Examples where BDAG is anti-trinitarian

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Some here have accused the Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon of having a Trinitarian bias. This thread will have examples where this is not true.

How does one describe the entry in BDAG [a] for θεός when used with reference to Christ?

One must remember that BDAG is the third edition of the Bauer lexicon translated from German to English. Much in BDAG is from the 1975 BAG and the 1985 BAGD.

The entry for Titus 2:13 in the article on θεός when used of Christ is from the earlier editions. It simply says says:

> Tit 2:13 (μέγας θ.). [a]

At first glance this looks like a solid endorsement for calling Christ “great God.”

However it is wise to read the way *BDAG characterizes the different verses where some say θεός is used of Christ and why.


It starts with:

> BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate.

Some passages are in “debate” and some are not.

What does BDAG mean when θεός is used of Christ?

> In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients.

So Christ is “a god .” How does BDAG indicate a verse that calls Christ θεός is not debatable?

John 1:1 is an example of this. It certainly refers to Christ here!

> In any event, θ. certainly refers to Christ, as one who manifests primary characteristics of deity, in the foll. NT pass.: J 1:1b (w. ὁ θεός 1:1a, which refers to God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.

But note BDAG contrasts θεός at 1:1b with its use at ὁ θεός 1:1a which is “God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.”

With this in mind consider that in the year 2000 Danker added a qualification to θεός at Titus 2:13 based on the use of και that was not in BAG or BAGD.


> BDAG σωτηρ - ὁ μέγας θεὸς καὶ σ. ἡμῶν Χρ. Ἱ. our great God and Savior Christ Jesus Tit 2:13 (cp. PLond III, 604b, 118 p. 80 [47 AD] τῷ μεγάλῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι; but the presence of καί Tit 2:13 suggests a difft. semantic aspect and may justify the rendering in NRSV mg)

So, the latest scholarship of Danker moves away from the earlier entry which was not a strong endorsement in the first place.

When coupled with the entry for Σωτηρ above, BDAG is certainly mixed in this verse, but the latest addition is based on linguistics and gives the reason for the addition.

In any event, if BDAG applies θεός to Christ at Titus 2:13 it is not dogmatic and with the understanding that it is not a monotheistic use of θεός as used at John 1:1a.
 
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Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Some here have accused the Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon of having a Trinitarian bias. This thread will have examples where this is not true.

In the BDAG entry for αρχή it now says that Christ as first-created is the probable meaning based on linguistics. The previous BAGD said "possible."

3. the first cause, the beginning (philos. t.t. ODittrich, D. Systeme d. Moral I 1923, 360a, 369a;—Ael. Aristid. 43, 9 K.=1 p. 3 D.: ἀρχὴ ἁπάντων Ζεύς τε καὶ ἐκ Διὸς πάντα; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190 God as ἀρχὴ κ. μέσα κ. τέλος τῶν πάντων [contrast SIG 1125, 10f]) of Christ ἡἀ. τῆς κτίσεως Rv 3:14; but the mng.beginning = ‘first created’ is linguistically probable (s. above 1b and Job 40:19; also CBurney, Christ as the Ἀρχή of Creation: JTS 27, 1926, 160-77). [ὁ γὰ]ρ π¯> ρ¯> (=πατὴρ) [ἀρ]|χή ἐ[σ]τ>[ιν τῶν μ]ελλόν|των for the Father is the source of all who are to come into being in contrast to the προπάτωρ, who is without a beginning Ox 1081, 38f (SJCh 91, 1 ἀρχή; on the context, s. WTill, TU 60/5, '55 p. 57).
 

Stephen

Active member
> Tit 2:13 (μέγας θ.). [a]
> BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate.

> In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients.

> In any event, θ. certainly refers to Christ, as one who manifests primary characteristics of deity, in the foll. NT pass.: J 1:1b (w. ὁ θεός 1:1a, which refers to God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.

