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John 1:1-4 - A new translation

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  • John 1:1-4 - A new translation

    This is my own personal translation. Comments are welcomed.


    J 1:1 The Word was in the beginning; And so [1] the Word was with God and so the Word was divine. This one was with God in the beginning.

    All things were made [2] through the personal agency of [3] the Word, and so apart from him nothing was made through the personal agency of anyone else.

    But the life that was the light of men was made [4] in him [5].

    ------
    [1] Και, “and so” J 1:1 - The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Frederick William Danker (Danker)
    [2] Or “God made all things” - Louw-Nida χωρις: It would be wrong to restructure Jn 1.3 to read 'he made everything in all creation,' for in the Scriptures God is spoken of as the Creator, but the creation was done 'through the Word
    [3] Ibid, Danker, δια, personal agency, J 1:3 [4] By God
    [5] in, by means of the Word
    Last edited by Georg Kaplin; 06-03-2019, 12:31 PM.

  • #2
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

    Comment


    • #3
      I'll stick with the NASB, except maybe the word order in the last part of verse 1: "and GOD was the Word". I like how the Greek puts the emphasis in the word order.

      Comment


      • #4
        It is good to see the confirmation of the Trinity here, isn't it?

        Some people have sought to obscure Christ Jesus as a unique person within the Trinity godhead. But such efforts lose traction rather quickly.

        This passage is interesting because the Divinity of Christ is presented in a fashion unique from the OT psalm which says "you are as gods."

        Comment


        • #5
          J 1:1 The Word was in the beginning;
          εν αρχη ην ο λογος - ην being imperfect and most properly is understood as "had continuing existence" (or more literally "In the beginning the word was being"). Implicit in ην - was already in existence at the time spoken of.

          And so [1] the Word was with God and so the Word was divine.
          και θεος ην ο λογος - Two nominative nouns sharing the same verb, again "ην" - was being. Logos: according to other posts by you, this "o" should be pointing to a previously introduced or known figure, with any antecedent being either the same or synonymous. Oh - that would be θεος. "Divine?" No contextual reference lends itself to divine for this passage: nothing points to the Logos as being no more than a personage worthy of reverence.
          This one was with God in the beginning.
          ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον - "this one" or "he" was (being) in the beginning with (in the presence of) God. ην declares that "being" arose before the time spoken of, so "he already was" is an acceptable understanding.

          All things were made [2] through the personal agency of [3] the Word, and so apart from him nothing was made through the personal agency of anyone else.
          As an expositional rendering it works.

          But the life that was the light of men was made [4] in him [5].
          εν αυτω (DTV) ζωη (NOM) ην: Life had continuing existence in him
          και: and, moreover, also
          η ζωη (NOM) ην το φως (NOM) των ανθρωπων: And here - two nouns with articles separated by and sharing the same verb ... which frequently indicates a metaphorical usage for the second noun in the pair. The life was (one way or another) the light of men.
          ------
          [1] Και, “and so” J 1:1 - The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Frederick William Danker (Danker)
          I'll accept that και can mean "and so" - I only have the abridged TDNT, which doesn't include a write-up on και, and LSJ doesn't list "and so" as an interpretation. However, BDAG lists "and so" as possible in the context of outcome from an action, a context that is not evident here.

          [2] Or “God made all things” - Louw-Nida χωρις: It would be wrong to restructure Jn 1.3 to read 'he made everything in all creation,' for in the Scriptures God is spoken of as the Creator, but the creation was done 'through the Word.'
          ?? John 1:3B says just that: without him nothing was made that came to be. 1 Cor 8:6 cannot be ignored, Colossians 1:16-17 doesn't stand alone, but its ambiguity is resolved by John 1:3B and 1 Cor 8:6.
          Last edited by tabibito; 06-03-2019, 02:43 PM.
          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Faber View Post
            I'll stick with the NASB, except maybe the word order in the last part of verse 1: "and GOD was the Word". I like how the Greek puts the emphasis in the word order.
            I missed your point until I reread your post. The emphasis on God shows the equivalence of both but may lend toward a priority shown in the paraphrase "God, who is the Word." I wonder if the reverse order has been used in English translations for the purpose of promoting sort of a symmetry in the positioning of 'the Word.'

