Impersonal λόγος at John 1:1 - How?

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
The discussion on how to define ο λόγος at John 1:1 has been occurring in another thread. I would like to ask those who view it as impersonal to help me understand this concept better.

Examples in Greek would be helpful. It appears that at least one of the JMs places importance on having a historical record for precedence.

Now that I don't see both JMs as the same poster I will try to keep them straight.

Thanks in advance.
 
I view it as impersonal because I believe in giving biblical meanings to biblical words. The word ο λόγος is used over 300 times in the GNT, and( I think) at least as many times in the OT but not once is ο λόγος (prior to becoming "flesh") "personal" ( meaning "a person") in the bible. There is no biblical precedent for such an idea.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I view it as impersonal because I believe in giving biblical meanings to biblical words. The word ο λόγος is used over 300 times in the GNT, and( I think) at least as many times in the OT but not once does ο λόγος (prior to it becoming "flesh") is "personal" ( meaning "a person") in the bible. There is no biblical precedent for such an idea.

Please provide a definition and example that illustrates what λόγος means for you in the Greek NT and at John 1:1, and not merely what it does not mean.

After all, you probably won't use Revelation 19:13 where ο λόγος is a name of the Son of God, which is a biblical meaning.
 
Start with the following --

ιδʹ νουν λύχνος τοῗς ποσίν μου ὁ λόγος σου καὶ φῶς ταῗς τρίβοις μου

LXX 118:105

The bible makes an explicit connection between ὁ λόγος and Torah.


After all, you probably won't use Revelation 19:13 where ο λόγος is a name of the Son of God, which is a biblical meaning.
Not sure what this is supposed to mean. Jesus called apostle Peter πέτρα but it does not mean therefore that literal rocks are human beings.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Start with the following --



LXX 118:105

The bible makes an explicit connection between ὁ λόγος and Torah.



Not sure what this is supposed to mean. Jesus called apostle Peter πέτρα but it does not mean therefore that literal rocks are human beings.
Here is an example that you have already given (I started this before you replied) which is not parallel to John 1:1:

2 Ch. 11:2
καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Σαμαιαν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων

And the word of the Lord came to Σαμαιαν, man of God saying

The preposition προς followed by the accusative has the basic sense of movement towards the entity in the accusative. See this page with the preposition chart.

In Chronicles the spoken word comes from God as the source towards Σαμαιαν, exactly as depicted in the preposition chart.

At John 1:1 there is only one person, not two, in your view. The spoken word can only come from God. But προς followed by the accusative cannot give you that sense. A spoken word must come from someone else because of the sense προς + accusative.

Earlier you criticized the BDAG entry below because you said the examples had plural subjects (1J 1:2 does not).

g. by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone Mt 13:56; Mk 6:3; 9:19a; 14:49; Lk 9:41; J 1:1f; 1 Th 3:4; 2 Th 2:5; 3:10; 1J 1:2.​

Your example with γινομαι and not εἶναι does not have movement towards the accusative entity and this is a real problem and not one that is contrived.

I asked you:
“Please provide a definition and example that illustrates what λόγος means for you in the Greek NT and at John 1:1.”

Your example of Logos = Torah does not apply to John 1:1. Προς is not used as in πρός τινα εἶναι.

And, as I have already demonstrated with Greek 101, your interpretation at John 1:1 is impossible if we take προς + accusative according to its sense in Greek.

That is, unless you have a way to interpret J 1:1 that is consistent with how προς is used.

After all, Revelation 19:13 is an example of λόγος used of a personal being.

But you don't have even one example of προς used in the “backwards” sense to which you apparently appeal.

You see, I believe in giving biblical meanings to biblical words.
 
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Here is an example that you have already given (I started this before you replied) which is not parallel to John 1:1:

2 Ch. 11:2
καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Σαμαιαν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων

And the word of the Lord came to Σαμαιαν, man of God saying

The preposition προς followed by the accusative has the basic sense of movement towards the entity in the accusative. See this page with the preposition chart.

More accurately, the preposition προς followed by the accusative with a verb of motion has the basic sense of movement towards an entity.


In Chronicles the spoken word comes from God as the source towards Σαμαιαν, exactly as depicted in the preposition chart.

The Word of God (why do you assume it was "spoken"?) might well have come towards Σαμαιαν from somewhere else (or then again, it may have been all pervasive so everywhere present at all times, in which case it couldn't possibly have motioned towards anywhere at all) . The verse simply does not tell us one way or other. Here the author is only informing the reader that the Word came to be (notice not "came to") with Σαμαιαν. The "to be verb" ἐγένετο with πρὸς and accusative does not connote movement towards. Don't know where you are getting the contrary notion from. Had the author wanted to connote movement of the Word towards someone at 2 Ch 11:2 he would have used a verb of motion instead here, like καὶ ἦλθεν λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Σαμαιαν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων...