> BDAG σωτηρ - ὁ μέγας θεὸς καὶ σ. ἡμῶν Χρ. Ἱ. our great God and Savior Christ Jesus Tit 2:13 (cp. PLond III, 604b, 118 p. 80 [47 AD] τῷ μεγάλῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι; but the presence of καί Tit 2:13 suggests a difft. semantic aspect and may justify the rendering in NRSV mg)

How does one describe the entry in BDAG [a] for θεός when used with reference to Christ?

I rearranged the post a little bit to let the BDAG speak for itself.

To answer the question, Fair/Factual. For example:
  • it doesn't use hyperbole
  • it doesn't say "must" or "demands" the NRSV margin at Titus 2:13. It says "may" mean "of the great God and our Savior".
  • It acknowledges that the Ancient Near East may use "theos" in a different way than 21st century Christians.
  • It acknowledges that in the New Testament "theos" is the Father.

This really doesn't demonstrate bias.


In the BDAG entry for αρχή it now says that Christ as first-created is the probable meaning based on linguistics. The previous BAGD said "possible."

3. the first cause, the beginning (philos. t.t. ODittrich, D. Systeme d. Moral I 1923, 360a, 369a;—Ael. Aristid. 43, 9 K.=1 p. 3 D.: ἀρχὴ ἁπάντων Ζεύς τε καὶ ἐκ Διὸς πάντα; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190 God as ἀρχὴ κ. μέσα κ. τέλος τῶν πάντων [contrast SIG 1125, 10f]) of Christ ἡἀ. τῆς κτίσεως Rv 3:14; but the mng.beginning = ‘first created’ is linguistically probable (s. above 1b and Job 40:19; also CBurney, Christ as the Ἀρχή of Creation: JTS 27, 1926, 160-77). [ὁ γὰ]ρ π¯> ρ¯> (=πατὴρ) [ἀρ]|χή ἐ[σ]τ>[ιν τῶν μ]ελλόν|των for the Father is the source of all who are to come into being in contrast to the προπάτωρ, who is without a beginning Ox 1081, 38f (SJCh 91, 1 ἀρχή; on the context, s. WTill, TU 60/5, '55 p. 57).

How does one describe the entry in BDAG [a] for θεός when used with reference to Christ?

This is an extremely weak assertion of bias. If linguistics has moved the probability from "possible" to "probable", then it has. If the linguistics hasn't, then it hasn't. I couldn't tell you whether it has or it hasn't but that is how you should attack the change.

Disagreeing with the change with no rationale just shows your bias in preferring the old entry, it doesn't demonstrate their bias in the change.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I rearranged the post a little bit to let the BDAG speak for itself.

To answer the question, Fair/Factual. For example:
  • it doesn't use hyperbole
  • it doesn't say "must" or "demands" the NRSV margin at Titus 2:13. It says "may" mean "of the great God and our Savior".
  • It acknowledges that the Ancient Near East may use "theos" in a different way than 21st century Christians.
  • It acknowledges that in the New Testament "theos" is the Father.

This really doesn't demonstrate bias.




This is an extremely weak assertion of bias. If linguistics has moved the probability from "possible" to "probable", then it has. If the linguistics hasn't, then it hasn't. I couldn't tell you whether it has or it hasn't but that is how you should attack the change.

Disagreeing with the change with no rationale just shows your bias in preferring the old entry, it doesn't demonstrate their bias in the change.

I think you are not aware of why I posted this. Another member refused to consider BDAG because of being written by Trinitarians. This thread is for the purpose of showing Danker has entries that many Trinitarians would find problematic.
 

Stephen

Active member
I think you are not aware of why I posted this. Another member refused to consider BDAG because of being written by Trinitarians. This thread is for the purpose of showing Danker has entries that many Trinitarians would find problematic.

Ahhh..... that is a different scope than I read into the title.