            Another thought...
            Maybe apart from using the word order as conventional in translation history, the English ordering of "Word was God" may be due to a convention of giving priority position to the thing being identified. In John 1, it is the Word being described or identified, instead of the God being described or identified.
            Maybe in a related convention, we present (in the English) the thing of interest first and then follow that with an attribute. So we say that God is Love -- which shows Love as an attribute (but, here, maybe an essence).
            Last edited by mikewhitney; 06-03-2019, 03:24 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Tabitito,
              The gloss of "and so" is certainly the most unique part of my translation. I have attached the entry for και from Danker's Concise Lexicon. Danker was the senior editor for BDAG and the author of this lexicon.

              DANKER-J11-KAI.jpg

              It's not that the sense of "and so" is merely possible, but that Danker says that that is what it means specifically at John 1:1.

              Here is a section in BDAG which has "and so."
              ζ. to introduce a result that comes fr. what precedes: and then, and so Mt 5:15; 23:32; Mk 8:34; 2 Cor 11:9; Hb 3:19; 1J 3:19. καὶ ἔχομεν and so we have 2 Pt 1:19. Esp. after the impv., or expr. of an imperatival nature (Soph., Oed. Col. 1410ff θέσθε … καὶ …οἴσει, El. 1207; Sir 2:6; 3:17) δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου καὶ ποιήσω and then I will make Mt 4:19.εἰπὲ λόγῳ,κ. ἰαθήσεται ὁ παῖς μου speak the word, and then my servant will be cured Mt 8:8; Lk 7:7; cp. Mt 7:7; Mk 6:22; Lk 10:28; J 14:16; Js 4:7, 10; Rv 4:1.—καί introduces a short clause that confirms the existence of someth. that ought to be:ἵνα τέκνα θεοῦ κληθῶμεν, καὶ ἐσμέν that we should be called children of God; and so we really are (καλέω 1d) 1J 3:1 (Appian, Bell. Civ. 2, 40 §161 they were to conquer Sardinia, καὶ κατέλαβον=and they really took it; 4, 127 §531 one day would decide [κρίνειν] the fate of Rome,καὶ ἐκρίθη).
              You said:
              'However, BDAG lists "and so" as possible in the context of outcome from an action, a context that is not evident here.'

              But, I don't see anything about an "action." Is that the section you got this from?

              I wanted to explore, "and so" because that is the gloss Danker selected. The Concise Lexicon is probably the most recent high quality Greek Lexicon available to us. It also highlights something that I believe most people miss in this verse, in fact I missed it for years. Many assume that John 1:1 is one state. The verb ειμι is a stative verb. But it occurs three times, and και separates it into three states, not one. So one may not assume that what is described in John 1:1c was true at John 1:1a.

              That's enough for now.
              Last edited by Georg Kaplin; 06-03-2019, 07:01 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Georg Kaplin View Post
                This is my own personal translation. Comments are welcomed.
                ...
                All things were made [2] through the personal agency of [3] the Word, and so apart from him nothing was made through the personal agency of anyone else.
                ...
                It would seem that your explication pushes things in a funny direction ...
                ".. and so apart from him nothing was made through the personal agency of anyone else ..."

                The idea conveyed would be that there was nothing created that was not through (the agency of Christ). But this exclusionary concept doesn't exclude 'God', as treated as the superset of the Trinity, being involved in creation. This is like the parallel in Proverbs 8 where creation with initiated through Wisdom -- it is the idea that nothing was created without God's wisdom at work.

