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A Second Reply to Robert Hommel Regarding Mantey's Letter to the WTB&TS

 

By Greg Stafford

 

Here is my second reply to Robert Hommel, in response to his latest submission regarding issues relating to Dr. J. R. Mantey’s letter to the WTB&TS.

 

I apologize for the delay in sending this reply, but there are two reasons for the delay: 1) Recent changes in policy by Jehovah’s Witnesses in their use of and participation on the Internet. Thus, the current location of this reply may very well change, soon. 2) The color scheme used by Mr. Hommel and myself, in this discussion, to separate previous replies from current responses, takes a great deal of time for the site-owner of the location of this reply, to modify to his Adobe program. In view of this, all previous replies will be in black, and Mr. Hommel’s most recent comments, to which I am responding, will be enclosed within double brackets (e.g., {{ }}). My response will be in gray. Those unfamiliar with the flow of the discussion to this point, should have little trouble picking up on who said what, and where.

 

I believe Mr. Hommel lacks a clear understanding of several key issues about which we are speaking, and that makes it difficult to continue a discussion with him, unless he shows that he can accept correction on a number of significant points. In my reply below I have asked him, several times, to restate my view, because I do not believe he has properly understood many things I have said to this point. When and if he replies, I will immediately check those instances where I have asked him to restate my view, to see if in fact his restatement matches with the view with which he has previously taken issue. If I meet with five misstatements of my view, which would show, as I suspect, a severe lack of understanding, resulting in a significant waste of time, as I have had to explain, several times, in two lengthy replies, the details about my view, then I will highlight these five misunderstandings, and end the discussion.

 

I have spent considerable time going over these points with Mr. Hommel, and I have also discussed many of these same issues in my book. There is a limit to how much time I will spend with someone who repeatedly misunderstands and miscommunicates my views, even though such a person may be a nice fellow, and pleasant in many other respects.

 

Mr. Hommel has accused me of “snipping” relevant portions of his previous reply, but I assure you, as I will explain below, no such thing was done. This is merely a diversionary tactic, that has failed.

 

I am, however, going to cut out a great deal of the previous discussion from this reply, and focus on Hommel’s most recent response. I assume everyone knows where the previous replies from each side are to be found (there is a link below). Therefore, my omission of a certain portion of the text is done with the understanding that this portion can easily be found, but is unnecessary to the present response.

 

Let us begin, then, keeping in mind that references to colors used are not carried over in this edition of my response. I have sent a few Word copies of this response to several people, and they, of course, will have the original color scheme in place. Otherwise, keep in mind that my most recent response is in gray, just below that part of Mr. Hommel’s latest remarks.

 

 

{{I am including your comments to me in their entirety (violet text). In my comments, I will often refer to my original open letter to you. I invite any readers of our exchange to read my original open letter in its entirety (as you have been rather liberal in your snipping), which they may find [on this website]

 

 

The accusation you here make regarding my allegedly “liberal” use of your letter is wishful thinking, at best. It is, however, a fine way for you to cast doubt on what I have had to say, and I could (and should) have said the same thing about your replies, but I prefer to simply explain why and where you are in error, knowing that those reading our discussion are quite capable of discerning whether you or I have been properly quoted, or not.

 

 

 

Watchtower Bible & Tract Society
117 Adams Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Dear Sirs:

I have a copy of your letter addressed to CARIS in Santa Ana, California, and I am writing to express my disagreement with statements made in that letter, as well as in quotations you have made from the Dana-Mantey Greek Grammar.]

[<PLEASE NOTE: There are two things to which Mantey is expressing disagreement: 1) statements made in the WTB&TS's letter to CARIS, and 2) quotations made by the Society from the Dana-Mantey (hereafter, D-M) grammar. You will further note that Mantey's first point below has to do with one of the WTB&TS's "statements" to CARIS>]

{{No disagreement here. Dr. Mantey is objecting to what the WT claims is "allowed for" in his Grammar (the CARIS letter) and to the WT's published claims that "a god" is more "in parallel" with "a market" in the Anabasis passage (these were all cited with references in my original letter to you). I believe I dealt with each of these claims quite thoroughly in my original letter.}}

 

 

 

No, you did not. That is why I am re-directing your attention to them here. Though you agree with what I wrote above, I am not sure you understand what is really being said. Consider:

 

 

 

(1) Your statement: "their work allows for the rendering found in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures at John 1:1." There is no statement in our grammar that was ever meant to imply that "a god" was a permissible translation in John 1:1.

[[Note Mantey's confusion: The WTB&TS is not commenting on whether or not they MEANT to imply that "'a god' was a permissible translation in John 1:1,' but that what the grammar did say 'allowed for it.' What's the difference? The difference is one has to do with the grammatical basis presented for a particular translation, and the other has to do with the grammarians INTENT. We believe that Dana and Mantey provided evidence that lends credibility to the "a god" translation; whether they INTENDED to do so or not is another matter entirely.

>> Dr. Mantey is hardly confused. He is not drawing a fine distinction in terms between "allows for" and "imply." <<

[<That is PRECISELY why he is confused! Mantey is, as even you admit, not drawing such a distinction, but such a distinction must indeed be drawn. This should have been clear enough from what I wrote just above your reply, but for some reason it was not. To make the statement that D-M's grammar allows for an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding a copula verb to be translated with an indefinite article (as in NWT's "a god" translation of John 1:1) when D-M itself refers to an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding a copula verb which they then translate as "and the place was a market [EMPORION HN]," most certainly allows for, grammatically, the verse they say is a "parallel case," namely, John 1:1, to be translated similarly (D-M, 148; see below on Hommel's baseless assertions regarding Attic Greek). THAT is what the WTB&TS meant by their comments to CARIS, and Mantey's failure to properly distinguish between what D-M "allows for" and what it 'implies' is unfortunate and irresponsible. Please try to distinguish what is grammatically allowable and what is theologically implied.>]

{{It was certainly clear that you were drawing the distinction in your original response to Dr. Mantey's letter. I got it, Mr. Stafford. I was simply making the point that Dr. Mantey was outraged by the use of his Grammar because he believed there was nothing in it to promote the NWT rendering of John 1:1. Therefore, accusing Dr. Mantey (and other Trinitarians) of the "intentional fallacy" does not adequately address Dr. Mantey's point; it is merely a thinly veiled ad hominem.

 

 

 

Well, since I do not employ such a device I am not sure you are focussed on the point at hand. I am merely asserting that Mantey failed to properly understand the meaning of the comments made by the WTB&TS. He merely reacted based on his misunderstanding, and failed to “properly distinguish between what D-M "allows for" and what it ‘implies.’” Mantey, much like yourself at this point in your reply, have not properly distinguished “what is grammatically allowable and what is theologically implied.”

 

 

 

{{Let's get this "allows for" business cleared up right now. You argue repeatedly in this letter 1) as if the statement in the CARIS letter is the only objection raised by Dr. Mantey (despite your comments to the contrary, above); and 2) as if "allows for" is synonymous with "possible." "Allows for" certainly carries connotations beyond what is merely possible - the OED defines "to allow for" as "to allow what is right" (17). It defines "allows" variously as (I) to admit as probable; (2) to approve of, sanction (ranging from a sense hardly differing from 'probable' to that of barely passing as acceptable); (3) to receive with approval or approbation; (4) to accept as reasonable or valid. Now, you may well believe the WT intended the "barely passing" shade of meaning - and perhaps it did - but if Dr. Mantey's intentions regarding the Xenophon passage are beside the point, so is the WT's. Given that Dr. Mantey was also aware (and objecting to) published statements by the WT that claim the "parallel" translation is more than merely "possible," it is hardly surprising that Dr. Mantey (and others) would legitimately infer more into "allows for" than is convenient for your apologetic.}}

 

 

 

How are ‘Mantey's intentions regarding the Xenophon passage beside the point’? That is, in fact, the point of comparison around which this issue revolves. The WTB&TS referred to D-M’s discussion of John 1:1 as one wherein a reader could find ‘allowance’ for the translation “a god” in John 1:1. As I said, “To make the statement that D-M's grammar allows for an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding a copula verb to be translated with an indefinite article (as in NWT's "a god" translation of John 1:1) when D-M itself refers to an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding a copula verb which they then translate as "and the place was a market [EMPORION HN]," most certainly allows for, grammatically, the verse they say is a "parallel case," namely, John 1:1, to be translated similarly (D-M, 148; see below on Hommel's baseless assertions regarding Attic Greek).” Of course, as we will see below, you actually overshot your case so far that you claimed things for Attic Greek that you did not even attempt to verify! Even in your last reply, where this admission was revealed, you attempted to justify your approach to this issue by unrelated issues. This will be considered below. No doubt, though, you will take this as some kind of ad hominem, but this is not the case at all. It seems that some Trinitarians just do not like to have their errors made public, and they are so thin-skinned that it is taken as ad hominem, rather than needed correction.

 

 

 

>>He is simply saying his Grammar cannot legitimately be used in support of the WT's rendition of John 1:1. He is well aware of what the WT intends by quoting his Grammar.<<

[< I hope this is not going to be a recurring pattern in your response, Mr. Hommel, but, again, he can say whatever he wants, but the fact is D-M makes reference to a grammatical parallel to John 1:1, which they translate with an indefinite article. How is it that you cannot see this simple point? If I make reference to two texts that use the same grammatical construction and I then translate one of them a certain way, I am then making it allowable to translate the other passage with the same grammatical construction in the same way. Of course, we always consider the different contexts and other relevant issues before offering a translation, but that is where factors other than grammar come into play. Here we are speaking of the grammatical basis presented in the D-M grammar upon which one could say that such and such is allowable. For D-M to parallel the grammar of John 1:1 to Anabasis 1.4.6 and to then translate the predicate nominative in Anabasis 1.4.6 as "a market," certainly ALLOWS for (grammatically) the predicate in John 1:1c. to likewise have an indefinite article in translation. Whether they view the predicate as having the same semantic is irrelevant to the fact that the grammatical construction itself is capable of bearing the indefinite/qualitative semantic. I explained all of this in my response, which you reference below, but for some reason this point was not clear to you.>]

{{I will refer you to my original letter on this point. I will not repeat it here, save to point out that D-M "parallels" the grammar with regard to determining the subject in a copulative sentence, and the avoidance of a convertible proposition, not the semantic force of the predicate nominative. }}

 

 

 

And I will again refer to my comments above, which you have not properly addressed; you are side-stepping them. In addition to re-reading the above, pay particular attention to the last part: “Whether they view the predicate as having the same semantic is irrelevant to the fact that the grammatical construction itself is capable of bearing the indefinite/qualitative semantic. I explained all of this in my response, which you reference below, but for some reason this point was not clear to you.”