While I reject the trinity, I don't have enough knowledge of the BDAG or greek to say anything one way or the other as it relates to the idea of rejecting the BDAG altogether. (it would seem that rejecting a specific entry with reasonable rationale would be a better approach)


Now I understand your approach. Your intention is to say,
  • "if the BDAG were significantly biased towards trinitarianism then in these contended situations it would say X"
  • "it actually says Y"
  • Therefore conclusion is "no bias" for this entry.
I will say that those two entries are pretty good towards that goal.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
As a "card carrying" Trinitarian, I approve this thread. Anybody who has studied the language in any depth should recognize that BDAG is a useful, high end scholarly production. Even if there were bias, one can usually identify it at any given point and deal with -- over the years I've learned a great deal from writers with whose overall viewpoint I've disagreed.
 
How does one describe the entry in BDAG [a] for θεός when used with reference to Christ?

One must remember that BDAG is the third edition of the Bauer lexicon translated from German to English. Much in BDAG is from the 1975 BAG and the 1985 BAGD.

The entry for Titus 2:13 in the article on θεός when used of Christ is from the earlier editions. It simply says says:

> Tit 2:13 (μέγας θ.). [a]

At first glance this looks like a solid endorsement for calling Christ “great God.”

However it is wise to read the way *BDAG characterizes the different verses where some say θεός is used of Christ and why.


It starts with:

> BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate.

Some passages are in “debate” and some are not.

What does BDAG mean when θεός is used of Christ?

> In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients.

So Christ is “a god .” How does BDAG indicate a verse that calls Christ θεός is not debatable?

John 1:1 is an example of this. It certainly refers to Christ here!

> In any event, θ. certainly refers to Christ, as one who manifests primary characteristics of deity, in the foll. NT pass.: J 1:1b (w. ὁ θεός 1:1a, which refers to God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.

But note BDAG contrasts θεός at 1:1b with its use at ὁ θεός 1:1a which is “God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.”

With this in mind consider that in the year 2000 Danker added a qualification to θεός at Titus 2:13 based on the use of και that was not in BAG or BAGD.


> BDAG σωτηρ - ὁ μέγας θεὸς καὶ σ. ἡμῶν Χρ. Ἱ. our great God and Savior Christ Jesus Tit 2:13 (cp. PLond III, 604b, 118 p. 80 [47 AD] τῷ μεγάλῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι; but the presence of καί Tit 2:13 suggests a difft. semantic aspect and may justify the rendering in NRSV mg)

So, the latest scholarship of Danker moves away from the earlier entry which was not a strong endorsement in the first place.

When coupled with the entry for Σωτηρ above, BDAG is certainly mixed in this verse, but the latest addition is based on linguistics and gives the reason for the addition.

In any event, if BDAG applies θεός to Christ at Titus 2:13 it is not dogmatic and with the understanding that it is not a monotheistic use of θεός as used at John 1:1a.

You seem to be mis-reading BDAG above in order to massage the plain meaning of it's commentary to suit your JW inclinations. BDAG does not call Christ "a god," you do. What BDAG does, being ardently Trinitarian, is take a stand against even Modalism (Sabellianism) as opposed to Trinitarianism when it says the following:

BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate.

It is unapologetically Trinitarian when dealing with most (if not all) of the so-called "Christologically signification" verses.
 
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As a "card carrying" Trinitarian, I approve this thread. Anybody who has studied the language in any depth should recognize that BDAG is a useful, high end scholarly production. Even if there were bias, one can usually identify it at any given point and deal with -- over the years I've learned a great deal from writers with whose overall viewpoint I've disagreed.

There is bias, and then there is the sort of bias which BDAG displays. That you cannot discern this does not bode well for your own impartiality.

Now, an example of a relatively impartial sort of production would be Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit. I would go so far as to consider this article to be a work of courage (relatively speaking) by one among the usually timid Trinitarian academics. Wallace apparently has received a lot of push-back (some publicly, most privately) for daring to speak his mind in that article.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
You seem to be mis-reading BDAG above in order to massage the plain meaning of it's citations to suit your JW inclinations. BDAG does not call Christ "a god," you do. What BDAG does, being ardently Trinitarian, is take a stand against even Modalism (Sabellianism) when it says the following:



It is unapologetically Trinitarian in most (if not all) of the so-called "Christologically significations" verses.