At John 1:1 there is only one person, not two, in your view. The spoken word can only come from God. But προς followed by the accusative cannot give you that sense. A spoken word must come from someone else because of the sense προς + accusative.
προς followed by the accusative with a to be verb (ἦν) at John 1:1c can not signal motion towards by λόγος.

On another note, I see pre-flesh λόγος as pre-existent "Torah." Torah viewed in this way has already been with God in eternity past and enshrined before Him in Heaven even before the creation of the Universe. Whether the original Torah was spoken by God, or written out by Him, no one knows. Things in Heaven don't work the same way ass they do here. What is certain from the grammar ast John 1:1b is that it faced Him, and which He "consulted" when creating the Universe. Here is something from the Jewish Encyclopedia:

The Torah is older than the world, for it existed either 947 generations (Zeb. 116a, and parallels) or 2,000 years (Gen. R. viii., and parallels; Weber, "Jüdische Theologie," p. 15) before the Creation. The original Pentateuch, therefore, like everything celestial, consisted of fire, being written in black letters of flame upon a white ground of fire (Yer. Sheḳ. 49a, and parallels; Blau, "Althebräisches Buchwesen," p. 156). God held counsel with it at the creation of the world, since it was wisdom itself (Tan., Bereshit, passim), and it was God's first revelation, in which He Himself took part. It was given in completeness for all time and for all mankind, so that no further revelation can be expected.

The Jews viewed Torah as much more than words spoken and/or written.


Earlier you criticized the BDAG entry below because you said the examples had plural subjects (1J 1:2 does not).

Correct, that is why none of the examples it gives are parallel to John 1:1c.

Your example with γινομαι and not εἶναι does not have movement towards the accusative entity and this is a real problem and not one that is contrived.

Are you aware that ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b also does not denote motion towards ? In other words Λόγος was not moving towards God, or else enjoying a personal relationship with Him, but was instead in stasis, it was "facing" Him, it was "towards" Him, which is typical of a thing and not of a person. Had the apostle wanted to connote a fellowship, or a communion between Λόγος and ὁ θεός in John 1:1b , the Greek allowed for the following: καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν μετά τοῦ θεοῦ. But that is not what he wrote.


I asked you:
“Please provide a definition and example that illustrates what λόγος means for you in the Greek NT and at John 1:1.”

Your example of Logos = Torah does not apply to John 1:1. Προς is not used as in πρός τινα εἶναι.

And, as I have already demonstrated with Greek 101, your interpretation at John 1:1 is impossible if we take προς + accusative according to its sense in Greek.

That is, unless you have a way to interpret J 1:1 that is consistent with how προς is used.

Can't make head or tail of this.


After all, Revelation 19:13 is an example of λόγος used of a personal being.
Don't know what that is supposed to mean. Revelation 19:13 is an example of where a name is given to Jesus, just as Mark 16:18 is also an example of a name given to apostle Peter. In neither is a literal equation made between the name and the existence of the person. Jesus in Revelation is not literally a / the word, anymore than apostle Peter is a literal rock.

I need to see substance.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
More accurately, the preposition προς followed by the accusative with a verb of motion has the basic sense of movement towards an entity.




The Word of God (why do you assume it was "spoken"?) might well have come towards Σαμαιαν from somewhere else (or then again, it may have been all pervasive so everywhere present at all times, in which case it couldn't possibly have motioned towards anywhere at all) . The verse simply does not tell us one way or other. Here the author is only informing the reader that the Word came to be (notice not "came to") with Σαμαιαν. The "to be verb" ἐγένετο with πρὸς and accusative does not connote movement towards. Don't know where you are getting the contrary notion from. Had the author wanted to connote movement of the Word towards someone at 2 Ch 11:2 he would have used a verb of motion instead here, like καὶ ἦλθεν λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Σαμαιαν ἄνθρωπον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγων...




προς followed by the accusative with a to be verb (ἦν) at John 1:1c can not signal motion towards by λόγος.

On another note, I see pre-flesh λόγος as pre-existent "Torah." Torah viewed in this way has already been with God in eternity past and enshrined before Him in Heaven even before the creation of the Universe. Whether the original Torah was spoken by God, or written out by Him, no one knows. Things in Heaven don't work the same way ass they do here. What is certain from the grammar ast John 1:1b is that it faced Him, and which He "consulted" when creating the Universe. Here is something from the Jewish Encyclopedia:



The Jews viewed Torah as much more than words spoken and/or written.