 

 

 

{{The fact that the PN in the Anabasis passage is indefinite means virtually nothing when compared to John 1:1. Of course an anarthrous PN in Colwell's Construction is "capable of bearing the indefinite/qualitative semantic" (as well as several other semantic forces), but WT has repeatedly stated that the "parallel" grammar does far more than merely make "possible" a parallel translation (using the words "more in parallel," etc.). The entire point of this section in my original letter is that a grammatical "parallel" is not a semantic one, and therefore when the WT cites the D-M Grammar in favor of a "parallel translation," particularly when the Grammar is not discussing the semantic force of a PN, it has done so illegitimately. }}

 

 

 

Again, re-read my above comments. If the predicate in two grammatically parallel constructions can be indefinite in one of them, then the grammatical construct itself, as even you admit, can bear an indefinite semantic. But, as I wrote above: “Of course, we always consider the different contexts and other relevant issues before offering a translation, but that is where factors other than grammar come into play. Here we are speaking of the grammatical basis presented in the D-M grammar upon which one could say that such and such is allowable. For D-M to parallel the grammar of John 1:1 to Anabasis 1.4.6 and to then translate the predicate nominative in Anabasis 1.4.6 as "a market," certainly ALLOWS for (grammatically) the predicate in John 1:1c. to likewise have an indefinite article in translation.” Your words above almost seem to be an indication that you missed this part of my reply. So that I am sure you understand what I am saying, and at this point I do not believe that you do, can you please put into your own words the arguments I presented above, which start with “I hope” and end with “not clear to you”? Doing so will surely tell us if you truly understand my arguments.

 

 

 

>> It seeks to support its translation by citing relevant scholarship. Unfortunately, it has chosen to do so through the use of selective quotation. The accepted standards for scholarly citation are well known - simply put, one must quote accurately and must include or summarize enough context so that the reader can easily discern the quoted writer's meaning. It is considered unethical to quote an author in such as way as to mislead the reader into thinking that he is saying something he is not. Only JW's seem to be of the opinion that the WT has quoted the Manual Grammar in accordance with these standards. <<

[<And only Trinitarians seem to be of the opinion that D-M does not "allow" for the NWT rendering! You are going in circles, Mr. Hommel. You cannot ignore the relevant difference between NWT's claim that D-M "allows for" a certain rendering and Mantey's objection that such a rendering for John 1:1 was not meant to be 'implied.' Of course they did not mean to imply any such rendering, but by not being able to see through their staunch Trinitarianism (see D-M, 140) they apparently could not see the allowance that results from their paralleling Anabasis 1.4.6 with John 1:1. That is their problem, and yours, not ours.>]

 

{{I believe it is your problem, Mr. Stafford, meaning no disrespect. You state that the NWT claims D-M "'allows for' a certain rendering." 'Rendering' is a term referring to semantics. Granted, grammar plays a significant role in determining semantics, but in the case of a PN in Colwell's Construction, the semantic force is not dictated by the grammar (as you seem to concur, above). Therefore, it seems to me rather obvious that citing 1 or 1000 cases of indefinite (or qualitative-indefinite) PNs in Xenophon is of little value in establishing a "parallel" translation, particularly when the Grammar cited makes no such claim, and one of the authors of that Grammar writes that such a translation is not "permissible."}}

 

 

 

Again, we are dealing with the Witnesses’ view of what D-M “allows for.” In this case D-M contains data, namely, a parallel in syntax and grammar, which can be used to show that anarthrous PN’s preceding the copula can be translated with an indefinite article. The whole discussion ends here, but you can’t have that, and thus proceed to cloud the issue, which I have stated quite clearly several times, because you have to somehow come out of this by making NWT and the WTB&TS look bad.  We’ll talk more about your erroneous comments on Attic and Koine Greek below.

 

 

 

[[Of course, we hardly need their grammar to justify what is really a rather obvious translation. Still, when they referred to Xenophon's Anabasis 1:4:6 EMPORION D' HN TO XWRION ("the place was a market") and then say "we have a parallel case to what we have in John 1:1" (Dana and Mantey, 148) the foundation is laid, grammatically, for a parallel translation. But, of course, the theology of the grammarians overrides their good grammatical judgment, as is evident by their Trinitarian coloring of this verse on page 140 of the Manual Grammar.]]

>> If you hardly need the Grammar to support this "obvious" translation, why did the WT bother quoting it in the first place? <<

[< Is that not obvious, Mr. Hommel? Why, it is to show those who object to such a translation that even sources to which you look for grammatical guidance "allow for" such a rendering.>]

{{Why, Mr. Stafford, surely there must be a handful of scholars in the same rank as Dr. Mantey who support the NWT translation completely - not just an inferred "allows for," but an actual ringing endorsement. For the second time, please name them. After all, it is an "obvious" translation, isn't it?}}

 

 

 

An “allows for” is enough. Why should NWT seek more than that? After all, it is, again, a rather obvious translation for those who are not bound by post-biblical concepts of God. What do you mean by “same rank as Dr. Mantey”? I don’t recall you asking for such a list the first time around, but I may have missed it in reading through all the irrelevant arguments and red herrings you have laid before me. However, the very fact that you would have to ask me for such a list shows that 1) you have not thoroughly investigated this issue, and 2) you are therefore speaking out of order, making dogmatic claims about what scholars say about the passage prior to having checked into the history of this passage, as understood by NON-Trinitarians. At any rate, I will here give a partial list, as I do not have time to list the over 80 scholars that I have on file as endorsing the translation “a G-god.”

 

1) “a god” - A. N. Jannaris, Ph.D, author of An Historical Greek Grammar and Lecturer on Post-Classical and other Greek dialects at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (in ZNW 2 [1901], 24-25).

 

2) “a God” - Joseph Priestley, LL.D., F.R.S. (in A Familiar Illustration of Certain Passages of Scripture Relating to The Power of Man to do the Will of God, Original Sin, Election and Reprobation, The Divinity of Christ; And, Atonement for Sin by the Death of Christ [Philadelphia: Thomas Dobson, 1794], 37).

 

3) “a God” - Lant Carpenter, LL.D (in Unitarianism in the Gospels [London: C. Stower, 1809], 156).

 

4) “a god” - Andrews Norton, D.D. (in A Statement of Reasons For Not Believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians [Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Company, 1833], 74).

 

5) “a God” - Herman Heinfetter, author of Rules for Ascertaining the Sense Conveyed in Ancient Greek Manuscripts, Objections to Bishop Middleton’s Doctrine of the Greek Article, and An Enquiry Respecting the Punctuation of Ancient Greek (in A Literal Translation of the Gospel According to St. John on Definite Rules of Translation, and an English Version of the Same, 6th ed. [London: Evan Evans, 1864]).

 

6) “a God” - Robert Young, LL.D. (in his Concise Commentary on the Holy Bible [Grand Rapids: Baker, n.d.], 54).

 

7) “a God” - Paul Wernle, Professor Extraordinary of Modern Church History at the University of Basil (in The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 1, The Rise of Religion [1903], 16).

 

8) “a god” - William Loader, Ph.D. and New Testament Lecturer for the Perth Theological Hall, Australia, teacher at Murdoch University as a member of the Perth College of Divinity, and author of several books and journal articles (in The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Structure and Issues [Peter Lang 1992], 155). Loader refers to “a god” as the “most natural reading of the text.”

 

 

Other translations throughout the past two centuries could be cited, but I am through doing the work you should have done on your own, prior to making the claims you make about how scholars understand this verse. Or are you only interested in what Trinitarian scholars have to say?

 

 

 

>>It is, indeed, an obvious translation. Dr. Mantey translates it as follows: "The Word was deity." As should go without saying, and as Dr. Mantey makes clear in his letter to the WTB&TS, by "deity," he means the One True God, not a secondary, lesser "god" as the WT implies in the appendix of the 1971 NWT.<<

[< Now here is where your blending together of the WTB&TS's "statements" to CARIS and what they quote from Mantey's grammar in the NWT Appendix to John 1:1 causes you problems. What you apparently do not realize is that in the period leading up to the NWT translation Colwell's rule and "the Word was God" (definite) translation were held up as legitimate at almost every turn.

{{This rhetorical sword cuts both ways. For in that same period, many Trinitarians and the WT believed that only the definite semantic force justified the orthodox translation of John 1:1. Some Trinitarian scholars of the day believed that a qualitative force necessarily meant an indefinite rendering (Colwell himself can be read this way). They were wrong, as virtually every modern grammarian agrees. The WT quotes I have provided in my original letter to you demonstrate, I think quite clearly, that the WT believed - and still argues - that a qualitative force "warrants" the indefinite rendering of theos in John 1:1c.}}

 

 

 

Yes, those Trinitarian scholars were in serious, heretical error. Since they were, however, advocating such a view, the WT assumed that this was their means of justifying their beliefs. They should have challenged them then, as they are now. Yes, of course, the WT accepts the indefinite rendering as a proper means of conveying the qualitative force of the PN. They also cite translations such as “divine” to support their qualitative view, which is meant in defiance of the definite view. The fact remains, you have inappropriately blended the WTB&TS’s "statements" to CARIS and what they quote from Mantey's grammar in the NWT Appendix to John 1:1. Were you planning on explaining this error of yours? Also, Mantey, like you, is reading John 1:1 in light of Trinitarianism. He is not taking it from the text, but bringing it to the text. There is nothing in John 1:1 about a Trinity or about a “person” who shares in the nature of a triune God. There is God and he is with the Word, who is himself  “a god.” The two are distinguished, not in terms of “person,” but in ontological terms of being, in terms of THEOS.

 

 

 

[<The "a god" rendering is NOT a strictly indefinite translation (at least not in NWT), but is meant to convey QUALITATIVENESS by means of the English indefinite article. That even the 1950 translation of John 1:1 is to be understood as primarily qualitative can be seen from the following statements in the Appendix to John 1:1: "[Theos in John 1:1c] tells of a certain quality about the Word or Logos, but it does not identify him as one and the same as God"; "[the anarthrous predicate] points to a quality about someone" (p. 774, emphasis added).

{{I dealt with the meaning of qualitative rather extensively in my original letter. A qualitative noun does not express "a certain quality," but all qualities. }}

 

 

 

Yes, all those qualities that make one a god. But there are different degrees of such qualities, which you have not addressed, and which is clearly at issue, here.

 

 

 

{{A qualitative-indefinite noun stresses both the noun as a member of a class, and the qualities of that member or class. Thus, by the WT rendering, the Word is a god who is a member of a class (of exalted, though created, beings), and who possesses all the qualities of that class. The problems, here, are myriad, and I have already addressed them in detail. In the context of the Prologue, The Word is portrayed as uncreated; The Word is celebrated as unique; The Word is ascribed the role of Creator (or mediator of Creation), a role reserved for the True God in the OT and in all 2nd Temple Jewish literature (see further discussion, below). In the dramatic opening verse, John emphasizes theos by placing it as the beginning of clause C, which is unaccountable if the qualities being emphasized are shared by a 'class' of others. }}

 

 

 

These are all false claims: It is true that owning the qualities of nature of a certain class places you in that class, but that does not have to be the intent of a particular translation. But, in any event, this is fine with me. The Word is NOWHERE portrayed as uncreated. In fact, the Prologue itself describes the Word’s divinity in temporal terms, as the “only-begotten god.” The Word is nowhere spoken of as the creator. He is the mediator of GOD’S creative acts. There is nothing in biblical or in Second Temple literature that limits such a role to God. Your discussion of this point below will be considered momentarily. What is certain is that there is absolutely nothing Trinitarian in the Prologue or in the literature of Second Temple Judaism, or in the entire OT. Almost every statement in the Prologue contradicts the tenets of Trinitarianism. The very use of THEOS in 1:1b and 1:1c most certainly contradicts Trinitarianism, and forces its advocates into extreme equivocation. Your statement,In the dramatic opening verse, John emphasizes theos by placing it as the beginning of clause C, which is unaccountable if the qualities being emphasized are shared by a 'class' of others,” is circular reasoning. That is as bad an argument as if you had said, ‘In John 1:14, John emphasizes SARX by placing it as the beginning of the clause, which is unaccountable if the qualities being emphasized are shared by a “class” of others.’