I have had many discussions with Trinitarians and cannot recall one who agreed with the use of Mark 10:18 the way BDAG does.

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

In BDAG it would violate the Shema to call Jesus good.

Want to test this in the Trinity forum and see sparks fly?
 
As a "card carrying" Trinitarian, I approve this thread. Anybody who has studied the language in any depth should recognize that BDAG is a useful, high end scholarly production. Even if there were bias, one can usually identify it at any given point and deal with -- over the years I've learned a great deal from writers with whose overall viewpoint I've disagreed.

I have inspected your Christology in the past (concerning the very important issue of anhypostasis / enhypostasis) and you clearly default to a Nestorian perspective rather than to an orthodox Trinitarian one.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
There is bias, and then there is the sort of bias which BDAG displays. That you cannot discern this does not bode well for your own impartiality.

Now, an example of a relatively impartial sort of production would be Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar and the Personality of the Holy Spirit. I would go so far as to consider this article to be a work of courage (relatively speaking) by one among the usually timid Trinitarian academics. Wallace apparently has received a lot of push-back (some publicly, most privately) for daring to speak his mind in that article.

Yes, I have used that article for years. In fact some have gotten Wallace involved as a result, and relayed his message on the old CARM years ago.
You seem to be mis-reading BDAG above in order to massage the plain meaning of it's commentary to suit your JW inclinations. BDAG does not call Christ "a god," you do. What BDAG does, being ardently Trinitarian, is take a stand against even Modalism (Sabellianism) as opposed to Trinitarianism when it says the following:



It is unapologetically Trinitarian when dealing with most (if not all) of the so-called "Christologically signification" verses.

Which ones?
Some here have accused the Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon of having a Trinitarian bias. This thread will have examples where this is not true.

Romans 9:5

In Ro 9:5 the interpr. is complicated by demand of punctuation marks in printed texts. If a period is placed before ὁ ὢν κτλ., the doxology refers to God as defined in Israel** (so EAbbot, JBL 1, 1881, 81-154; 3, 1883, 90-112; RLipsius; HHoltzmann, Ntl. Theol.2 II 1911, 99f; EGünther, StKr 73, 1900, 636-44; FBurkitt, JTS 5, 1904, 451-55; Jülicher; PFeine, Theol.d. NTs6 ’34, 176 et al.; RSV text; NRSV mg.). A special consideration in favor of this interpretation is the status assigned to Christ in 1 Cor 15:25-28 and the probability that Paul is not likely to have violated the injunction in Dt 5:7.

@The Real John Milton
You think this entry is unabashedly Trinitarian?
 
I have had many discussions with Trinitarians and cannot recall one who agreed with the use of Mark 10:18 the way BDAG does.

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

In BDAG it would violate the Shema to call Jesus good.


Want to test this in the Trinity forum and see sparks fly?

Don't know where you are getting this from ?

Suffice it to say that most of your musings concerning BDAG in this thread are just that. I have not seen a single instance where BDAG definitively disagrees with the Trinitarian perspective on any significant biblical verse. Even the strong Trinitarian Gordon Fee is more unbiased at Titus 2:13 for instance than is BDAG.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
I have inspected your Christology in the past (concerning the very important issue of anhypostasis / enhypostasis) and you clearly default to a Nestorian perspective rather than to an orthodox Trinitarian one.
Do I now? That's interesting. It's why I stick to language issues and avoid theology these days. I don't think I've ever posted in the Trinity subforum, and hope never to do so. In fact, I need to get some work done today, including my "extra-curricular" reading that I'm currently doing in Plato.
 
Yes, I have used that article for years. In fact some have gotten Wallace involved as a result, and relayed his message on the old CARM years ago.


Which ones?

You can start with John 1:1b and c.

