansion of the term begun at 1:1, and they would be correct. John then goes on to state that the “the only begotten God (μονογεν\ς θεός) the one being (ὁ ὤν) in closest kinship with the Father, he has explained him.”

Well one thing is for sure. If you have a begotten God, and an unbegotten God, you have two God's on your hands.

1. Whether μονογενής should be translated “unique” or “only-born/generated” is another discussion. What is clear from the lexical evidence is that the term implies a unique relationship best suited to only children, and so I have used the traditional rendering here. “Only begotten God” is no more strange than the the claim at John 1:1, that the Logos is both with God and is God himself, or that Jesus, despite his several claims to deity throughout the gospel of John, should refer to his Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3). The ancient church theologians, however, read this word of the eternal relationship of the Father and the Son, that the Son is fully God, being generated by the Father from all eternity. It certainly implies the traditional Trinitarian belief that the distinction between the first and second persons of the Trinity are the qualities of Fatherhood and Sonship.

4th century Trinitarians obvious interpreted μονογενής to mean "only begotten." It doesn't take long to figure that one out.

2. The phrase translated above, “the one being” (ὁ ὤν) is reminiscent of the language used at LXX Ex 3:14, and may be a deliberate attempt to recall that language.

Since this is routine language, why don't you realize it is a feeble argument.

3. The use of the participial phrase explains in part the lack of the article for θεός. The participial phrase, is used substantively and is the effective subject, with θεός acting as the predicate, the same syntax as at John 1:1c, with λόγοςas the subject and θεός as the predicate. The use of the participial phrase in the non-attributive position emphasizes the relationship of the only-begotten God to the Father.
 
Well one thing is for sure. If you have a begotten God, and an unbegotten God, you have two God's on your hands.



4th century Trinitarians obvious interpreted μονογενής to mean "only begotten." It doesn't take long to figure that one out.



Since this is routine language, why don't you realize it is a feeble argument.

Yes, especially if they are apparently "ontologically equal." It's no different than saying that Paul and John are two different men. Just because they have the same nature does not mean we're not dealing with more than one man here.
 
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