 

 

 

{{Of course, it gets worse than that. }}

 

 

 

Worse than what? Are you under the impression that you have proven some point? This is a common characteristic of Trinitarians: They proceed under the false belief that they have proven some significant point, when, in fact, not only have they failed to prove anything in support of their view, but what they say actually, when viewed in light of the texts being considered, contradicts their belief. That you fail to see this is not surprising, but it is most certainly unfortunate.

 

 

 

{{For the class of others, as you define them below and elsewhere, includes angels, demons, and even "certain humans." The WT even taught, at one time, that believers would be resurrected as "gods" (WT 12/1881, p. 301). So, if John intends a qualitative meaning, does the Word possess all the attributes of angels, all the attributes of Satan ("the god of this world"), or all the attributes of "certain" humans? Now, if John intends the indefinite sense, you could argue that the Word is one of that class, but you and the WT insist on the qualitative force. It seems to me the WT jumped on the qualitative bandwagon in an effort to disprove the definite force, but in so doing, has locked itself (and you) into proving how the qualitative force can apply to the equivocated definition you ascribe to theos. It should go without saying that John, under inspiration of God Himself, would surely not be vague about describing the qualities and attributes possessed by the Word, since this is the very purpose of the Prologue and his Gospel as a whole. If the Word possesses all the qualities of a "mighty one," what exactly are those qualities, given your rather encompassing view of how 2nd Temple Jews defined the term? Your only out is to equivocate on "qualitative," which is what the WT attempts to do in the passage you quote above, and which you attempt in the numerous occasions in which you blur the distinction between indefinite and qualitative, below. Forgive me, but I find such arguments unpersuasive.}}

 

 

 

That is because you apparently do not have a good understanding of the issues being argued. Your initial comments in the above paragraph are quite remarkable. How you do not see that the Word’s divinity is defined by the one he is “with” is startling. By whom else could it be so defined? What you refuse to accept, however, is that it is by this GOD, not a “person” as understood in Trinitarianism, that the Word is accepted as a divine one. There is a clear and unmistakable distinction between GOD and the Word, and it is by means of THAT distinction that the Word is properly understood as divine being.

 

 Of course, you have to redefine all of this in terms of Trinitarianism. We do not. We accept the Word’s divinity in relation to the God he is with, and the other angels are similarly divine, though not uniquely-derived as is the Logos. (Joh 1:18) That you do not know of the use of the secondary use of G-god for other intermediary figures in the DSD and in Second Temple literature is rather amazing. I will comment on this point below, in relation to your misuse of monotheism and Second Temple literature. I will also further comment on this issue of qualitativeness below.

 

 

 

[<As even Trinitarian scholars have observed:

It should be observed, however, that the prefixing of the indefinite article in English does not always result in making the noun indefinite. That qualitative character which is in Greek denoted by the absence of the article is in English frequently expressed by employment of the indefinite article.--Arthur Wakefield Slaten, Qualitative Nouns in the Pauline Epistles and Their Translation in the Revised Version (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1918), 5.

{{I fail to see how this furthers your case, when Slaten says that prefixing the indefinite article "does not always result in making the noun indefinite." If theos is not indefinite (either being definite or qualitative), the NWT rendering falls. }}

 

 

 

Did you not read the above quote? If the prefixing of the indefinite article does NOT always result in making the noun indefinite, then how does the NWT fall if it is qualitative and that qualitativeness if brought out by the indefinite article, which “does not always result in making the noun indefinite”?

 

 

 

{{It appears you do not have a clear sense of the implications of theos being qualitative rather than purely indefinite. Simply because in English, we must - at times -use the indefinite article to smoothly translate a qualitative noun from the Greek, does not mean that the noun in question must always be indefinite. Consider the noun "sin." In John 9:25, "sin" is a qualitative noun (in my view; you may disagree, but go with me a bit on this one). We may translate this as "he is sinful," or "he is a sinner." In this case, the two translations are very close in meaning. The indefinite rendering, though perhaps not quite as precise, adequately conveys John's meaning. For, if he is sinful, he must perforce be a sinner, and if he has all the qualities of a sinner, he must be sinful. }}

 

 

 

Here is what you do not understand: John 9:25 does not simply refer to the abstraction (!) known as “sin.” It uses hAMARTWLOS in reference to a personalistic subject. He is not referring to the “man” as “sin”! We could say, “sinful,” but if he is “sinful” then he is “a sinner”! There is no getting away from the indefinite semantic even if you translate the PN as purely qualitative, taking it as a predicate adjective instead of a PN. However, again, the fact the PN is applied to a singular, personalistic subject requires the indefinite semantic. Can you explain how one can be “sinful” and not be “a sinner”? Can you tell us, please, how the Word can be “divine” without being “a god,” WITHOUT resorting to Trinitarianism or the terms used to define it?

 

 

 

{{Thus, as Slaten says, the qualitative character is "expressed by employment of the indefinite article," but the noun is not necessarily indefinite. }}

 

 

 

No, not necessarily. The intention of the translation need not have any thought of indefiniteness for indefiniteness to logically follow. Do you understand this point? Even using Slaten’s example one can see that to say that a personalistic subject is “a prince” is either a figurative usage (similar to “he is a brain” [he is “smart”]) in which case the context of the text is essential in telling us whether the referent is truly the son of a king, and, if so, then the expression is literal, and, while it may use the indefinite article to emphasize the qualitative aspect of the noun without reference to its indefiniteness, the indefinite semantic still follows. In John 1:1 this is even more clearly the case, as the Word as THEOS is distinguished from another who is THEOS. They are not distinguished in terms of “person,” but in terms of THEOS. Do you understand this point? Please rephrase my above argument in your own words.

 

 

 

{{If we were polytheists - Mormons, say - and we believed in many, essentially equal gods, the indefinite rendering of John 1:1 would adequately convey the meaning as well. }}

 

 

 

1) Please leave other religious groups out of this.

 

2) You do not understand biblical monotheism apart from Trinitarianism, and so your comments here are of little use. I will explain this further below. What you should have said, if you were speaking according to biblical monotheism, is that if we accept the fact that the Bible speaks of others who are “gods” in a secondary sense, under the authority of Jehovah, then the Logos could be one of those gods. Indeed, given that the two are clearly distinguished in terms of THEOS and since one of them is later called the MONOGENHS THEOS, they are clearly two distinct THEOI.

 

 

 

{{The Word was with The God and the Word was a God. For, if the Word is a God (in the Mormon sense), the Word possesses all the qualities of The God (for, in Mormon theology, all Gods have the same attributes or qualities). The key point is that even in this case, theos in 1:1c would not be purely indefinite. The indefinite rendering would adequately express John's thought, but a more precise translation would convey the qualitative nuance: The Word was Deity. For, to a Mormon, if the Word is Deity, He must be a God, and if He is a God, he must be Deity. The problem for Mormons, of course, is that John was not a polytheist - even if he would acknowledge other "gods" (and I'm not persuaded he would), he would ascribe a unique nature to the One God, who is Creator and Ruler of all. In this, I think you will agree. }}

 

 

 

I agree only that the unique nature owned by the Most High God, the God of the Logos, is one that is distinct from the Logos, not in the qualities that He possesses, but in the degree that he owns and displays them. Again, I am not here to discuss Mormon theology, not even as a point of comparison. Surely you can make your point with resorting to their theology?

 

 

 

{{The crux of the matter is whether John intends the meaning of theos to change from clause B to clause C, by virtue of the anarthrous construction. You say that John distinguishes the Word from the God in terms of theos, which means that John intends one meaning (the One True God) in clause B, and another (a lesser god) in clause C. However, since we both agree the anarthrous construction signifies a qualitative force, I simply cannot see how it must also convey a change in the lexis of theos as well, particularly as I am unaware of any other such cases in the GNT. }}

 

 

 

You are in error in your presentation of my view. I do not hold that the lexical sense changes at all, nor that it involves a change from a greater to a lesser sense! Can you please explain from where you are getting this distorted view of my argument? How did what I say lead you to this position? My point in highlighting the fact that John makes a distinction in terms of THEOS (does he not?) is that the LOGOS is a different THEOS than the THEOS he is “with.” That is all. That they are not equal gods is clear from the relationship that is revealed in the rest of the Prologue and in the rest of John’s Gospel. The only thing that can be safely concluded from John 1:1 is that we are dealing with two separate beings, each of whom is considered THEOS in some sense. This fact alone removes Trinitarianism from the category of biblical teachings.

 

 

 

{{It seems to me far more reasonable that John uses theos in the same sense in both clauses, and the qualitative force points to the Word having all the qualities or attributes of the One True God.}}

 

 

 

Yes, well, it seems more reasonable to me also! How you have positioned this belief as one contrary to mine is astounding. The difference between the only true God’s divinity and that of the gods over whom He is God, is 1) the fact that he is not a divine being because of someone else (His Godship is not derived) and 2) the degree to which he owns and displays those attributes that define deity. 

 

 

 

{{My point here, which I hope I have conveyed clearly, is that simply because Slaten and other grammarians say that a qualitative noun can, at times, be expressed in English by employment of the indefinite article, by this they do not mean that the noun in question must be indefinite.}}

 

 

 

THAT is precisely the point I made in citing Slaten! If you do not understand a point that I make, why not ask before you make these ridiculous claims and comparisons, pitting me against the very point I am making?

 

 

 

[<And:

"Often, the only way to effectively communicate a qualitative noun in the English idiom is by prefacing the noun with 'a.'" -- Paul Stephen Dixon, "The Significance of the Anarthrous Predicate Nominative in John" (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1975), 47.

{{And where does Dixon say that John 1:1 is one of these cases? He concludes his thesis thus: "We conclude that theos in 1:1c stresses quality. Third, this thesis demonstrates that the statistical probability of theos being qualitative, rather than definite or indefinite, is quite high, 94%." Notice, like every other grammarian on the planet, Dixon confirms that a qualitative noun "stresses quality," not "tells of a certain quality," as the WT would have it.}}

 

 

 

You are here missing the point and redefining “tells of a certain quality,” when that statement is meant in reference to the quality conveyed by THEOS. THAT is the “certain” quality about which they are speaking. Also, yes, I know what Dixon’s view is, and THAT is why I cited him! Dixon does not have to agree with us on which Q-nouns should be translated with the indefinite article. Did I say he had to say that? I am merely citing Dixon to show the legitimacy of using the English indefinite article in translating Q-nouns. First you need to recognize the reason for my quotation of Dixon and others, if you are going to rightly criticize it. My point was, quite simply in fact, that the use of the English indefinite article can be used to translate qualitative nouns. That is why the NWT uses “a” and their view of the indefinite nuance follows from the context of the verse and the translators overall view of biblical theology. While I think that NWT is correct in viewing the matter this way, I believe the WT relied too heavily on Harner’s conclusions, and that the anarthrous preverbal PN primarily signals a qualitative-indefinite semantic, when used of singular personalistic subjects.

