Question for Roger concerning John 1:1c

καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

According to Gryllus , both Θεὸς and ὁ Λόγος are definite. Never mind that this understanding of the clause is Sabellianism / Modalism rather than Trinitarian, but Gryllus here makes one more dubious assertion. According to him the only reason for the lack of an article here with Θεὸς is to signal that it is the PN (Predicate Nominative) rather than the S (Subject). This however is a circular argument and without the support of any grammar which I have read nor without proof from the GNT. As far as I can tell, there are not a whole lot of examples where both the S and PN are definite but only one is articular to begin with (and especially when one of the two substantives is Θεὸς). Furthermore, where such examples do exist (S and PN both definite but only one is articular), it is context rather than the presence of the article which determines the Subject. Now, on the other hand in a S-PN construction an anarthrous predicate preceding the to be verb is invariably qualitative in meaning. I have not found a real exception in the GNT to this rule.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

According to Gryllus , both Θεὸς and ὁ Λόγος are definite. Never mind that this understanding of the clause is Sabellianism / Modalism rather than Trinitarian, but Gryllus here makes one more dubious assertion. According to him the only reason for the lack of an article here with Θεὸς is to signal that it is the PN (Predicate Nominative) rather than the S (Subject). This however is a circular argument and without the support of any grammar which I have read nor without proof from the GNT. As far as I can tell, there are not a whole lot of examples where both the S and PN are definite but only one is articular to begin with (and especially when one of the two substantives is Θεὸς). Furthermore, where such examples do exist (S and PN both definite but only one is articular), it is context rather than the presence of the article which determines the Subject. Now, on the other hand in a S-PN construction an anarthrous predicate preceding the to be verb is invariably qualitative in meaning. I have not found a real exception in the GNT to this rule.

I never found that explanation convincing and think it's just a case of people repeating each other because it sounds good.

I already posted that Murray Harris says the lack of article is to prevent a convertible proposition. So he does not concur.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

According to Gryllus , both Θεὸς and ὁ Λόγος are definite.

Sorry but I missed how he came to this conclusion. Can someone briefly explain?

Never mind that this understanding of the clause is Sabellianism / Modalism rather than Trinitarian,

The Trinitarian scholars who make this claim have not thought it out too well.

Trinitarianism:
The Father is THE God
The Son is THE God
The HS is THE God

To define Θεὸς qualitatively at 1:1c is to define Θεὸς differently than Θεὸς at John 1:1b.

To define Θεὸς as definite at 1:1c still means the interpreter defines Θεὸς differently than 1:1b. Θεὸς at 1:1b is "the Father" while Θεὸς at 1:1c is "the one God" just as they interpret John 17:3.

I'd like to hear why he has concluded Θεὸς is definite at 1:1c. Thank you.

but Gryllus here makes one more dubious assertion. According to him the only reason for the lack of an article here with Θεὸς is to signal that it is the PN (Predicate Nominative) rather than the S (Subject). This however is a circular argument and without the support of any grammar which I have read nor without proof from the GNT. As far as I can tell, there are not a whole lot of examples where both the S and PN are definite but only one is articular to begin with (and especially when one of the two substantives is Θεὸς). Furthermore, where such examples do exist (S and PN both definite but only one is articular), it is context rather than the presence of the article which determines the Subject. Now, on the other hand in a S-PN construction an anarthrous predicate preceding the to be verb is invariably qualitative in meaning. I have not found a real exception in the GNT to this rule.

That sounds like you are saying only the context can tell us if John really said, "the word was God" or "God was the word." Please correct me if I misunderstand what you said.
 
I'd like to hear why he has concluded Θεὸς is definite at 1:1c. Thank you.



That sounds like you are saying only the context can tell us if John really said, "the word was God" or "God was the word." Please correct me if I misunderstand what you said.
Because his Biblical Greek is weak and his ability to exegete biblical verses even weaker.
 
That sounds like you are saying only the context can tell us if John really said, "the word was God" or "God was the word." Please correct me if I misunderstand what you said.