Correct, that is why none of the examples it gives are parallel to John 1:1c.



Are you aware that ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b also does not denote motion towards ? In other words Λόγος was not moving towards God, or else enjoying a personal relationship with Him, but was instead in stasis, it was "facing" Him, it was "towards" Him, which is typical of a thing and not of a person. Had the apostle wanted to connote a fellowship, or a communion between Λόγος and ὁ θεός in John 1:1b , the Greek allowed for the following: καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν μετά τοῦ θεοῦ. But that is not what he wrote.




Can't make head or tail of this.



Don't know what that is supposed to mean. Revelation 19:13 is an example of where a name is given to Jesus, just as Mark 16:18 is also an example of a name given to apostle Peter. In neither is a literal equation made between the name and the existence of the person. Jesus in Revelation is not literally a / the word, anymore than apostle Peter is a literal rock.

I need to see substance.

Your reply is not responsive to my grammatical evidence that your view of John 1:1 because of the sense of προς + accusative. In your view λόγος comes from God, not towards him. Even with the view that a stative verb has no movement, λόγος is facing God.

You have not given any explanation that works with the grammar to justify a view that one person is in view at John 1:1.

Therefore you have no biblical sense of προς in the entire Greek NT or LXX that can justify your claim that λόγος is impersonal there.

It's just not possible.

Claiming you don't understand the Greek 101 I supplied in my link for προς is not an adequate response for a biblical languages forum.
 
Your reply is not responsive to my grammatical evidence that your view of John 1:1 because of the sense of προς + accusative. In your view λόγος comes from God, not towards him.

You have not given any explanation that works with the grammar to justify a view that one person is in view at John 1:1.

Therefore you have no biblical sense of προς in the entire Greek NT or LXX that can justify your claim that λόγος is impersonal there.

It's just not possible.

Claiming you don't understand the Greek 101 I supplied in my link for προς is not an adequate response for a biblical languages forum.

Frankly, your reply is non- responsive to my last post. You have no real "grammatical" evidence at John 1:1.

In any case, anyone who suggests that ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b denotes motion towards God is seriously mistaken.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Frankly, your reply is non- responsive to my last post. You have no real "grammatical" evidence at John 1:1.

In any case, anyone who suggests that ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b denotes motion towards God is seriously mistaken.

That's not exactly what I said, I said:

"Your reply is not responsive to my grammatical evidence that your view of John 1:1 because of the sense of προς + accusative. In your view λόγος comes from God, not towards him. Even with the view that a stative verb has no movement, λόγος is facing God."

And, if you read what I posted, I never claimed that there was movement in view at John 1:1.
 
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That's not exactly what I said, I said:

"Your reply is not responsive to my grammatical evidence that your view of John 1:1 because of the sense of προς + accusative. In your view λόγος comes from God, not towards him. Even with the view that a stative verb has no movement, λόγος is facing God."

That is not my view at John 1:1b.

Does ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b denote any of the following -- motion towards, communion , fellowship ?
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
That is not my view at John 1:1b.

Does ἦν with πρὸς and accusative at John 1:1b denote any of the following -- motion towards, communion , fellowship ?

I asked you to define your view first. You cannot do this because it won't work with προς.

I agree with BDAG, "in company with" someone. I already said that before.

Now, please define your view. I don't believe there is a way for you to inform your view consistent with the Greek, as I have already demonstrated.
 
I asked you to define your view first. You cannot do this because it won't work with προς.

I agree with BDAG, "in company with" someone. I already said that before.

Now, please define your view. I don't believe there is a way for you to inform your view consistent with the Greek, as I have already demonstrated.

I think you are mis-reading BDAG. No decent resource would declare that. I need to see the full and exact citation.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I think you are mis-reading BDAG. No decent resource would declare that. I need to see the full and exact citation.

That's irrelevant. I answered your question and you cannot define your view.

Here is BDAG:



