The linguistic subject of John 20:28

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
This verse isn't ambiguous in the slightest. Thomas says "my Lord and my God" to Jesus.

And yet your proposed interpretation of Thomas's statement is about his belief in God, rather than Jesus.

There is nothing in the context of this passage that suggests God the Father is in view.

My understanding of this passage agrees with scholarly consensus. That fact doesn't mean my interpretation must be correct, but it is misleading to call it an "abnormality."

The sheer number of "ambiguous" passages like these that Unitarians have to address for their position to even be possible is enough to prevent widespread acceptance of their views. The contrived "solutions" that they offer for these types of passages provide reassurance to the majority that they are wise to disregard them.

The Greek here is εἶπεν αὐτῷ...With the dative pronoun αὐτῷ like that in the GNT , a statement is directed at someone but it is NOT necessarily being directly addressed to them. So for instance look at the following examples --

Matthew 13:28

ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς Ἐχθρὸς ἄνθρωπος τοῦτο ἐποίησεν. οἱ δὲ δοῦλοι αὐτῷ λέγουσιν Θέλεις οὖν ἀπελθόντες συλλέξωμεν αὐτά;

As can be seen , although the words were said to them ( ἔφη αὐτοῖς ) , they're not even the topic of discussion, let alone being "identified" or "directly addressed."

Matthew 12:48

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν τῷ λέγοντι αὐτῷ Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ ἀδελφοί μου;

Again, the one being addressed ( εἶπεν αὐτῷ ) is not even the topic of interest, let alone being "identified" by the addressor. Theodore of Mopsuestia (who attended the lectures of the Greek-speaking teacher of rhetoric Libanius) certainly knew what he was talking about when he proposed this, that the expression at John 20:28 was identifying the Father [in Jesus] even though it was addressed to Jesus.

Mark 5:8

ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ Ἔξελθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

Even though Jesus addresses the possessed man ( ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ... ), his words are directed to the [evil] Spirit in the man. Similarly, in John 20:28 even though Thomas addresses Jesus ( εἶπεν αὐτῷ...), his words (either ὁ Θεός μου or else the entire expression Ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου) are directed to the Father in Jesus .
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
The Greek here is εἶπεν αὐτῷ...With the dative pronoun αὐτῷ like that in the GNT , a statement is directed at someone but it is NOT necessarily being directly addressed to them. So for instance look at the following examples --

Matthew 13:28



As can be seen , although the words were said to them ( ἔφη αὐτοῖς ) , they're not even the topic of discussion, let alone being "identified" or "directly addressed."

Matthew 12:48



Again, the one being addressed ( εἶπεν αὐτῷ ) is not even the topic of interest, let alone being "identified" by the addressor. Theodore of Mopsuestia (who attended the lectures of the Greek-speaking teacher of rhetoric Libanius) certainly knew what he was talking about when he proposed this, that the expression at John 20:28 was identifying the Father [in Jesus] even though it was addressed to Jesus.

Mark 5:8



Even though Jesus addresses the possessed man ( ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ... ), his words are directed to the [evil] Spirit in the man. Similarly, in John 20:28 even though Thomas addresses Jesus ( εἶπεν αὐτῷ...), his words (either ὁ Θεός μου or else the entire expression Ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου) are directed to the Father in Jesus .

Reminds me of Augustine Tractate CXXI:

Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." He saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
The sheer number of "ambiguous" passages like these that Unitarians have to address for their position to even be possible is enough to prevent widespread acceptance of their views. The contrived "solutions" that they offer for these types of passages provide reassurance to the majority that they are wise to disregard them.

"The majority" is not where you want to be as far as the Kingdom of Heaven is concerned, friend. The following scripture came to my remembrance:

Εἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης· ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν, καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι δι’ αὐτῆς·ὅτι στενὴ ἡ πύλη καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωήν, καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν.

Matthew 7:13-14
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
No, not rather than Jesus. My contextual objective view is that Thomas exclaims belief in his Lord and also his God. That is what Jesus commanded him just a few days earlier at John 14:1 and when he commanded Thomas to believe again at 20:27, Thomas expressed what he had been commanded in 20:28.
👍... Yes, the events at Chapter 14 transpired just a few days earlier , didn't they ? Puts things into perspective, doesn't it ?!

Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε.

John 14:1

Jesus asked his disciples to believe in him AND in his God (ὁ θεός). So if at John 20:28 apostle Thomas proclaimed Jesus to be God, he would be contradicting Jesus (by calling Jesus ὁ θεός rather than distinguishing ὁ θεός from Jesus). The Trinitarian Thomas at John 20:28 who calls Jesus (rather than the Father in Jesus) "God" is a Satanic counterfeit we should avoid at all costs, I fear.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Reminds me of Augustine Tractate CXXI:

Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." He saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other.

