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John 1:1

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John 1:1

Postby vir litterarum » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:38 am

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

Forgive the lack of accents, but I'm guessing everyone's familiar with this verse anyway. My questions concern the use of the word λογος here. When the Gospels were composed, was the word ἔπος still in common usage and hence a viable alternative to λογος if one wished to assert that Jesus were specifically the Word and preclude the idea of Jesus being Reason? Why already in the Old Latin Bible, I believe, is λογος translated as "uerbum"; how does this sense of λογος come to be the almost exclusive interpretation from the Latin translation onward? I was reading Justin the Martyr, and he still conceives of λογος as signifying that Jesus is the embodiment of Reason. When does this conception become overshadowed by Jesus being the Word?
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Re: John 1:1

Postby Franmorar » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:30 pm

Viro Litterarum salutem multam.
Perhaps the first question to be asked in order to dillucidate this subject is: Who was that man, writer of the fourth gospel, that Ecclesiastical tradition has named John (Ioannes)?
If we consider some parts of the fourth gospel, we could say that so-called John appears to be familiar with Gnostic doctrines. And if we remember that Gnosticism is based, at least partially, on a "miscelanea" of Greek philosophy, we see where the use of "logos" most probably come from: from the Greek philosophical doctrines about the "principles" ("principia", "arkhai"), which were supposed to form and preserve the world. Heraclitus mentions that "logos" in his surviving fragments as the principle par excellence.
Thus, "logos" belonged to the traditional language of philosophical doctrines, and was only natural that "spiritual" writers (including our "John") used it instead of apparent and available synonyms such as "epos", "rhema", and others.
Hominibus totam versandam constat esse bibliothecam, ut solam utilem scribere sententiam possint.
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Re: John 1:1

Postby vir litterarum » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:28 am

There do seem to be traces of Gnostic influence in this verse, but I was simply wondering whether synonyms such as "epos" or "rhema" were still commonly used in Koine so that, if one wished to exclude the idea that Jesus was the embodiment of reason and rather was simply the Word, he could do so by choosing one of these words instead.

I'm also still wondering why the earliest Latin translations of the Bible translate "logos" as "uerbum" and not "ratio."
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Re: John 1:1

Postby mingshey » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:06 am

The Roman Catholic church might have wanted to drive off the elements of Gnosticism as far as possible?
ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jesus_Mysteries
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Re: John 1:1

Postby Archimedes » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:30 am

vir litterarum wrote:I was simply wondering whether synonyms such as "epos" or "rhema" were still commonly used in Koine


A concordance of the Greek NT might help here.
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