Romans 9:5

In Ro 9:5 the interpr. is complicated by demand of punctuation marks in printed texts. If a period is placed before ὁ ὢν κτλ., the doxology refers to God as defined in Israel** (so EAbbot, JBL 1, 1881, 81-154; 3, 1883, 90-112; RLipsius; HHoltzmann, Ntl. Theol.2 II 1911, 99f; EGünther, StKr 73, 1900, 636-44; FBurkitt, JTS 5, 1904, 451-55; Jülicher; PFeine, Theol.d. NTs6 ’34, 176 et al.; RSV text; NRSV mg.). A special consideration in favor of this interpretation is the status assigned to Christ in 1 Cor 15:25-28 and the probability that Paul is not likely to have violated the injunction in Dt 5:7.

@The Real John Milton
You think this entry is unabashedly Trinitarian?

Wow, you truly are letting your JW imagination run wild here. In 1 Cor. 15:25-28 Trinitarians see a functional subordination of Christ to the Father rather than an ontological one, that is why according to it's [rather twisted] thinking at Dt. 5:7 the Shema is not violated, and not because Christ is not "truly God."
 
Do I now? That's interesting. It's why I stick to language issues and avoid theology these days. I don't think I've ever posted in the Trinity subforum, and hope never to do so. In fact, I need to get some work done today, including my "extra-curricular" reading that I'm currently doing in Plato.

Well, you can avoid the real Trinitarian Jesus, but you can't avoid him (for ever) because in the end you are going to be living with him until time is ended by God.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Don't know where you are getting this from ?

Suffice it to say that most of your musings concerning BDAG in this thread are just that. I have not seen a single instance where BDAG definitively disagrees with the Trinitarian perspective on any significant biblical verse. Even the strong Trinitarian Gordon Fee is more unbiased at Titus 2:13 for instance than is BDAG.

This is from the BDAG entry on θεός. I find it extraordinary that you have such a strong opinion of a work you don't recognize.

And what it says on Romans 9:5?

Saying Paul could not call Christ God there because of the Shema that I posted earlier?

It seems the bias is all yours.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
You can start with John 1:1b and c.

Romans 9:5



Wow, you truly are letting your JW imagination run wild here. In 1 Cor. 15:25-28 Trinitarians see a functional subordination of Christ to the Father rather than an ontological one, that is why according to it's [rather twisted] thinking at Dt. 5:7 the Shema is not violated, and not because Christ is not "truly God."

I have had discussions with published Trinitarians on this verse and they take great exception to this statement.

It's certainly not pro Trinitarian.

In fact you have not given one real example that is, even though you say the majority of Trinitarian proof texts are biased towards the Trinity in BDAG.
 

Stephen

Active member
> In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients.

So Christ is “a god .” How does BDAG indicate a verse that calls Christ θεός is not debatable?


Does the BDAG actually say "a god" here?
 
In the BDAG entry for αρχή it now says that Christ as first-created is the probable meaning based on linguistics. The previous BAGD said "possible."

3. the first cause, the beginning (philos. t.t. ODittrich, D. Systeme d. Moral I 1923, 360a, 369a;—Ael. Aristid. 43, 9 K.=1 p. 3 D.: ἀρχὴ ἁπάντων Ζεύς τε καὶ ἐκ Διὸς πάντα; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190 God as ἀρχὴ κ. μέσα κ. τέλος τῶν πάντων [contrast SIG 1125, 10f]) of Christ ἡἀ. τῆς κτίσεως Rv 3:14; but the mng.beginning = ‘first created’ is linguistically probable (s. above 1b and Job 40:19; also CBurney, Christ as the Ἀρχή of Creation: JTS 27, 1926, 160-77). [ὁ γὰ]ρ π¯> ρ¯> (=πατὴρ) [ἀρ]|χή ἐ[σ]τ>[ιν τῶν μ]ελλόν|των for the Father is the source of all who are to come into being in contrast to the προπάτωρ, who is without a beginning Ox 1081, 38f (SJCh 91, 1 ἀρχή; on the context, s. WTill, TU 60/5, '55 p. 57).

When BDAG says bold above it is hardly indulging the JW theological framework (where Christ is the first born Angel creature in the original creation). Rather the Second Creation (Christ as being the first born from among the dead) is probably in it's view here.
 
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