                I would suspect that this aspect was the most unique part of your rendition of the initial verses of John 1

                It may be able to be said
                apart from the agency of the Word, God made nothing ...
                Last edited by mikewhitney; 06-03-2019, 07:57 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                  It would seem that your explication pushes things in a funny direction ...
                  ".. and so apart from him nothing was made through the personal agency of anyone else ..."

                  The idea conveyed would be that there was nothing created that was not through (the agency of Christ). But this exclusionary concept doesn't exclude 'God', as treated as the superset of the Trinity, being involved in creation. This is like the parallel in Proverbs 8 where creation with initiated through Wisdom -- it is the idea that nothing was created without God's wisdom at work.

                  I would suspect that this aspect was the most unique part of your rendition of the initial verses of John 1

                  It may be able to be said
                  apart from the agency of the Word, God made nothing ...
                  Thanks for the response. I am using the NA28 Greek text. Also, it is not quite accurate to speak of "the agency." In fact, in the text there are two agencies. One is instrumental agency in the dative case and also intermediate agency in the genitive case.

                  What Greek text are your comments based on? To discuss this translation you need to be looking at the NA28, including the punctuation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Georg Kaplin View Post
                    Thanks for the response. I am using the NA28 Greek text. Also, it is not quite accurate to speak of "the agency." In fact, in the text there are two agencies. One is instrumental agency in the dative case and also intermediate agency in the genitive case.

                    What Greek text are your comments based on? To discuss this translation you need to be looking at the NA28, including the punctuation.
                    I'm not able to address issues from the Greek (so I avoided offering a translation), but my concern was your the reach of your "expositional rendering "(using the term from Tabibito).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                      I'm not able to address issues from the Greek (so I avoided offering a translation), but my concern was your the reach of your "expositional rendering "(using the term from Tabibito).
                      I guess we can wait for him to explain what he meant by "expositional rendering." I don't make up my own definitions for any words. I don't consider it dynamic equivalence, but it is also certainly not an interlinear that is a slave to word order. If you want to know about the NA28 punctuation, look at the difference between the NRSV and KJV in verses 3-4.
                      Last edited by Georg Kaplin; 06-03-2019, 08:54 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        By expository rendering, I mean that the words are translated with a bit of definition, rather than simply being translated into equivalent words.

                        UBS5/NA28
                        3 πάντα (All things) δι’ (through) αὐτοῦ (Him) ἐγένετο (came into being), καὶ (and) χωρὶς (without) αὐτοῦ (Him) ἐγένετο (came into being) οὐδὲ (not even) ἕν (one thing) ὃ (that)
                        γέγονεν (has come into being). 4ἐν (In) αὐτῷ (Him) ζωὴ (life) ἦν (was), καὶ (and) ἡ (the) ζωὴ (life) ἦν (was) τὸ (the) φῶς (light) τῶν (-) ἀνθρώπων (of men).
                        Byzantine Majority
                        3 παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν 4 εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων
                        Textus Receptus
                        3 παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν 4 εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων

                        So - the only difference between the manuscript groups for these verses is punctuation - which in the original manuscripts doesn't exist anyway. (information for people unfamiliar with Koine Greek.)

                        ³ All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being ⁴ in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. NRSV
                        3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. KJV

                        "came into being through" is more literally accurate than "were made by", but meanings are commensurate unless (negated by context) "through" is considered to be reference to a conduit rather than an agent. "What has come into being" (bolded) doesn't exist in the manuscripts - as noted in footnote {a}, which gives a rendering commensurate with the KJV.
                        sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                          By expository rendering, I mean that the words are translated with a bit of definition, rather than simply being translated into equivalent words.