 

 

 

[<Since D-M's "deity" is a qualitative translation, as opposed a strictly definite one, then NWT is merely referring to them (just as it refers to Westcott and others who offer qualitative translations, albeit with a Trinitarian sense) as examples supporting their qualitative emphasis on the predicate THEOS in John 1:1c. The WTB&TS is not going to spend time telling the reader about the theology of those whom it cites in the Appendix article, because that is not relevant to their main point, which is to establish the legitimacy of a qualitative rendering. I am sure they figured it was rather obvious how D-M' theology came into play when the meaning of the translation was at issue, but since they are concerned here, not with the interpretation per se, but with the TRANSLATION (that is, a qualitative versus a definite one), then why should we expect to find more in the Appendix concerning D-M than we do? Because you are not clear about what they are trying to do, and no doubt because you have been influenced by Mantey's confusion over this issue, you are having difficulty letting go of the condemnation that has been heaped upon the NWT and the WTB&TS. I encourage you to disconnect yourself from such misunderstandings, spend several months meditating on the issues, and then revisit the matter afresh. >]

 

{{Then the NWT is equivocating on the term "qualitative." The WT wants the term qualitative to mean "a certain quality." You have gone further to advocate that "often" a qualitative noun can only be expressed in English by use of the indefinite article. Of course, you do not mean this in the same sense as grammarians do, as your quote of Slaten, above, demonstrates, and you continually blend the meaning of the two semantic forces by suggesting that a preponderance of the indefinite nuance in Xenophon or in John's corpus somehow justifies a qualitative-indefinite nuance in John 1:1c.}}

 

 

 

Again, you have ignored all the salient points I have made in relation to this subject. I have argued and will argue again below that the primary semantic of anarthrous preverbal PNs is qualitative-indefinite. The NWT is arguing for qualitativeness only. The indefinite semantic, for them, comes from the context and the rest of the Bible. Now, while I differ from NWT, only slightly, in the primary semantic signaled by the PN, I agree completely with their view that the context demands an indefinite sense. This is unavoidable when you are viewing the matter apart from post-biblical concepts of God.

 

Grammarians do not universally view qualitativeness apart from indefiniteness. Not even Harner draws such a distinction! Since you do not understand my use of Slaten in relation to the basis informing NWT’s rendering, this naturally and unfortunately leads you into error, again. You also do not understand what NWT means by “a certain quality” and you do not even seem to realize that it is not *I* who said that  "often" a qualitative noun can only be expressed in English by use of the indefinite article, but Dixon!

 

I most assuredly do mean qualitative just as the grammarians do, but since I do not share Trinitarian grammarians’ view of the noun itself, the precise nature of the qualities naturally differ. By qualitative all I mean is that the qualities associated with the noun are emphasized. But, since I, unlike you, do not assume Trinitarianism in my understanding of the qualities associated with the noun, then yes, ultimately we do mean different things by qualitative in relation to certain PNs. But there is nothing to suggest that singular PNs used of singular personalistic subjects an be viewed as having the qualities conveyed by the substantive, but NOT belong to the class to which the substantive refers! That is where Trinitarians such as yourself are reading later views into the text, and attempting to preserve your theology where the Bible does not allow it. Again, even if we, like the NWT, accepted per Harner and others a Q-only sense (though Harner says “primarily,” not “only”) then it would follow that because the Word has the nature of THEOS, he is either THEOS or a THEOS. If the Word is THEOS, then, since according to you there is only one THEOS, which is the Trinity, the Word is the Trinity. There is no option available whereby the Word can be accepted as a “person” of THEOS for 1) he is “with THEOS, 2) THEOS is predicated of him (not “a person within THEOS”) and 3) there is no articulation anywhere in the Bible about a triune being, or “persons” who are said to exist “within” this triune being. This is post-biblical theology read back into the text, and when it is done, as we can see, you have to redefine and limit certain terms in hopes that you can get others to accept a theology that is built on concepts that are nowhere articulated in the Bible, and which contradicts what is articulated in the Bible, namely, that the Word is “a god” who was with “God” and who is a MONOGENHS THEOS, over whom God is God.

 

 

 

>> In support of his translation, Dr. Mantey could easily cite hundreds of ancient and modern grammarians, commentators, and theologians with impeccable credentials. The WT, on the other hand, has used such leading lights as the Unitarian Benjamin Wilson (who had no credentials as a Greek scholar), Johannes Greber (a notorious occultist), and the anonymous NWT Translation Committee. <<

[<And if Mantey were to cite "hundreds of ancient and modern grammarians, commentators, and theologians with impeccable credentials" supporting a qualitative versus a definite TRANSLATION, then NWT could also have legitimately cited them all. Also, please refrain from using circumstantial ad hominems. They don't work here. Wilson also translated Titus 2:13 in accordance with the preferred Trinitarian translation. Why did his Unitarianism not affect him here? How do you know anything about Wilson's qualifications? Can you please list Granville Sharp's "credentials as a Greek scholar"? Why is this not an issue with you, especially since his "rule" is used in numerous grammars, although most of these grammars written by scholars with "impeccable credentials" almost always misunderstand the rule founded by a man without any "impeccable credentials"! >]

 

{{But Dr. Mantey would cite them supporting a qualitative versus both a definite and an indefinite translation. Fine, I concede Wilson was as capable as Sharp (only for the sake of argument, of course). What of Greber? In 1956, the WT admitted Greber was a spiritualist (WT 2/15/56, p. 110-111). Yet, in 1962 (WT 9/15), 1969 (Aid to Biblical Understanding), 1975 (WT 10/15), and 1976 (WT 4/15), Greber is cited for support of the NWT. And who else did you say the WT has listed in support of their translation and what were their credentials?}}

 

 

 

Again, NWT is using qualitative in reference to the use of the preverbal PN. The use of the indefinite article is meant to emphasize qualitativeness, which I why I quoted Slaten and Dixon. But since you do not yet understand what is going on here, it is a problem for you. As for Greber, since you have apparently not bothered to read my Appendix C (first and second editions) I will wait until you do, before discussing it further . I have already done far too much for you, which you should have done long before making the claims that you make.

 

 

 

>> "The ground is laid grammatically for a parallel translation?" Tell me, Mr. Stafford, what is the context of the quoted passage from Xenophon in Dr. Mantey's Grammar? What is he attempting to demonstrate? Is he writing about the meaning of the anarthrous predicate or the articular subject? <<

[< Tell me, Mr. Hommel, do we have a grammatically parallel use of the predicate nominative in Anabasis 1.4.6 and John 1:1? Does D-M translate only the subject in Anabasis 1.4.6 or do they translate the predicate also? How do they translate the predicate? If they translate the predicate for one of two grammatically parallel passages with the indefinite article why do you continue to stumble over the fact that this then "allows for" a similar translation of the predicate in the grammatically "parallel" passage? >]

 

{{Because the semantic force of the predicate is not determined by the grammatical construction.}}

 

 

 

And where does D-M make this distinction? Is not EMPORIAN a noun? Is not THEOS a noun? Their sense is, of course, different, but how does this affect their being translated with an indefinite article when placed in the precopulative position? Remember, we are talking, at this point, not about the lexical meaning of the terms, but about the significance of the PN in the precopulative position. Please re-read my above questions and try to answer them again.

 

 

 

>> As the passage occurs in a section entitled, "With the subject in a copulative sentence," the answer should be obvious. <<

[< Of course it is. So why are you asking? This has nothing to do with my point, which you seem to have conveniently ignored. >]

 

{{I'm asking because it is pertinent to my point that the D-M Grammar was cited without proper context, as I state immediately below:}}

 

 

 

Again, you apparently do NOT understand my point at all, which is why you cannot see the corrections I am offering, in order to help you refocus.

 

 

 

>>The context is the use of the article to distinguish the subject in a copulative sentence, not the function of the anarthrous predicate. Since, in its letter to CARIS, the WT has not made this context clear in their citation, but rather has used it to support their translation of the predicate of John 1:1c, it has violated accepted standards of scholarly citation. More careful in print, perhaps, the WT at least pays passing reference to the context when citing Dr. Mantey in the appendix of the 1971 NWT. But even here the WT immediately shifts to the meaning of the predicate: "Instead of translating John 1:1 AND THE WORD WAS DEITY, this Grammar could have translated it AND THE WORD WAS A GOD, to run more in parallel with Xenophon's statement AND THE PLACE WAS A MARKET" (p. 1362). The lack of sufficient context allows readers to assume that by "deity," Dr. Mantey means something less than the One True God. The words "could have" suggests that the Grammar provides a basis for rendering the predicate "a god," which it emphatically does not - Mantey's very point in writing his letter in the first place. >>

[< Again, you are going in circles, and lumping the NWT quotations of D-M with the statements made to CARIS. You also seem oblivious to the fact that while the grammatical subject is in focus on page 148-149 of D-M, they also discuss and translate the predicate for the two "parallel" passages. Then they talk about their view of the predicate in both Anabasis 1.4.6 and John 1:1. The latter is, of course, viewed in the light of Trinitarianism. But since we are here discussing the WTB&TS's "statement" concerning what is 'allowed' by the D-M grammar, and since they most certainly, no doubt unwittingly, do, then your point is not established and fails (for the third time I believe) to understand the issues at hand. If this happens again in your response, I will omit that portion, as I do not have the time to explain this simple matter to you a fourth (fifth?) time. >]

 

{{Why do you complain that I am "lumping" the NWT quotations and the CARIS letter? You pointed out the twofold complaint Dr. Mantey expressed in his original letter. I've already explained why the translation of the PN in the Anabasis passage has little, if any, bearing on semantics of John 1:1.}}

 

 

 

And here you fail once again. You also deny reality in claiming that Anabasis 1.4.6 in the context of the WTB&S’s use of D-M has little bearing on the issue. You just do not “get it,” for some reason. I will repeat one portion of what I said above. If you still do not get it then there is nothing further I can do for you. “Tell me, Mr. Hommel, do we have a grammatically parallel use of the predicate nominative in Anabasis 1.4.6 and John 1:1? Does D-M translate only the subject in Anabasis 1.4.6 or do they translate the predicate also? How do they translate the predicate? If they translate the predicate for one of two grammatically parallel passages with the indefinite article why do you continue to stumble over the fact that this then "allows for" a similar translation of the predicate in the grammatically "parallel" passage?”

 

If you absolutely cannot understand this simple point, then I cannot help you. Reread all of the above a few more times, take as long as you need  to break it down, and then let me know if you still do not understand the issue. I will, from this point forward, in accordance with my comments above, be deleting from your latest reply any further reference to this issue involving the WTB&TS, D-M and John 1:1. There is no point in going on and on about it when you simply do not understand, or refuse to accept, a rather simply point that puts an end to your erroneous view of the issue. In reading through the portion of your reply below, which I am here going to delete, you need to understand that I am arguing for 1) NWT’s original view of the situation and how THEY understood the D-M discussion, and how *I* understand the force of the PN, which is slightly different that NWT, though they are ultimately the same. I don’t know how you have failed so consistently to see this, and to claim that I am somehow on ‘slippery ground’ because of it. In fact, it is precisely because you do not understand what is going on that you make such claims. ASK, please, if you do not understand what I am saying, or why I am saying it.