No, I was there referring to a S-PN construction where both the substantives are definite. In John 1:1c Θεὸς cannot be definite (even Trinitarians [the saner ones] are agreed to that). It cannot also be qualitative since a purely qualitative noun without an indefinite nuance does not really exist ( certainly not with the noun Θεὸς). So the only other option by default is to see Θεὸς at John 1:1c indefinitely. In this the JWs are right.
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

According to Gryllus , both Θεὸς and ὁ Λόγος are definite. Never mind that this understanding of the clause is Sabellianism / Modalism rather than Trinitarian, but Gryllus here makes one more dubious assertion. According to him the only reason for the lack of an article here with Θεὸς is to signal that it is the PN (Predicate Nominative) rather than the S (Subject). This however is a circular argument and without the support of any grammar which I have read nor without proof from the GNT. As far as I can tell, there are not a whole lot of examples where both the S and PN are definite but only one is articular to begin with (and especially when one of the two substantives is Θεὸς). Furthermore, where such examples do exist (S and PN both definite but only one is articular), it is context rather than the presence of the article which determines the Subject. Now, on the other hand in a S-PN construction an anarthrous predicate preceding the to be verb is invariably qualitative in meaning. I have not found a real exception in the GNT to this rule.
Well, let's just see what the grammars have to say:

1150. A predicate noun has no article, and is thus distinguished from the subject: καλεῖται ἡ ἀκρόπολις ἔτι ὑπʼ Ἀθηναίων πόλις the acropolis is still called ‘city’ by the Athenians T. 2. 15.

Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 292). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.

Care to object that the citation covers only Attic Greek? BDF gotcha covered:

145. The predicate nominative is used in the NT as in Attic.

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 80). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information.

Boas, Evert van Emde, et al., The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, (p. 330). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

One only has to read actually Greek literature, both biblical and non-biblical, to see this rule played out hundreds or thousands of times. The omission of the article for this reason is natural and expected, and there is therefore no reason to seek another explanation. I believe that the various discussions arose primarily in response to the claims of JW's and other Arian types that the lack of the article = indefiniteness, and thus "a god" understood either as a literal being called a god but secondary to the Father, or used qualitatively. The various evangelical interpretations are apologetics designed to defend Christ's deity in the light of full blown Trinitarianism. This has resulted in a rather myopic view of the text filled with special pleading when a natural reading of the text is oh so much easier. As Roger pointed out, various interpreters then tend to repeat the arguments in a kind of circular fashion. Time to think outside fo the box, or rather get back into the proper box.

As for the claims of Sabellianism if θεός would be definite, I call nonsense. Sometimes well educated and erudite nonsense, but still nonsense. Such ideas were far from the mind of author writing in the later 1st century C.E. John wants us to know that he simply means "God" and wants us to ask the question as we begin reading "How can these things be? How can the Logos both be with (πρός) God and be God at the same time? This is question which John goes on to answer, not with later developed Nicene terminology (though I believe ultimately consistent with it), but from his framework of the 1st century.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
Well, let's just see what the grammars have to say:

1150. A predicate noun has no article, and is thus distinguished from the subject: καλεῖται ἡ ἀκρόπολις ἔτι ὑπʼ Ἀθηναίων πόλις the acropolis is still called ‘city’ by the Athenians T. 2. 15.

Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 292). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.

Care to object that the citation covers only Attic Greek? BDF gotcha covered:

145. The predicate nominative is used in the NT as in Attic.

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 80). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information.

Boas, Evert van Emde, et al., The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, (p. 330). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

One only has to read actually Greek literature, both biblical and non-biblical, to see this rule played out hundreds or thousands of times. The omission of the article for this reason is natural and expected, and there is therefore no reason to seek another explanation. I believe that the various discussions arose primarily in response to the claims of JW's and other Arian types that the lack of the article = indefiniteness, and thus "a god" understood either as a literal being called a god but secondary to the Father, or used qualitatively. The various evangelical interpretations are apologetics designed to defend Christ's deity in the light of full blown Trinitarianism. This has resulted in a rather myopic view of the text filled with special pleading when a natural reading of the text is oh so much easier. As Roger pointed out, various interpreters then tend to repeat the arguments in a kind of circular fashion. Time to think outside fo the box, or rather get back into the proper box.

As for the claims of Sabellianism if θεός would be definite, I call nonsense. Sometimes well educated and erudite nonsense, but still nonsense. Such ideas were far from the mind of author writing in the later 1st century C.E. John wants us to know that he simply means "God" and wants us to ask the question as we begin reading "How can these things be? How can the Logos both be with (πρός) God and be God at the same time? This is question which John goes on to answer, not with later developed Nicene terminology (though I believe ultimately consistent with it), but from his framework of the 1st century.