                          UBS5/NA28
                          3 πάντα (All things) δι’ (through) αὐτοῦ (Him) ἐγένετο (came into being), καὶ (and) χωρὶς (without) αὐτοῦ (Him) ἐγένετο (came into being) οὐδὲ (not even) ἕν (one thing) ὃ (that)
                          γέγονεν (has come into being). 4ἐν (In) αὐτῷ (Him) ζωὴ (life) ἦν (was), καὶ (and) ἡ (the) ζωὴ (life) ἦν (was) τὸ (the) φῶς (light) τῶν (-) ἀνθρώπων (of men).
                          Byzantine Majority
                          3 παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν 4 εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων
                          Textus Receptus
                          3 παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν 4 εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων

                          So - the only difference between the manuscript groups for these verses is punctuation - which in the original manuscripts doesn't exist anyway. (information for people unfamiliar with Koine Greek.)

                          ³ All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being ⁴ in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. NRSV
                          3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. KJV

                          "came into being through" is more literally accurate than "were made by", but meanings are commensurate unless (negated by context) "through" is considered to be reference to a conduit rather than an agent. "What has come into being" (bolded) doesn't exist in the manuscripts - as noted in footnote {a}, which gives a rendering commensurate with the KJV.
                          Thanks for explaining the term "expository rendering." I take it you don't see it as changing the original meaning of the text. In fact, since I got it directly from a good Greek Lexicon that cites it for this verse, it is legitimate. Of course if one objects to that Lexicons' gloss, one could always prove a different sense is superior.

                          My translation is from the NA28 and should be evaluated on that basis. That being said, when you say "What has come into being" (bolded) doesn't exist in the manuscripts," you use a double edged sword. That statement is equally true of the KJV rendering as well.

                          What seals the deal for me is that the NA28 punctuation was used until very late in miniscule manuscripts which did have the punctuation. In fact, Athanasius used it as well. I made a project a couple decades ago to demonstrate this fact. If one takes the critical edition and supplies dates to the quotations, it becomes quite apparent which punctuation was the original. Here are my references from the UBS3.

                          UBS3.jpg

                          So when we plot these dates, the graphic is undeniable.

                          UBS3Graph.jpg

                          But, as I said, my translation is with respect to the NA28.

                          I also look forward to your comments on the rendering of και with "and so" which is how Danker applied it to John 1:1.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life NRSV
                            without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. KJV

                            3 παντα Everything δι through αυτου of him εγενετο it came to be και and χωρις without* αυτου of him εγενετο it came to be ουδε not even εν one (thing) ο which γεγονεν it came to be 4 εν in αυτω him ζωη life ην was being και and η the ζωη life ην was being το the φως light των of the ανθρωπων men

                            Extracting the English
                            Word Literal ... KJV ... NRSV
                            everything ... All things ... All things
                            came to be through him ... were made by him ... came into being through him
                            and without him ... and without him ... and without him
                            not even one ... (was) not any thing (made) ... not one thing
                            which has come to be ... that was made ... came into being.
                            not in original ... not in King James ... What has come into being
                            in him life was being ... In him was life ... in him was life
                            and the life was the light of men ... and the life was the light of men ... and the life was the light of all people.

                            The additional words change the meaning of verse 4, which in the NRSV becomes: "In him, life came into being" or "Life originates from him." The balance of creation is eliminated from consideration - the altered verse 4 doesn't expand on the record of verse 3. By contrast, the additional "was made" in the KJV does no more than make the adjustments that are necessary for 17th century grammatical considerations. Note that KJV alters γεγονεν (has come to be) to past passive ([that] was made), rather than preserving the perfect tense. NRSV preserves the perfect (came into being), but not in a readily identifiable form. The NRSV change from "in him life was being" to "in him was life" is quite a trap, for all that it is technically valid.
                            Last edited by tabibito; 06-04-2019, 02:20 AM.
                            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Side note: Didn't the NRSV translation teams spend 70 years or so trying to convince everyone that Junia was a man? And having failed in that effort, then reworked the wording to make Andronicus and Junia simply "considered noteworthy by the apostles," rather than being "exemplary apostles"? I'm not absolutely sure that it was the NRSV translators, but memory says it is so.

                              (Ran out of time for editing the prior post.)
                              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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