Absolutely, I am aware of this Tractate by Augustine. Amazing that this person could have had such clear and correct insight at John 20:28 despite being a Trinitarian.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Here is Margaret Davies, in Rhetoric and Reference in the Fourth Gospel, p. 125-126:

"Naturally, the interpretation of Thomas's words was hotly debated by early church theologians who wanted to use it in support of their own christological definitions. Those who understood 'My lord' to refer to Jesus, and 'my God' to refer to God [the Father] were suspected of christological heresy in the fifth century CE. Many modern commentators have also rejected that interpretation and instead they understand the confession as assertion that Jesus is both Lord and God. In doing so they are forced to interpret "God' as a reference to logos. But it is perfectly appropriate for Thomas to respond to Jesus' resurrection with a confession of faith both in Jesus as his Lord and in God who sent and raised Jesus. Interpreting the confession in this way actually makes much better sense in the context of the Fourth Gospel . In 14.1 belief both in God and in Jesus is encouraged, in a context in which Thomas is particularly singled out. If we understand Thomas's confession as an assertion that Jesus is God, this confession in 20.31 becomes an anti-climax."
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Lol! After you were 0/3 as to the need for a particular case/preposition for an implied predicate nominative at J 20:28b you stopped being specific.

That is the only thing that kept your losses from climbing higher.
I realize it is easy for you to forget things, so I'll give you the chance to walk back your remarks. If you fail to do so, I will prove that you are lying by reproducing our exchange again here.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Where are dissertations peer reviewed for grammatical analyses of a theological nature for those who are not getting an advanced degree? Give me a specific example.
Do you truly know so little about higher education that you need to be told how it works? I didn't say that you had to have something published. You have already demonstrated that you don't know what you are talking about. If you can't find a single published scholar that agrees with you, that is more evidence of it.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Makes no difference at all to the grammar at hand whether it is classified as a sub category or separate category. Wallace:


You are not punching back.
You were the one discussing an arbitrary distinction that Wallace was making between grammatical constructions. I can't help it that you failed to see that you weren't actually making an argument.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Is it just me or does anyone else see the irony of two anonymous people who have not had their own non standard theological claims published criticizing another anonymous person for not having their work peer reviewed?
Labeling someone's claims as "non standard" [sic] does not make it true. Doing so after you have been corrected makes you dishonest.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Is it just me or does anyone else see the irony of two anonymous people who have not had their own non standard theological claims published criticizing another anonymous person for not having their work peer reviewed?
You, as usual, have either misunderstood or misrepresented my intent. Let me clear up your misconceptions. You have falsely accused me of making "non-standard" remarks on these passages, despite the fact that my views are supported by scholarly sources and articles. You have no scholarly support for your position, that I am aware of, and you haven't been able to provide any. Since you have made claims that don't match reality, you have justly been called out for it.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Yes, that is a footnote in the paper. The contextual objective view supplies the grammatical argument that coheres with the view expressed there.

Attention @Gryllus Maior and @John Milton, Davies was peer reviewed and holds the same view as Blunt.
There is no support here for your claim that πιστεύω is implied in the text or that the text can mean "[I believe] in my Lord and also in my God." And you won't find support for your view because the way you have articulated it is a grammatical impossibility.

In the quote below, Davies erroneously puts the cart before the horse.
Many modern commentators have also rejected that interpretation and instead they understand the confession as assertion that Jesus is both Lord and God. In doing so they are forced to interpret "God' as a reference to logos.
It is incorrect to interpret John 1:1 in light of John 20:28. John 20:28 is understood in light of John 1:1.

John says that his purpose for writing his account is to engender belief in Jesus as the Christ. Thomas's denial of Jesus's appearance to the apostles was a denial that Jesus was the Messiah. And while it can be demonstrated that Thomas doubted Jesus, there it no evidence that shows that Thomas ever wavered in his belief in God. Thomas's statement to the resurrected Jesus, "my Lord and my God" is thus the climax of John's gospel. He realized for the first time that to see Jesus was truly to see God, that it was not possible, as he believed it was, to believe in God while denying Jesus.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
And this was debunked here:
You find it there with a preposition that takes an accusative. You could also have it with ἐν with a dative. But you don't have either of these cases in John 20:28. Your newly proposed rendering requires you to supply both a verb and a preposition and would still require something different than the nominative case present in the verse, which you would know if you knew Greek...
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
And this was debunked here:
You said:
"And since you seem so keen to talk about the Greek grammar I don't think you understand, I will also point out that πιστεύω would take datives..."

Then, you tried to recover there but your original statement was not qualified.

So that was 0/1.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
That you didn't have a point was my point. I'm sorry you keep missing it.

You're simply not punching back.

Address the grammar:

Fact is John 20:28 meets all three factors for a nominative of exclamation (call it "a sub-category of.. " or something else, it doesn't matter, it's unimportant ). The grammatical facts are that the expression lacks a verb, the obvious emotion of the author is apparent and we need an exclamation point in translation.
 
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