I see those statements as descriptive and not proscriptive. There is also no verbiage about a "rule" or even a reason why the writer chose to use an article.

It just says that if one term has the article it is the subject.

I already posted that Harris said that the article was not used at J 1:1c to prevent a convertible proposition.

Your quotes don't say why or even infer your reason. But this does infer one:

"A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information."

That is not to distinguish subject and predicate.
 
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Gryllus Maior

Active member
I see those statements as descriptive and not proscriptive. There is also no verbiage about a "rule" or even a reason why the writer chose to use an article.

It just says that if one term has the article it is the subject.

I already posted that Harris said that the article was not used at J 1:1c to prevent a convertible proposition.

Your quotes don't say why or even infer your reason. But this does infer one:

"A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information."

That is not to distinguish subject and predicate.
All grammars are descriptive. The omission of the article with the predicate is common and expected. But, since it is not "required" people will continue to cherry pick reasons for it at John 1:1 which best fits their theological preference. Of course providing "new information" distinguishes it from the subject.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
All grammars are descriptive. The omission of the article with the predicate is common and expected. But, since it is not "required" people will continue to cherry pick reasons for it at John 1:1 which best fits their theological preference. Of course providing "new information" distinguishes it from the subject.

I know you know this. But one of the things that gets repeated is that grammars teach that the reason for the article on one term is to identify the subject.

I wanted to make sure that everyone understands this.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
Well, let's just see what the grammars have to say:

1150. A predicate noun has no article, and is thus distinguished from the subject: καλεῖται ἡ ἀκρόπολις ἔτι ὑπʼ Ἀθηναίων πόλις the acropolis is still called ‘city’ by the Athenians T. 2. 15.

Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 292). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.

Care to object that the citation covers only Attic Greek? BDF gotcha covered:

145. The predicate nominative is used in the NT as in Attic.

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 80). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information.

Boas, Evert van Emde, et al., The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, (p. 330). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

One only has to read actually Greek literature, both biblical and non-biblical, to see this rule played out hundreds or thousands of times. The omission of the article for this reason is natural and expected, and there is therefore no reason to seek another explanation. I believe that the various discussions arose primarily in response to the claims of JW's and other Arian types that the lack of the article = indefiniteness, and thus "a god" understood either as a literal being called a god but secondary to the Father, or used qualitatively. The various evangelical interpretations are apologetics designed to defend Christ's deity in the light of full blown Trinitarianism. This has resulted in a rather myopic view of the text filled with special pleading when a natural reading of the text is oh so much easier. As Roger pointed out, various interpreters then tend to repeat the arguments in a kind of circular fashion. Time to think outside fo the box, or rather get back into the proper box.

As for the claims of Sabellianism if θεός would be definite, I call nonsense. Sometimes well educated and erudite nonsense, but still nonsense. Such ideas were far from the mind of author writing in the later 1st century C.E. John wants us to know that he simply means "God" and wants us to ask the question as we begin reading "How can these things be? How can the Logos both be with (πρός) God and be God at the same time? This is question which John goes on to answer, not with later developed Nicene terminology (though I believe ultimately consistent with it), but from his framework of the 1st century.

καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος

It does not seem to me that it is even remotely plausible to suggest that John would write such a thing in such a manner and actually expect people to define the second instance of θεὸς completely different than the first.

Trinitarian: τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς
θεὸς 1 = the Father
θεὸς 2 = not the Father

Watchtower: τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς
θεὸς 1 = the Father
θεὸς 2 = not the Father

Something is very wrong there even on the face of it.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
All grammars are descriptive. The omission of the article with the predicate is common and expected. But, since it is not "required" people will continue to cherry pick reasons for it at John 1:1 which best fits their theological preference. Of course providing "new information" distinguishes it from the subject.


28.9 A predicative complement (→26.8–12) normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information. However, it has the article when it is identifiable for one of the reasons given above (e.g. because the concept has been mentioned before, or because it refers to an entire class):

28.2 The lack of an article in prose is normally significant, but in poetry the article is omitted much more freely:

Why do you say the article is omitted for θεός at 1:1c?

