Thursday, October 05, 2006

John 1:1 - What The Fathers Didn't Say

In the latest thread on John 1:1 (a subject that comes up with monotonous regularity on B-Greek), James Spinti (who works for Eisenbrauns) wrote the following post:

As I asked the last time this whole thing came up--maybe 3 weeks ago? Why does no one who is arguing for the "a god" translation go back to the early church fathers who knew Greek? Is this verse ever used as an argument in any of their treatises (both for and against Arianism)? They KNEW Greek, they spoke it, thought in it, breathed it-if you will. As far as I can tell from my somewhat limited reading (but more than the last time the question came up!), neither side used John 1 as an argument. It was a non-starter, grammatically.

I am open to being shown wrong, but in view of our more limited knowledge of Greek, we should show a bit of humility before their silence in using the supposed "indefiniteness" of QEOS as an argument. Maybe we should concentrate on reading Greek, and not trying to proof text our own theological viewpoint, especially if our knowledge of Greek is limited to a year or three of college/seminary Greek (and only NT Koine at that!).

(yes, I have an advanced degree in Classics...)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Phôs Hilaron Φως Ιλαρον

Φως ιλαρον αγιας δοξης αθανατου Πατρος,
Ουρανιου, αγιου, μακαρος Ιησου Χριστε,
Ελθοντες επι την ηλιου δυσιν, ιδοντες φως εσπερινον,
Υμνουμεν Πατερα, Υιον, και Αγιον Πνευμα, Θεον,
Αξιον σε εν πασι καιροις υμνεισθαι φωναις αισιαις,
Υιε Θεου, ζωην ο διδους,
Διο ο κοσμος σε δοξαζει.

This is an ancient Christian hymn, perhaps the oldest Christian hymn we have, dating from the 3rd or 4th century.

Here is a very literal translation:

O-light cheerful of-the-holy glory of-the-immortal Father,
Of-the-heavenly, holy, blessed, O-Jesus Christ,
We-having-come to the of-the-sun setting, we-having-seen (the) light evening,
We-sing-to (the) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God,
Worthy (are) you (sing.) at all times to-be-sung-to with-voices auspicious,
O-Son of-God, life the-one giving,
Wherefore the world you (sing.) glorifies.

A better translation (mine again):

O Joyous Light of the holy glory of the immortal Father,
(Light) of the heavenly, holy, blessed, O Jesus Christ,
Having come to the setting of the sun, and having beheld the evening light,
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God.
Worthy art Thou to be hymned at all times with favorable voices,
O Son of God, who gives life,
Wherefore the whole world glorifies Thee.