g. by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone Mt 13:56; Mk 6:3; 9:19a; 14:49; Lk 9:41; J 1:1f; 1 Th 3:4; 2 Th 2:5; 3:10; 1J 1:2. διαμένειν Ac 10:48 D; Gal 2:5b. ἐπιμένειν 1:18; 1 Cor 16:7. παραμένειν 16:6 (v.l. κατα-). μένειν Ac 18:3 D. παρεῖναι 12:20; 2 Cor 11:9; Gal 4:18, 20; cp. παρουσία πρὸς ὑμᾶς Phil 1:26. παρεπιδημεῖν 1 Cl 1:2. ἐποίησεν τρεῖς μῆνας πρὸς τὴν Ἐλισάβεδ GJs 12:3. πρὸς σὲ ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα Mt 26:18b. Cp. also 2 Cor 1:12; 7:12; 12:21; 2 Th 3:1; Phlm 13; 1J 2:1; Hm 11:9b v.l.—πρὸς ἑαυτούς among or to themselves Mk 9:10 (in case πρὸς ἑ. belongs w. τὸν λόγον ἐκράτησαν; B-D-F §239, 1). πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο he uttered a prayer to himself Lk 18:11. Cp. 24:12. —δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν tied at a door Mk 11:4. τὴν πᾶσαν σάρκα ἀνθρώπων πρὸς ἡδονὴν ἐδέσμευεν (Satan) bound all humankind to self-gratification AcPlCor 2:11. πρὸς τ. θάλασσαν by the seaside Mk 4:1b. On πρὸς τὸ φῶς at the fire Mk 14:54; Lk 22:56 s. B-D-F §239, 3; Rob. 625 (perh. w. the idea of turning toward the fire; s. also 4 Km 23:3). πρὸς ἓν τῶν ὀρέων at one of the mountains 1 Cl 10:7. τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν the place near the door Mk 2:2. πρὸς γράμμα letter by letter Hv 2, 1, 4.—On πρός τι terms s. PWouters, The Treatment of Relational Nouns in Ancient Grammar: Orbis 38, ’95, 149-78 (lit.). M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.
 
That's irrelevant. I answered your question and you cannot define your view.

Here is BDAG:



g. by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone Mt 13:56; Mk 6:3; 9:19a; 14:49; Lk 9:41; J 1:1f; 1 Th 3:4; 2 Th 2:5; 3:10; 1J 1:2. διαμένειν Ac 10:48 D; Gal 2:5b. ἐπιμένειν 1:18; 1 Cor 16:7. παραμένειν 16:6 (v.l. κατα-). μένειν Ac 18:3 D. παρεῖναι 12:20; 2 Cor 11:9; Gal 4:18, 20; cp. παρουσία πρὸς ὑμᾶς Phil 1:26. παρεπιδημεῖν 1 Cl 1:2. ἐποίησεν τρεῖς μῆνας πρὸς τὴν Ἐλισάβεδ GJs 12:3. πρὸς σὲ ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα Mt 26:18b. Cp. also 2 Cor 1:12; 7:12; 12:21; 2 Th 3:1; Phlm 13; 1J 2:1; Hm 11:9b v.l.—πρὸς ἑαυτούς among or to themselves Mk 9:10 (in case πρὸς ἑ. belongs w. τὸν λόγον ἐκράτησαν; B-D-F §239, 1). πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο he uttered a prayer to himself Lk 18:11. Cp. 24:12. —δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν tied at a door Mk 11:4. τὴν πᾶσαν σάρκα ἀνθρώπων πρὸς ἡδονὴν ἐδέσμευεν (Satan) bound all humankind to self-gratification AcPlCor 2:11. πρὸς τ. θάλασσαν by the seaside Mk 4:1b. On πρὸς τὸ φῶς at the fire Mk 14:54; Lk 22:56 s. B-D-F §239, 3; Rob. 625 (perh. w. the idea of turning toward the fire; s. also 4 Km 23:3). πρὸς ἓν τῶν ὀρέων at one of the mountains 1 Cl 10:7. τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν the place near the door Mk 2:2. πρὸς γράμμα letter by letter Hv 2, 1, 4.—On πρός τι terms s. PWouters, The Treatment of Relational Nouns in Ancient Grammar: Orbis 38, ’95, 149-78 (lit.). M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.

Just as I thought, you are abusing this resource. The resource does not explicitly say that J 1:1b denotes someone is in company with someone else. It gives a range of possible meanings in addition to πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone , like "by, at, near instead of " without being specific about which meaning applies to which particular verse.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Just as I thought, you are abusing this resource. The resource does not explicitly say that J 1:1b denotes someone is in company with someone else. It gives a range of possible meanings in addition to πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone , like "by, at, near instead of " without being specific about which meaning applies to which particular verse.

You have not defined your view. Stop the distraction and get on with it.
 

John Milton

Active member
Just as I thought, you are abusing this resource. The resource does not explicitly say that J 1:1b denotes someone is in company with someone else. It gives a range of possible meanings in addition to πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone , like "by, at, near instead of " without being specific about which meaning applies to which particular verse.
g. by, at, near πρός τινα εἶναι be (in company) with someone Mt 13:56; Mk 6:3; 9:19a; 14:49; Lk 9:41; J 1:1f; 1 Th 3:4; 2 Th 2:5; 3:10; 1J 1:2.

What do you think the "f" refers to?
 
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