Also
28.7 A noun usually also has the article when it refers to an abstract concept (note that English does not use the article in such cases):

My take on your view of θεός at 1:1c is that it is an abstract concept. Until you define it for us it is certainly abstract. :)
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος

It does not seem to me that it is even remotely plausible to suggest that John would write such a thing in such a manner and actually expect people to define the second instance of θεὸς completely different than the first.

Trinitarian: τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς
θεὸς 1 = the Father
θεὸς 2 = not the Father

Watchtower: τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς
θεὸς 1 = the Father
θεὸς 2 = not the Father

Something is very wrong there even on the face of it.

You are splitting two different clauses. That's similar to taking the last word of a sentence in English with the first word of the next sentence and trying to interpret it as one phrase.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
You are splitting two different clauses. That's similar to taking the last word of a sentence in English with the first word of the next sentence and trying to interpret it as one phrase.

I am not "splitting" anything. I am saying that it seems preposterous to me that John would write such a thing in this way and expect people to define each instance of θεὸς in two completely different ways. You wouldn`t do that in English either and still expect people not to misunderstand you.
 

Roger Thornhill

Active member
I am not "splitting" anything. I am saying that it seems preposterous to me that John would write such a thing in this way and expect people to define each instance of θεὸς in two completely different ways. You wouldn`t do that in English either and still expect people not to misunderstand you.
What about here?

Oh give thanks unto the God of gods; For his lovingkindness endureth for ever.
 
Well, let's just see what the grammars have to say:

1150. A predicate noun has no article, and is thus distinguished from the subject: καλεῖται ἡ ἀκρόπολις ἔτι ὑπʼ Ἀθηναίων πόλις the acropolis is still called ‘city’ by the Athenians T. 2. 15.

Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (p. 292). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.

Smyth is not discussing Predicate Nominatives in this section. I do not think he would have appreciated being taken out of context by you in this crude fashion. A PN noun can certainly be articular (for instance when both the Subject and Predicate Nominative are articular).



A predicative complement ... normally does not have the article, as it generally introduces new information.

Boas, Evert van Emde, et al., The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, (p. 330). Cambridge: Cambridge University Pres

Read your own resource. The reason why a predicative complement normally does not have the article is because it generally introduces new information and not because it serves to distinguish it from the Subject. That's not a real reason at all.

Your stated position in the Old Carm threads was as follows (you cited John 1:1c as a prime example for your [circular] argument ) : in a S-PN construction the only reason why one of the two substantives is anarthrous is to distinguish it from the Subject, which you say is always articular. Unfortunately that reason you give is false and frankly quite inane, and no grammar does agree (nor should ) with you. There are at least two real reasons why a PN does not normally have the article. (1) Because a PN (especially one before the "be" verb) is usually indefinite, (2) It generally introduces new information.




One only has to read actually Greek literature, both biblical and non-biblical, to see this rule played out hundreds or thousands of times. The omission of the article for this reason is natural and expected, and there is therefore no reason to seek another explanation. I believe that the various discussions arose primarily in response to the claims of JW's and other Arian types that the lack of the article = indefiniteness, and thus "a god" understood either as a literal being called a god but secondary to the Father, or used qualitatively. The various evangelical interpretations are apologetics designed to defend Christ's deity in the light of full blown Trinitarianism. This has resulted in a rather myopic view of the text filled with special pleading when a natural reading of the text is oh so much easier. As Roger pointed out, various interpreters then tend to repeat the arguments in a kind of circular fashion. Time to think outside fo the box, or rather get back into the proper box.

And that is why I'm quite disturbed by your boasts. You claim to have read alot of Greek (both biblical and non-biblical) and yet you still do not comprehend the real reason(s) why a PN before the to be verb is normally anarthrous. In fact I think it is always indefinite (at least in the writings of apostle John , and possibly also in the GNT in general). But I have to put in the research before I could say this for sure. On another note, there are situations where both the S and PN are anarthrous, and in such a situation it is impossible for the S to be articular to begin with.


As for the claims of Sabellianism if θεός would be definite, I call nonsense. Sometimes well educated and erudite nonsense, but still nonsense. Such ideas were far from the mind of author writing in the later 1st century C.E. John wants us to know that he simply means "God" and wants us to ask the question as we begin reading "How can these things be? How can the Logos both be with (πρός) God and be God at the same time? This is question which John goes on to answer, not with later developed Nicene terminology (though I believe ultimately consistent with it), but from his framework of the 1st century.

