John 1:1

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (ASV)

Contents

Pro

Understanding the word "Word"

One issue with this verse is the translation of the word commonly translated as "Word." This word in the original Greek was λόγος (Logos, which is the word that the English suffix ology derives). A better translation might be "rational understanding" or "rational plan." When inserting either of these in place of "Word," the meaning of the verse becomes much more specific and far less abstract.

Jehovah's Witnesses' translation

  • "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." (New World Translation)

Con

Understanding the word "Word"

Definition of "Logos" from BDAG.

"the independent personified expression of God, the Logos. Our lit. shows traces of a way of thinking that was widespread in contemporary syncretism, as well as in Jewish wisdom lit. and Philo, the most prominent feature of which is the concept of Logos, the independent, personified 'Word' (of God)... It is the distinctive teaching of the Fourth Gospel that this divine 'Word' took on human form in a historical person, that is, in Jesus." (BDAG #3 λόγος, original formatting kept intact)

The rationale behind John's word choice would probably be the Hebrew term memra, the living, active, and creative Word of Yahweh.

Comments:

  • It so happened that Philo's idea of the Logos was close enough to make the concept understandable to the Greeks --jjmarkka 12:17, 21 Oct 2005 (CDT)

Jehovah's Witnesses' translation

Neutral

Understanding the word "Word"

Comments:

  • "Word" is actually an accurate translation ... but it's a shallow one. In Greek (mainly Stoic) philosophy, Logos was the animating principle of the Universe.
    It has been argued that the use is a pun: in Jewish scripture, God created by speaking "Let there be..." and in Greek thinking, the Universe was created when the animating principle was emanated from God. Thus, goes the argument, the author of GoJohn could use the word "logos" to represent both Greek and Hebrew concepts. --JustinEiler 19:07, 14 Oct 2005 (CDT)

Moved From Con:

  • Where is the error? In the translation? If so, that's not an error in the Bible, but in its translation. Besides, translating it as "Word" doesn't cause an error anyway. --Austin
    Reason For Move: Translation error falls within the category of Transmission Error which is a category of Error here at ErrancyWiki. If you remove the related comment from the defense above you can move it back to the Con section. --JoeWallack 07:30, 23 Nov 2006 (CST)
  • logos is also a technical term in gnosticism. Given how much similarity one finds between later gnostic writing and the themes and style we see in John, this gospel may be considered proto-gnostic, or at least the launching pad from which much of gnostic myth borrowed. Certainly the opening hymn of John is reminiscent of elements of the gnostic creation myth, though still quite primitive. --User:Alex Ramos 07:59, 16 Aug 2008 (CST)

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