 

 

 

<<Dr. Mantey also knew that Xenophon wrote in Attic Greek, making the semantic force of emporion even less useful as a "parallel" with a predicate nominative in John's usage. Statistical analyses have shown that in the Koine Greek of the NT (and, more specifically of the fourth Gospel), preverbal anarthrous predicate nominatives in copulative sentences are rarely indefinite (Harner, Wallace, and Dixon). >>

[<The statistical studies you mention are all very subjective and contain numerous misclassifications based on theological driven criteria. If you had read my discussion with Don Hartley you would see this, or even if you had read my book. You have advanced nothing to show a difference between the force of a preverbal PN in Xenophon and John. The indefinite nuance is the most prominent in the examples from the Johannine corpus, which can be seen by a consideration of the context of those texts containing an anarthrous preverbal nominative. You, of course, give no examples to support your position; you simply fall back on the studies done by other Trinitarians, all of whom I have interacted with and whose findings I have disputed through critical analyses of the texts in question. Could you please interact with the following examples from the Fourth Gospel, and tell me how force of the predicate is different from that in Anabasis 1.4.6: 4:19; 6:70; 8:34; 8:44c; 8:44g; 8:48; 9:17; 9:24; 9:25; 9:28; 10:1; 10:2; 10:13; 10:36; 12:6.

 

{{I'm well aware of your interaction with Don Hartley and find it singularly unconvincing. I would simply refer interested readers to Hartley's original article, as well as your interaction with him, available here: http://www.pionet.com/~cultrsch/trinitytopicindex.htm#hartley., and invite them to draw their own conclusions regarding who is being subjective and "theologically driven." }}

 

 

 

I second that motion, though I am not sure that that link contains the entire discussion (I believe it has now been updated, AFTER your comments above), so I can see why you would want them to read it instead the more complete link found here: http://www.Jehovah.to, in the Hartley/Stafford thread. Also, you say you are unconvinced, but then you offer absolutely no examples to back up your view. Surely you can cite a few examples from the discussion that will illustrate why you side with Hartley? What I mean is, to be credible, a person usually says, “I do not agree with you BECAUSE. . . .” and then some examples or proof are given. For examples of why I do not agree with Hartley, I offer the following:

 

 

QUOTES FROM DISCUSSION

 

 

HARTLEY:
I am aware that this subsequent critique will be met with the often yet meaningless phrases, "He has completely misunderstood . . . ." or "He is totally confused . . . ." et al. But the truth of the matter is quite to the contrary.

 

STAFFORD:
To which Hartley replied:

 

HARTLEY
Now, the facade Stafford wishes to advance is the notion that he remains open minded and others who disagree with him, if they have reached conclusions opposite from his own, are somehow recalcitrant or reading later theology into the text. It is ironic how this later theology is always Trinitarian rather than Arian.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
That is not it at all. The fact is Hartley is the one who characterized my forthcoming reply when he had not even read it! That is not an open-minded person, is it? Nowhere do I say anything implying that a disagreement with me is tantamount to reading your theology into the text. There are a number of legitimate possibilities in the realm of biblical theology, but Trinitarianism is not one of them.

 

It directly contradicts clear and repeated confessions of faith found in the Scriptures, and those who advocate the doctrine of the Trinity are forced to redefine a wide variety of terms to make room for the particulars of their theology. The language employed is, to a large extent, borrowed from post-biblical authors and councils, and the concepts are nowhere articulated in Scripture. These and other facts are what mark Hartley's theology as post-biblical.

 

Another point that Hartley seems stuck on is my relationship to Arianism. What Hartley seems unwilling to accept is that I do not hold to the tenets of Arianism (at least not as they have been preserved by Trinitarians!), and I do not use that label for my beliefs. HE is the one who brands me as such! Yet, he will proudly call himself a "Trinitarian." So why should I use Arianism to describe a theology that is read back into the text when I do not make claim to such a theology, and neither does Hartley?

 

ANOTHER QUOTE

 

HARTLEY:
The probabilities that the singular count noun theos in John 1:1c is Q or I-Q is mentioned in the article. The semantic category Stafford wishes for is simply statistically improbable for singular count nouns in John's Gospel (56% Q, 17% I, 17% I-Q, and 11% D).

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
Hartley frequently misuses his statistical analysis in his thesis. And he does so again here. First of all, remember, his statistics and percentages are based on HIS understanding of the sense of the count/mass noun in question. A notable example of Hartley's attempts to bend the semantics of a term to fit his preferred classification is the proper name "Elijah" in Mark 6:15 and John 1:21, where the grammatical construction is HLIAS ESTIN/EI.

You would think that the translation would be, "It is Elijah"/"Are you Elijah?" But Hartley argues, "the Jews were expecting an Elijah-like figure to appear based upon Old Testament texts." He then refers to Malachi 4:5 which says nothing about an "Elijah-like figure," but straightforwardly states, "I am sending to you people Elijah the prophet."

Hartley has to go outside the context of both Mark 6:15 and John 1:21 to statements made by an angel (Luke 1:17) and Jesus (Matthew 11:14) and try to link these with an alleged Jewish view concerning an "Elijah-like figure." But Jesus' statement does not hint at any "likeness"; indeed, had any NT passage made such an equation of Jesus as Jehovah similar to that which Jesus makes between John the Baptist and Elijah, do you think Hartley would travel the exegetical path of "likeness" or ontological identity?

 

As for Jewish ideas associated with Elijah, one gets the feeling that Hartley is so intent on proving a particular (Q) sense for PN-V count nouns, even when they are proper names (!), that he would use his thesis as a basis for speculation concerning Jewish eschatology, speculation that flies in the face of the facts. Indeed, that is precisely what he does! There is no evidence that the Jews were expecting a "Elijah-like figure." (Even later Christian interpolations into Jewish literature of the first to the fourth centuries CE contains expectations concerning the literal coming of Elijah [see the fourth chapter of the Apocalypse of Elijah].) There certainly is no such thing in Sirach 48:1-12. Nor do we find any such lingering tradition in the Targums or the Mishnah.

 

In fact, if the use of HLIAS EI by the Jews in John 1:21 was meant to be understood in reference to an "Elijah-like figure," then how is it that John could rightly have DENIED being such, OUK EIMI? Clearly John understood the Jews' use of HLIAS to be in reference to the Elijah of old, not to one who simply had qualities like him, which John certainly did have. Thus, Jesus could say, "Elijah has already come" (Matthew 17:12).

 

Hartley finally concedes that the Q classification is not right for HLIAS in the aforementioned PN-V texts, but he still believes (thesis, page 61) that his reasoning shows that it is not "as far fetched as would first seem"!

Other examples where Hartley's opinion overrides good judgement include Luke 7:39, hAMARTOLOS ESTIN, which Hartley says is "qualitative and not indefinite." Since I discuss the short-comings in his reasoning on this passage in my second edition, I will defer to my discussion there rather than repeat myself here. I also discuss John 6:63, John 8:48 and his claim that the count noun NYMPHIOS is definite in John 3:29 and his discussion of Acts 10:36, Mark 11:32 and other passages, in relation to Hartley's thesis.

 

 

ONE MORE QUOTE

 

Hartely states:

 

HARTLEY:
In other words that John 1:14 indubitably points to the idea that Jesus is a human being is an inference based on the passage. But the passage does not state it in those terms. It simply states Jesus became "flesh" or "human." The fact that the noun is mass, the construction is Colwell's, and that it is discourse related chiastically to John 1:1c, all converge to indicate a purely qualitative semantic to both nouns "God" and "flesh"). To state Jesus is "a man" because "flesh" signals this direction is a fair deduction in the long run-but that is an extralingual inference.

The only reason we know Jesus was "a man" from "flesh" is simply because we know of an existing group having that characteristic. We know there are other men or humans. Thus if Jesus is human, he must necessarily be a human. But Stafford goes further and insists that the noun is to be regarded as I-Q (Q-I) because of this semantic signaling. This kind of maneuver runs into problems and cannot be worked out practically with all mass nouns. For example, "God is love" would signal "God is a love." This is absurd. But it is not simply the fact that this procedure cannot be applied universally to all mass nouns so much as it is a methodologically flawed adventure.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
The problem with Hartley's response is that he assumes that the semantic signaling of lexemes, in this case mass nouns, must be consistently employed regardless of reference, when in fact reference (usage) is the key in determining the proper means of classification; the reference, and the rest of the context, helps reveal the semantic signaled by the particular use of a particular lexical form. What Hartley does is assume a certain classification for terms and then he seeks to attach a SENSE to that term, creating a variety of categories and sub-categories in the process. But in doing so he, many times, simply ignores the fact that the context is what tells us what kind of lexeme we have; it does not simply tells us the sense of the particular lexeme.

 

It does do that, of course, but in so doing it tells us what type of noun we have. By looking only at the form of the word and assuming certain lexical categorizations BEFORE his analysis begins, and by not looking at the concept signaled by the term in its context and using that to determine its proper lexical tagging (which would also convey its semantic), Hartley is forced to conclude regarding my comments on John 1:14, "But the passage does not state it in those terms." In fact, that is precisely what is tells us, when you consider the reference.

 

Consider the use of "flesh" (SARX) in Galatians 5:19. Here the noun is clearly used a mass term that relates to the sin at work in mankind. It is not literally referring to our composition, but the corrupting influence at work inside each one of us, due to our fallen nature. Here it cannot be interpreted in the plural, and its reference is not to any one person, but to all humans in general. But an entirely different semantic is signaled in John 1:14! The Word is the subject and he is said to have become "flesh." What other semantic could possibly be signaled that does not at the same time convey the idea that he became "a human being"?

 

Since humans are not the only creature composed of flesh we could use "human" in 1:14, but "flesh" itself is not restricted to "humanity," and so the signal (SARX) coupled with the REFERENCE (hO LOGOS) is what tells us that we are talking about a human being. Thus, USAGE warrants that SARX in John 1:14 be classified as Q-I, which I view as a count noun with a primarily qualitative emphasis. That is to say, the term is used to emphasize the type of being Jesus has become, in contrast to the type of being he was. For Hartley or anyone else to restrict the matter to lexemic factors is circular for how does he conclude in the first place that a particular lexeme is mass or count, if not by usage?

 

Notice the trouble Hartley has with his next example:

 

HARTLEY:
Applying this procedure to other mass nouns illustrates its absurdity. "The stone became bread" does not mean "The stone became a bread." Neither would it be correct to infer that if several stones became bread that therefore one cannot have bread but breads.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
This is strange, for Hartley previously identified my "procedure" as that which is based on the semantic signal of a word, and yet in the above example he uses a word that signals itself, i.e., the reference does not require that we take "bread" as meaning anything but "bread." There is no other image that need come to mind, but will Hartley hold that SARX in John 1:14 can legitimately be taken to signal flesh and flesh alone, that is, without form or figure?