But that is not an argument. Here is Daniel Wallace, GGBB p. 119:

Further, calling θεος in 1:1c definite is the same as saying that if it had followed the verb, it would have had the article. Thus it would be a convertible proposition with λόγος v (i.e., “the Word” = “God” and “God” = “the Word”). The problem with this argument is that the θεος in 1:1b is the Father. Thus to say that the θεος in 1:1c is the same person is to say that “the Word was the Father.” This, as the older grammarians and exegetes pointed out, is embryonic Sabellianism or modalism.

He is quite right on this score, and you are quite wrong.
 
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Roger Thornhill

Active member
Smyth is not discussing Predicate Nominatives in this section. I do not think he would have appreciated being taken out of context by you in this crude fashion. A PN noun can certainly be articular (for instance when both the Subject and Predicate Nominative are articular).





Read your own resource. The reason why a predicative complement normally does not have the article is because it generally introduces new information and not because it serves to distinguish it from the Subject. That's not a real reason at all.

Your stated position in the Old Carm threads was as follows (you cited John 1:1c as a prime example for your [circular] argument ) : in a S-PN construction the only reason why one of the two substantives is anarthrous is to distinguish it from the Subject, which you say is always articular. Unfortunately that reason you give is false and frankly quite inane, and no grammar does agree (nor should ) with you. There are at least two real reasons why a PN does not normally have the article. (1) Because a PN (especially one before the "be" verb) is usually indefinite, (2) It generally introduces new information.






And that is why I'm quite disturbed by your boasts. You claim to have read alot of Greek (both biblical and non-biblical) and yet you still do not comprehend the real reason(s) why a PN before the to be verb is normally anarthrous. In fact I think it is always indefinite (at least in the writings of apostle John , and possibly also in the GNT in general). But I have to put in the research before I could say this for sure. On another note, there are situations where both the S and PN are anarthrous, and in such a situation it is impossible for the S to be articular to begin with.




But that is not an argument. Here is Daniel Wallace, GGBB p. 119:



He is quite right on this score, and you are quite wrong.

In John 1:1a ο λόγος is the subject.

In John 1:1b the subject is ο Λόγος.

In John 1:1c, why would the subject change?

If it did change, there are discourse markers for a change like this.

So even if θεός at 1:1c was articular the subject would be obvious.

This is particularly true because the three clauses are connected by και which signifies an addition to what was said before.


This is true for both linguists and grammarians.

@Gryllus Maior
 
In John 1:1a ο λόγος is the subject.

In John 1:1b the subject is ο Λόγος.

In John 1:1c, why would the subject change?

If it did change, there are discourse markers for a change like this.

So even if θεός at 1:1c was articular the subject would be obvious.

This is particularly true because the three clauses are connected by και which signifies an addition to what was said before.


This is true for both linguists and grammarians.

@Gryllus Maior

I agree!
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
Smyth is not discussing Predicate Nominatives in this section. I do not think he would have appreciated being taken out of context by you in this crude fashion. A PN noun can certainly be articular (for instance when both the Subject and Predicate Nominative are articular).





Read your own resource. The reason why a predicative complement normally does not have the article is because it generally introduces new information and not because it serves to distinguish it from the Subject. That's not a real reason at all.

Your stated position in the Old Carm threads was as follows (you cited John 1:1c as a prime example for your [circular] argument ) : in a S-PN construction the only reason why one of the two substantives is anarthrous is to distinguish it from the Subject, which you say is always articular. Unfortunately that reason you give is false and frankly quite inane, and no grammar does agree (nor should ) with you. There are at least two real reasons why a PN does not normally have the article. (1) Because a PN (especially one before the "be" verb) is usually indefinite, (2) It generally introduces new information.






And that is why I'm quite disturbed by your boasts. You claim to have read alot of Greek (both biblical and non-biblical) and yet you still do not comprehend the real reason(s) why a PN before the to be verb is normally anarthrous. In fact I think it is always indefinite (at least in the writings of apostle John , and possibly also in the GNT in general). But I have to put in the research before I could say this for sure. On another note, there are situations where both the S and PN are anarthrous, and in such a situation it is impossible for the S to be articular to begin with.




But that is not an argument. Here is Daniel Wallace, GGBB p. 119:



He is quite right on this score, and you are quite wrong.
Your reply amounts to "I really don't know what I'm talking about, so I'll disguise with a bunch of words and hope people don't notice.
 
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