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appositions 1 John 1:1

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appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby GTM » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:59 am

I have been reviewing another aspect of the prologue of 1 John and I began to think that maybe the end of verse one is appositional. περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς Concerning the word, concerning the life.

Is it a stretch or is it grammatically possible.

Thanks for your input in advance.

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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby calvinist » Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:21 pm

Very interesting! I don't think any translations have considered that option, but from a purely grammatical point of view I don't see why it's not a possible interpretation. Contextually, the phrase "word of life" doesn't occur elsewhere in the NT except at Philippians 2:16, which is of course Paul, not John. Also, the prologue is speaking of a person, specifically Jesus, whom John has famously referred to elsewhere as the "word", which has a different emphasis from "word of life". It seems very plausible that John could be saying "concerning the word, that is the life." On the other hand, the evidence against it is that it has always been understood as "word of life". The Vulgate is a very reliable early translation of the NT and Jerome renders the phrase "de verbo vitae" in the Latin. There is no ambiguity in the Latin as the cases do not match (ablative/genitive). Jerome understood it as "word of life", and presumably his contemporaries did as well. That's my two cents worth!
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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby GTM » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:38 pm

Calvinist

The Vulgate is a very reliable early translation of the NT and Jerome renders the phrase "de verbo vitae" in the Latin


This is not an attempt to derail the idea of this OP.

I am not a pro in Textual criticism however Metzger points out that there are many variants in the vulgate when compared to the oldest latin text. Are you familiar with the Oldest Latin texts and do you know how they translate the text in question.

Thank you for your help

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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby NateD26 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:42 am

I'm not familiar with the grammatical changes that happened in NT times, but I don't think it'd be grammatically correct
to take it as apposition. If it were, the preposition would be most likely repeated.
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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby GTM » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:38 pm

NateD26

I'm not familiar with the grammatical changes that happened in NT times, but I don't think it'd be grammatically correct
to take it as apposition. If it were, the preposition would be most likely repeated.


The Genitive of Apposition is a construction where a substantive (noun, pronoun, or participle) is followed by another substantive in the genitive case. The second substantive renames the first substantive. Another example would be "the Gift of the Spirit" which could also be understood as " the Gift which is the Spirit"

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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby calvinist » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:41 pm

The Old Latin texts are somewhat sparse, most of what we have are the gospels. The problem with the Old Latin versions is that they were 'unauthorized' versions. Basically, anyone with some knowledge of both Latin and Greek could make a translation, and there were various Latin versions floating around (pieces, not complete Bibles). The translations were not done with any scholarly rigor and many of them have bad grammar and slang terms. Augustine himself complained about the poor quality of the Latin versions in his time (Jerome was working on the Vulgate during Augustine's lifetime). Jerome was commissioned to produce the Vulgate for this very reason, to have a reliable Latin version. I think that maybe you're misinterpreting Metzger's analysis. It is not just that there are variants compared with the Vulgate, but that there are countless variants among the Old Latin versions themselves. I think Metzger mentions the numerous variants in the Old Latin to establish the fact that they are unreliable and should not be used, not to suggest that we should analyze them for insights into the text. So, the Vulgate is our best resource amongst the Latin versions for determining the original Greek readings, and also matters of interpretation such as this.
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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby GTM » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:01 am

Calvinist

The Old Latin texts are somewhat sparse, most of what we have are the gospels. The problem with the Old Latin versions is that they were 'unauthorized' versions. Basically, anyone with some knowledge of both Latin and Greek could make a translation, and there were various Latin versions floating around (pieces, not complete Bibles). The translations were not done with any scholarly rigor and many of them have bad grammar and slang terms. Augustine himself complained about the poor quality of the Latin versions in his time (Jerome was working on the Vulgate during Augustine's lifetime). Jerome was commissioned to produce the Vulgate for this very reason, to have a reliable Latin version. I think that maybe you're misinterpreting Metzger's analysis. It is not just that there are variants compared with the Vulgate, but that there are countless variants among the Old Latin versions themselves. I think Metzger mentions the numerous variants in the Old Latin to establish the fact that they are unreliable and should not be used, not to suggest that we should analyze them for insights into the text. So, the Vulgate is our best resource amongst the Latin versions for determining the original Greek readings, and also matters of interpretation such as this.


About a week ago I read a Greek Commentary which dated back to the early 1900,s and the Greek scholar held to the idea that this was an apposition. To be Honest, I was quite surprised.

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Re: appositions 1 John 1:1

Postby calvinist » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:05 pm

It's very possible that it is in apposition. However, it does not change the semantic meaning much even if it is. Either way, Jesus is being associated with 'life'. Either directly as 'the life' or indirectly as 'the word of life'. By the grammar and context both are possible, but the traditional understanding does carry some weight in this respect. If the vast majority of commentaries/translations have understand the phrase as 'the word of life', then I would take it that way unless there is very good reason not to. The important thing that we can learn here though is that we shouldn't take the translations as authoritative, and should keep our eyes out for these alternative readings, especially if they change the meaning. An interesting verse is John 2:11 (Ταυτην εποιησεν αρχην των σημειων). I think every translation renders it something like "This first of his signs he did..." although I've heard very good arguments that it should be rendered "He made this the beginning of his signs". This means that John is not focusing on the fact that this was his first sign, but rather that Jesus made it his first sign. It is focusing on his sovereignty and choice as Lord. Basically, it comes down to whether you take ταυτην as being an adjective modifying αρχην or as a stand alone pronoun. Wallace is where I read this, and his argument is very good.
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