Additionally, you will notice that Hartley is comparing apples to oranges. (Actually, the comparison is not even that close!) John 1:14 uses a mass term in reference to a PERSON, while Hartley's example has the mass term used in reference to impersonal STONES. What is more, Hartley fails to notice that while "a bread" and "breads" might sound strange, "a loaf of bread" and "loaves of bread" are perfectly acceptable inferences!

 

Indeed, Matthew's account uses the plural ARTOI and Luke's account uses the singular ARTOS. So Hartley's classification of ARTOS/ARTOI as Q-D (thesis, page 53-54) is not safe at all. In fact, it is short-sighted. The Greeks had no trouble using "breads," to use Hartley's terminology, but this is due to the particular semantic signaled by the lexeme. Had Hartley simply read the NWT translation of these passages he might have been better prepared to address the issue of semantic signaling.

 

But Hartley does not seem to understand what is involved in taking a particular word as signaling one semantic when used with a certain referent, and another semantic when used for a different referent. He argues:

 

HARTLEY:
"The man became silver" does not mean "The man became a silver." Nor would it be correct to infer that if several men became silver that therefore we are left with silvers. "The chair is furniture" does not mean "The chair is a furniture." It would be a silly notion to infer from a room full of chairs, tables and foot stools that we have a room full of furnitures or that each one demands an indefinite article-a furniture." The liquid is coffee" does not mean "The liquid is a coffee."

 

Nor would it be sound at a dinner party with a room full of different blends or brands of coffee for the guests to refer to the room as "a room full of coffees" but simply as the coffee room or the room with all sorts of coffee. The latter idea is an example of limiting a mass noun by an ammassive. "The house is concrete" does not mean "The house is a concrete." Nor would several homes made of concrete demand that we understand the homes are concretes. By concrete we mean "made of concrete." No amount of "semantic signaling" changes the fact of the semantic notion of mass nouns.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
No one here is "demanding" that an indefinite article be used. That is Hartley once again missing the point and adding his own words to my side of the argument. Still, it is not difficult to imagine a grammatical context where the above terms have a count sense:

  1. "The man became silver" could easily signal, "The man became a piece/statue/block/etc. of silver."

  2. "The chair is furniture" could easily signal, "The chair is a piece of furniture." The chair is an instance of what we call "furniture." It has the qualities/nature of furniture, but because there are other instances of furniture it is and MUST BE considered "a" piece of furniture.

 

If the meaning of the above examples, per the reference/context, reveals a count use of the terms, then the nouns are count nouns, not mass!

 

What I find interesting is that Hartley tries to make light of the semantic I attach to the term "flesh" in John 1:14 by using the above examples (as in "coffees," "concretes," etc.) in a plural form. But I am not suggesting that "fleshes" (!) is acceptable in view of the semantic it signals.

 

What I am saying is that the Bible makes clear use of "flesh" in reference to individual humans, and collections of humans. Consider the use of SARX in the LXX of Genesis 6:13, or its use in Romans 3:20. Will anyone question that these are references, not to the "stuff" called "flesh," but to human beings? But when we consider Paul's use of SARX in 1 Corinthians 15:39 or the use of SARX in Revelation 19:18, then it becomes clear that we are in fact dealing with the "stuff," not with people.

 

But even in 1 Corinthians we can see a count sense for flesh in that we have different "types" of flesh: 1) bird flesh, 2) human flesh, 3) fish flesh, etc. We find the plural form of SARX in Revelation 19, again showing different types of flesh, though it also makes a distinction between the flesh of different ranks of humans.

In his thesis (pages 1-3) Hartley states that his methodology involves both descriptive and structural linguistics. But what does one do when a conflict arises between the two? If the usage of the term conveys a semantic that is not discernable by the grammar of the text due to the idiomatic semantic associated with the term/expression by the author/reader of the source, then what does Hartley intend to do? He wrote:

 

HARTLEY:
A key to the whole thesis is the understanding of the semantics of mass nouns-and I hate to repeat myself but here it is again-is that mass nouns cannot be indefinitized nor semantically pluralized. Thus the noun is always qualitative (Q) without the possibility of indefiniteness being included at all-thus labeled Q-d. And yes the result of this does cast considerable doubt if not completely dismantles the argument put forth in Stafford's book.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
Not only does the above NOT 'dismantle' anything in my book, but, again, Hartley is simply refusing to accept the semantics of the term so he can continue to claim that mass nouns cannot be "indefinitized nor semantically pluralized."

 

Hartley also argued:

 

HARTLEY:
To state Jesus is "a man" because "flesh" signals this direction is a fair deduction in the long run-but that is an extralingual inference. The only reason we know Jesus was "a man" from "flesh" is simply because we know of an existing group having that characteristic. We know there are other men or humans. Thus if Jesus is human, he must necessarily be a human. But Stafford goes further and insists that the noun is to be regarded as I-Q (Q-I) because of this semantic signaling. This kind of maneuver runs into problems and cannot be worked out practically with all mass nouns. For example, "God is love" would signal "God is a love." This is absurd.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
Of course, Hartley's comparison of what an ABSTRACT mass noun might semantically signal and what a term like SARX might signal is absurd! What Hartley is here doing is ignoring the meaning of the term so he does not have to deal with it. Notice he refers to my point as a "fair deduction in the long run-but that is an extralingual inference"! Well just how long/far away from the term do we have to go to get the sense of it? Nowhere! It is a natural semantic bound up in the term itself, conveying a qualitative-indefinite sense in reference to a definite and personalistic subject (the Word) that is semantically singular. This semantic is REVEALED by the context.

Hartley also claims:

 

HARTLEY:
Furthermore, referring to the category of Q as I-Q (Q-I) is to completely ignore the differences between these two semantic ideas and thus to miss what the author had in mind. Certainly there is a difference between saying "John is human" (Q) and "John is a man" (I-Q or I). Qualities alone are emphasized (Q), qualities as well as individual within the group (Q-I) or simply an individual among a group with qualities in the background (I). It is an illegitimate totality transfer of the oddest sort to jump to the first sense (Q-d) through semantic signaling a Q-I (I-Q) category.

 

STAFFORD-RESPONSE:
How is it so great a jump to take the semantic conveyed by a term, as revealed by the context, and convey that semantic in translation? If that is what the term MEANS, then it is inherently bound up with an indefinite sense in this particular instance. To deny it this sense is indeed odd. I do not share your hardened view of six categories.

Even if we were to say that the sense of "human" is in view the fact that it has reference to a semantically singular, personalistic subject who is but one of many instances of humanity necessarily involves a sense of indefinitness per the grammatical (semantically singular, personalistic subject) and idiomatic (concepts bound up with the historical and current use of the term SARX) context. There is no need to "jump" at all; you just have to let all the facts in, and refrain from a selective use of them.

Hartley has also grossly misunderstood my remarks about reading his theology into the text, as if I meant this in reference his entire study!

 

END OF QUOTES FROM ONLINE DISCUSSION WITH HARTLEY

 

 

I actually have reason to believe that Hartley is a dishonest person (see below). I did not reveal every problem with his thesis in my online discussion with him; rather, I saved some material for my book. In it I highlight several problems with Hartley’s thesis, including his mishandling of the PN in Luke 7:39.

 

In this text a Pharisee observes the treatment given to Jesus by a woman whom he considers "a sinner" (hamartolos esitn). Hartley believes that this example is "clearly qualitative." He reasons: "That this last example is qualitative and not indefinite is brought out further by the preceding clause, If he were a prophet (i.e., exercising prophetic abilities) he would have known what kind of woman this was who touched him, that she is sinful. The kind of woman she was is answered by the predicate construction, she was sinful" (Hartley, 62)

 

But Hartley’s conclusion is based primarily on a misquotation of Luke 7:39, which he translates above, in accordance with his misquotation. Though Hartley’s translation only has the Pharisee reflecting on "what kind of woman" she is, the text actually has the Pharisee thinking, "If this man were a [or ‘the’] prophet he would have known who [tis] and what kind of woman [kai potape he gune] is touching him, that she is a sinner." Because Hartley ignores the reference to who she is (there are no variants that omit tis) and focuses only on what kind of woman she is, he can give the impression that his switch from a noun ("a sinner") to an adjective ("sinful") is justified per the context. Obviously, "sinful" does not answer the question concerning who the woman is. Hartley’s attempt to obfuscate this point by omitting relevant portions of the text from his translation is alarming, to say the least. In fact, I would say it is a sign of dishonesty. Yet, this is the person with whom you take sides, for obvious doctrinal reasons.

 

 

 

{{I would also refer interested readers to the works of Harner, Wallace, and Dixon, all of whom disprove your contention regarding the indefinite nuance, despite any "interaction" you may have had with them.

 

 

 

Not quite. In fact, not at all. I have shown conclusively how they have not done any such thing, while you are reduced to mere assertions, repeating what other Trinitarians tell you, as if this somehow qualifies as an argument. Consider:

 

 

 

{{Once again, you demonstrate a predilection for blurring the distinction between "indefinite" and "qualitative." Even if you are right, and the indefinite force is the most prominent in John's writings, this does nothing to substantiate the NWT's rendering of John 1:1, which you and the WT insist is qualitative.

 

 

 

Again you fail to demonstrate an accurate knowledge of the issues about which you make dogmatic assertions. I have argued in the first and second editions of my book, the first of which you have apparently not bothered to read, at least not carefully, that there is NO definitive means by which one can ESTABLISH the primary nuance of the PN. If NWT takes it as primarily qualitative based on the findings of Harner, then so be it. They also (and here is where your argument falls shortl) recognize the clear indefinite implications of the context, since the Word is with "God," not "God the Father the first person of a consubstantial Triad." There is no need to redefine the "God" with whom the Word was so that it fits with your predilection for blurring the truth about the Word and the God with whom he was. Since you do not recognize that the basis behind the qualitative and the indefinite meaning given to "a god" in NWT, by the translators, you cannot help but commit error after error.

 

 

 

{{With regard to the passages mentioned, I will "interact" briefly with them as you request, though by doing so, I would ask that you reciprocate and answer my request to provide a list of scholars whose credentials we can verify, who endorse the NWT translation of John 1:1. Of the passages you mention, I believe only one is indisputably indefinite (10:1).

 

 

 

I do not care who thinks what about NWT, but only about what can be proven based on historical, linguistic and contextual facts, I have listed several scholars above who share the same or a similar view of the predicate in 1:1c. Now, let's take a look at your interaction with the passages I mentioned:

 

 

 

{{4:19 - Q-I Wallace says this may also be purely indefinite, but I believe he's correct in his assessment that the qualitative nuance is present as well.

 

 

Here you show your loyalty to a Trinitarian scholar's conclusion, but you quote nothing, either from his work or your own, to SUBSTANTIATE this view. Wallace "says" and you "believe." Let me explain.

 

First, there is nothing to suggest that the noun "prophet" means anything other than "a prophet" when used of Jesus, a singular, personalistic subject. Just WANTING it to have some qualitative sense so that it can be viewed somewhat in relation to your preferred views about PNs in the preverbal position does not cut it. 

 

 

In John 4:19 the Samaritan woman says to Jesus, "I perceive you are a prophet." (NWT) Wallace believes this verse offers "the most likely candidate of an indefinite pre-verbal PN [predicate nominative] in the NT" (Wallace, Greek Grammar, 265). However, he also notes that the woman "seems to be focusing on the attributes of a prophet, rather than merely listing Jesus as a member of that class" (Ibid., 266). Notice: Wallace gives not proof for what "seems" to be happening. Nor does he demonstrate how, even if this were the case, that it would remove the clearly indefinite implications of a singular count noun used of a singular personal subject. As for the emphasis, this is where the whole matter becomes quite subjective. Did the woman perceive (theoreo) that Jesus was a prophet and that he, therefore, possessed the qualities of a prophet, or did she perceive that he had the attributes of a prophet, and was, therefore, a prophet? It is simply a matter of emphasis, and that emphasis is not always easy to detect, though the fronting of the PN is clearly designed to HIGHLIGHT the PN, not change it into an adjective or give it a purely Q sense. That stems from an attempt to read one's theology into the PN of John 1:1, and then perform a similar act in other texts, where no one would likely object to the use of an adjective (like "sinful" for "a sinner," since "a sinner" is indeed "sinful" [see above for my comments on your abuse of the text using this PN]). But regardless of how it is viewed, the noun in this instance does not lose either its qualitative or its indefinite aspect (compare Joh 9:17). That is what Trinitarians need to make happen: Lose the indefiniteness and definiteness of the noun and stick it with a purely Q sense. Of course, they must do this not only with the PN in John 1:1, but for EACH AND EVERY TEXT that uses "God" of the Father or the Son, for they cannot have either one of them being called "God" without qualification, and they are more than willing to add the proper qualification, namely, "God the Father/Son the first/second person of the consubstantial Trinity." Sorry, but we will not allow that to happen. If you choose to ignore reality and live in a world of make-believe, then that is up to you, but please do not expect us to accept this truly self-serving attempt to redefine the PN in the preverbal position just so you can THINK you have succeeded in reading portion of your post-biblical view of God and Christ into the text.

 

 

 

{{6:70 - D Again, I follow Wallace; there is only one devil, therefore diabolos is monadic. If diabolos is indefinite here, it is the only case in the NT.

 

 

No surprise in your following Wallace, especially since neither of you seem to have even considered that "devil" here does not mean one who is ontological equal to Satan, or even a "devil" in the same sense that he is a "devil." You also use your premise as your conclusion, and thus present a circular argument: There is only one devil so John 6:70 cannot be saying there is more than one devil. Excuse me, but WHERE does the OT or the NT say there is "only one devil"? Also, as I said, how is it that neither you nor Wallace can see that DIABOLOS does not have to mean "devil" in this verse, but can quite legitimately mean "slanderer"? (NWT) Thus, since Judas is a singular, personalistic subject, and since a singular personalistic substantive is used of him, it can only mean he is "a slanderer" or "slanderous," which would necessarily label him as one of those who slander, and thus retain its proper indefinite semantic, which follows quite reasonably from the fact that this is predicated of a singular, personalistic  subject.

 

 

 

{{8:34 - D-Q "the slave/servant of sin," as in the NASB, KJV - flanked by a genitive qualifier, which tends to make the noun definite, yet it retains some qualitative features- matches (stylistically) the definite ho de doulos in the next verse. }}

 

 

 

The genitive THS hAMARTIAS need not have any such semantic effect, which is no doubt why D and Clement chose to omit the genitive expression entirely. The fact that the NASB and the KJV fail to properly capture the sense of the text should not be any reason for you to do the same. Did you so conveniently fail to notice the use of PAS, referring to each person? If there is more than one who can be characterized as DOULOS  THS hAMARTIAS then an indefinite sense fits far better with the passage than a definite one, involving the use of "the." EACH person who is hO POIWN THN hAMARIAN is each each DOULOS THS hAMARTIAS. They are not EACH "the" slave of sin, but "a" slave of sin, as there are in fact many. Thus, the PN in the Colwell construct clearly involves a salient indefinite semantic, missed in large part by those who have a certain predilection for bending the semantics in a different direction. We see the same thing in your comments on the remaining examples:

 

 


{{8:44c - Q-I Context demands more than the simple indefinite, both here and in the next verse, as Jesus says: "whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks
{{8:44g - Q-I from his own nature/out of his own things" (NASB/Marshall's literal translation).

 

 

That you had the nerve to even offer the above comments for this discussion is startling, and alarming. How, Mr. Hommel, does  "whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks" and " from his own nature/out of his own things" support "more than the simple indefinite"? Also, who ever said anything about a "simple" indefinite? Please stop adding words to the discussion, and misleading others about my view in the process.

 

"Devil" is a reference to a singular, personalistic subject, who is not the only ANTHRWPOKTONOS nor the only PSEUSTHS. There is, to be sure, an emphasis on these two substantives, which is why they are fronted, but their application to a singular subject who is not the only one of whom these terms of personal description are rightly predicated, quite naturally leads to an indefinite semantic, with an emphasis on the term used. Indeed, in 1 John 3:15 we again meet with the PAS + hO + participle, where the PN ANTHRWPOKTONOS is again fronted, where ANTHRWPOKTONOS is clearly indefinite in view of the first use of PAS and the second hOTI PAS ANTHRWPOKTONOS OUK ECHEI ZWHN AIWNION.

 

 

 

{{8:48 - Q Rather clear case. The Jews knew Jesus was not "a" Samaritan, but were accusing him of acting like one.

 

 

(!) I am sorry, Mr. Hommel, but WHO did you say Jesus was "acting like"? :-)

 

 

 

{{9:17 - Q-I See 4:19. The context - how Jesus can cure the blind man - speaks to Jesus' nature as well as his being "a" prophet. }}

 

 

 

See above on your mishandling of 4:19. The same applies here, only even you have to accept some indefinite semantic, which is clear since the PN is applied to a singular personalistic subject. There is nothing to support a different view of the predicate from the context. Did you have something specific in mind?

 

 


{{9:24 - Q "We know that this man sinful is," Marshall.
{{9:25 - Q "If sinful he is," Marshall. }}

 

 

 

Marshall? Why are you citing Marshall? Does he argue somewhere that the PN is not indefinite in these texts? If so, what evidence does he offer? If the singular personalistic subject is sinful, it is because he is "a" sinner. You cannot detach the qualities from the singular subject who owns those qualities, thus making him, in the minds of his enemies, one of those who is rightly considered "a sinner." How do you run from the NASB to the KJV to Marshall? Is it becoming harder for you to find English texts that you think support your view? Your mishandling these texts in a feeble attempt to further your preconceived view is increasingly obvious, and disheartening, though not unexpected based what you have written to date, on other, related matters.  For example:

 

 

 

{{9:28a - Q "You are His/this fellow's disciple." NASB, NIV.}}

 

 

 

Again, why should you be so easily stumbled by English translations that simply reword the translation so that the indefiniteness of the PN is not evident? Even in these translations, though, it is discernable. There is absolutely nothing to prevent the rather natural translation, "Are you a disciple of that one?" There is no way for you to read a purely Q sense into this, or any other PN, so you simply try to hide behind translations that you misconstrue to support your view. Why? Because you have already made up your mind; you are not LOOKING for truth.

 

 

 

{{10:1 - I Same semantic force as Anabasis1.4.6 }}

 

 

 

Indeed: an indefinite PN with emphasis on the PN conveyed by fronting. Of course, in 10:1, unlike Anabasis 1.4.6, we are dealing with a singular (EKEINOS) personalistic term, and so there is no question about the indefinite semantic. You have also not provided any 'interaction' with the text to demonstrate your view. At least you make an attempt to do so in the next two examples:

 

 


{{10:2 - D-Q The analogy Jesus is drawing between "a" thief (one of many, cf., v. 8) and himself as "the" Good Shepherd (v. 11), suggests a definite
force (as the NIV). Like 8:34, flanked by a genitive qualifier. As D-M points out "a prepositional phrase usually implies some idea quality,"
(p. 150), so the qualitative nuance is further emphasized.

 

 

 

Regarding 10:1, what analogy are you talking about? Both KLEPTHS and LHSTHS are anarthrous, the former preceding the copula and the latter following it, both being applied to a singular personalistic subject. There is nothing to suggest any difference in emphasis or "force" between the pre- and post- copulative term. Again, you are going to have to do much more than reference an English translation that you construe as support for your view.

 

I tend to agree that 10:2 might be definite, in view of the fixed reference to Jesus discernable from the context, but that does not help your point, namely, to show how the PN can be purely Q, neither definite nor indefinite, as both nuances disprove your view of John 1:1, regardless of any emphasis on the qualities conveyed by the PN.

 

No one is denying the "idea" of quality, Mr. Hommel. That you would mention this here seems to further indicate that you do not understand the nature of the argument. Let me help you out a bit. Consider the adverbial-circumstantial participle. When so used, the participle's adverbial aspect is highlighted or emphasized, but the adjectival aspect of the participle is not lost. Does this help you understand how the qualities of the NOUN can be emphasized but the fact that it is a noun is not to be lost? Even if we choose to emphasize the qualities of the noun by rendering the noun (say, THEOS) as an adjective ("divine"), when used of a singular personalistic subject it is still either definite or indefinite: if he or she is "divine" he or she is "God" or "a god," for only God or a god can be divine! The only exception would be if the adjective is used figuratively. 

 

 

 

 

{{10:13 - Q-I Context demands the qualitative nuance - He flees because he is a hireling. }}

 

 

 

Whether or not the qualities of the noun are emphasized (and I agree that they are, hence, the fronting of the PN) the noun is still a noun, and thus either definite or indefinite. Again, I do not believe you properly understand the issues. As even you give an indefinite semantic, here.

 

 

{{10:36 - D "The Son of God." NASB. Consistent with the context and John's usage. }}

 

 

 

Probably. But there still is no way to prove whether the reference is definite or indefinite. Jesus could very well be claiming to be one of God's Sons, ESPECIALLY in view of his reference to Psalm 82 in verse 34, which Psalm speaks of those called "gods" being "sons of the Most High." Again, the reference is either definite or indefinite, and the qualities or sense of the noun "Son" are emphasized by the fronting of the PN.

 

 

 

{{12:6 - Q-I See 10:13 - He said this because he was a thief. }}

 

 

 

Good, I am glad you agree with the indefinite sense. Were you trying to make an argument for some other?

 

 

 

[<"Rarely," did you say, Mr. Hommel?

{{This is the conclusion of the scholars I have mentioned, and I believe the evidence well supports it. Claims of subjectiveness or theological bias, of course, can be made on both sides. Again, I invite interested readers to examine the evidence and make up their own minds.}}

 

 

 

All you have done is prove my point, probably without even knowing or understanding what that point is!

 

You have attempted to prove a point (though you use language that argues against your own view!) that is merely the conclusion of Trinitarian scholars who share your Trinitarian view of John 1:1, and who are arguing for a particular semantic that will allow them to read Trinitarianism into the PN of John 1:1c., since it quite clearly, being either definite or indefinite, regardless of the emphasis resulting from fronting, disproves your view.

 

You have no evidence and that is why your comments above, the few that you did offer, have no weight behind them. They either miss the point or are forced into an absurd conclusion since you ultimately have to do what cannot be done, namely, take away the noun's definite or indefinite semantic. The issue of emphasis is very subjective, and to suggest that it is not underscores your lack of reasonableness in understanding this issue. Any interested reader who impartially and without regard to any preconceived view accepts your invitation and looks at the evidence will see, with little difficulty, precisely what is happening on both sides. I invite you to accept your own invitation, as I doubt you have done so, even though you have had ample opportunity, as we have seen from your interaction with the above texts.

 

 

 

[<Also, again, do not forget to provide examples from Xenophon to support your assertions regarding the semantics of the preverbal PN in his writings, as compared with John. For example, I could cite Anabasis 1.4.6 or Anabasis 1.1.9 as examples of preverbal PNs with an indefinite semantic, but now I am doing your homework for you, since you are apparently unwilling or unable to document your point about alleged differences in the semantics of the preverbal PN in Xenophon and John. >]

{{Oh, I'm quite willing to concede that Xenophon may be loaded with examples of indefinite PNs. So what? The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a preponderance of indefinite PNs in Attic Greek has any bearing on the statistical probability that the PN in John 1:1c is qualitative. }}

 

 

 

Your (rather amazing) claim was:

 

<<Dr. Mantey also knew that Xenophon wrote in Attic Greek, making the semantic force of emporion even less useful as a "parallel" with a predicate nominative in John's usage. Statistical analyses have shown that in the Koine Greek of the NT (and, more specifically of the fourth Gospel), preverbal anarthrous predicate nominatives in copulative sentences are rarely indefinite (Harner, Wallace, and Dixon). >>

 

 

Now, you not only presume to know what Dr. Mantey knew, but you claim that the Attic of Xenophon makes "the semantic force of emporion even less useful as a 'parallel' with a predicate nominative in John's usage." How do you know? Have you read through all the books of the Anabasis? Did you do so prior to making this claim? Why was it so easy for me to get you to " concede that Xenophon may be loaded with examples of indefinite PNs"?

 

You see, Mr. Hommel, the problem is you are not willing to objectively look at the facts, and without reading the material yourself and analyzing the data, you make concessions just so you can try to prove your preconceived views. You are not interested in fact-finding. How do you know that Xenophon does not have more examples of purely Q PNs (though such things do not exist [but to you they do!])? If you do not know this, not having analyzed the data from Xenophon, then how can you conclude that the Attic of Xenophon makes "the semantic force of emporion even less useful as a 'parallel' with a predicate nominative in John's usage"? Maybe it is VERY much parallel to John's usage, but you will never know this until you check the facts for yourself and do some objective research. Of course, it is too late know, for your motives and handling of these issues have already been exposed as naive and tendentious. This is not a personal attack at all. It is a legitimate conclusion based on the way you conduct yourself, and make claims about things you have not even considered.

 

 

 

{{To clarify: I do not dispute that the indefinite force (or any other) is present in anarthrous PNs in extra-Biblical Greek literature of all ages.}}

 

 

 

Why not? What is it that makes you "not" dispute it?

 

 

 

{{ I am not alleging a "difference in the semantics of the preverbal PN," but rather (generally) that the semantic force of one preverbal PN cannot be used to substantiate the same semantic force in another - even if both are in the same dialect, or even by the same author; and (specifically) since Koine and Attic are different dialects and have demonstrable differences in style and syntax, it seems logical that there would also be differences in the statistical distribution of semantic forces in anarthrous PNs. }}

 

 

 

Sorry, but since you do not give even one example to support this claim, it is but another example of very poor scholarship. REFOCUS: You have given no proof at all for anything you have said in relation to the PNs of the Bible or extra-biblical literature. Frankly, I cannot believe I have countenanced your behavior and lack of professionalism for so long. It will end soon, I promise you, unless you make a dramatic recovery.

 

I have given two examples from Attic (and I have MANY others) that show a consistency with John's use of the PN in reference to singular subjects. I contend that when these subjects are personalistic, there is absolutely no way to remove the definite or indefinite semantic from the noun. I do not even see how this could be done in reference to singular non-personal subjects (such as "a market"), but I am not about to make such a claim because I have not examined enough of the non-personal examples to be sure.

 

 

 

{{I freely admit that I am unaware of any statistical analyses that demonstrate that Xenophon's usage (or style) in this regard differs from John's.}}

 

 

 

Exactly. Then why did you say, "<<Dr. Mantey also knew that Xenophon wrote in Attic Greek, making the semantic force of emporion even less useful as a "parallel" with a predicate nominative in John's usage. Statistical analyses have shown that in the Koine Greek of the NT (and, more specifically of the fourth Gospel), preverbal anarthrous predicate nominatives in copulative sentences are rarely indefinite (Harner, Wallace, and Dixon). >>

Are you prepared to apologize for making things up in relation to what Dr. Mantey "knew" and your irresponsible comments on regarding EMPORION being "even less useful as a 'parallel' with a predicate nominative in John's usage"? If not, then I do not think you are being honest, and the conversation will be finished.

 

 

 

{{ However, Don Hartley has shown that John's style (with regard to the semantics of anarthrous PNs) differs from the NT as a whole. Thus, we have a demonstrable difference between writers in the same dialect. }}

 

 

Again, you make no specific reference to Hartley's study so that I can examine the specific issues raised by Hartley, on which you depend so greatly. At this point, you have presented a non-argument in support of " a demonstrable difference between writers in the same dialect."

 

 

 

{{More importantly, the grammatical and lexical differences between Attic and Koine are well known. Milligan writes: "Alike in Vocabulary and Grammar the language of the New Testament exhibits striking dissimilarities from Classical Greek" (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, p. xi). Bauer writes: "[Koine] is not the Greek of more ancient times, least of all that of the Golden Age of Athens....A comparison reveals, on the contrary, differences in phonology and morphology, in syntax and style, and, not least of all, in the vocabulary as well" (BAG, p. xi, emphasis added). Therefore, I believe there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to assert what I do in the very next sentence:}}

 

 

 

How is that 'more important'? I have never disputed this, though you do not give any examples, only quotes! OF COURSE there are differences between Classical and Koine Greek, but there are also many similarities, which you fail to mention. One of those similarities is that they both use NOUNS and ADJECTIVES. You have done absolutely nothing to show that the NT can use the same construction as we find in Classical literature, namely, the fronting of a PN, where the NOUN becomes purely Q.

 

 

 

>>Thus, the WT is either being naïve or deceptive by suggesting that an indefinite predicate nominative in one Greek sentence (in an older dialect, no less) should be grammatical grounds for rendering a predicate nominative indefinite in another. <<

[< The deception or naivete comes from one who asserts a different semantic force for the predicate in Attic versus Koine when no such study has been offered to support such an assertion! The predicates in 1.4.6 and 1.1.9 are clearly indefinite, and being Attic does nothing to change this! The fact that the Johannine preverbal PNs also show a primarily indefinite sense in a great many instances and are written in Koine also does not affect the bottom line, which you continue to ignore. I have found a number of Patristic citations that exhibit a primarily indefinite semantic, also. So unless you can offer an acceptable analysis whereby Greek of different periods can be shown to differ from one another in the semantic force of anarthrous PNs preceding the copula, then your argument will remain circular. >]

{{Nowhere did I state that the semantic force "differs" from period to period. I am saying that Xenophon's language (dialect) was sufficiently different from John's that any tendency Xenophon may have had to favor indefinite PNs would in no way prove that John must have had the same tendency, even if the indefinite force was present in John 1:1c, which it isn't.}}

 

 

 

You have missed the whole point. You raised the issue of differences between Classical and Koine Greek as though they somehow nullified the argument that the use of the PN in the same (pre-copulative) construction means that they have the same sense, in each language.  I have given you two examples of where the indefinite is unmistakable, and I have shown that this same use in John's Gospel is unmistakable. You have, unwittingly, shown the same thing! Thus, the evidence presented by me to date, though small (I have much more, but there is no point in wasting it here, yet) has shown that the difference in language does not affect the sense of the PN at all. You have not brought forth even one example from Classical literature, nor have you demonstrated anything in support of your view of the PN in John. All you have done is repeat the subjective and doctrinally motivated conclusions of Trinitarian scholars, none of whom have proven that even one count-noun PN, when used of a singular personalistic subject, can be taken as purely Q, that is, not being either definite or indefinite. In the process some, like Hartley, have shown dishonest tendencies in their handling of the data (see examples above), which you conveniently ignore, or have not checked, for you, too, are doctrinally-motivated, not data-motivated, as we have seen from your willingness to concede and argue dogmatically about things in Xenophon that you have not even bothered to check for yourself.

 

 

 

A. We had no "rule" to argue in support of the trinity.
B. Neither did we state that we did have such intention. We were simply delineating the facts inherent in Biblical language. ]

[[Where, then, might we ask, do "the facts inherent in Biblical language" distinguish between the "person" (as distinct from "being") of Christ and the "person of the Father," which the grammar discusses on page 140? How does PROS TON THEON (John 1:1b) "point to" such a distinction, which is what the grammar claims?]]

>> Nowhere does Dr. Mantey argue that John 1:1 contains a full definition of the essential Trinity. >>

[< Interesting, for I did not say they "argue that John 1:1 contains a full definition of the essential Trinity"! Neither it nor any other verse in the Bible, or combination of verses for that matter, contains or articulates such a teaching. You have misquoted my point so that you don't have to deal with it. You will notice, though you apparently did not before, that I refer specifically to D-M page 140, where we read: "The use of THEOS in Jn. 1:1 is a good example. PROS TON THEON points to Christ's fellowship with the person of the Father; THEOS HN hO LOGOS emphasizes Christ's participation in the essence of the divine nature." In the paragraph just prior to this quotation, they also lean heavily upon their Trinitarian presuppositions, not grammar. So my point above remains untouched, and my question remains: How does PROS TON THEON (John 1:1b) "point to" such a distinction, which is what the grammar claims?>]

{{This is really quite amazing. You have taken an introductory remark, asserted that I attributed it to you, then attack me for it. You then go on to claim that I did not answer your question, when, in fact, the remainder of my comments (which you snipped) address your question directly. I paste them here for the convenience of our readers:

FROM MY ORIGINAL POST: }}

 

 

 

First, you did not specify whether you were making a general introductory comment or making a statement in reference to my comments, which you are supposed to be addressing. In view of your lack of specificity, and in view of the fact that you are supposed to be addressing what I wrote, I am fully justified in taking what you said as directed against my comments. If it was not, fine. But the fact remains, you completely avoided my observation, and the portion of your reply that I "snipped" had nothing to say on the matter, which is WHY I snipped it! Since you actually believe your words addressed my comments, let's take a closer look at what I said and what you said, and see if you have a just cause for complaint:

 

MY WORDS:

[[Where, then, might we ask, do "the facts inherent in Biblical language" distinguish between the "person" (as distinct from "being") of Christ and the "person of the Father," which the grammar discusses on page 140? How does PROS TON THEON (John 1:1b) "point to" such a distinction, which is what the grammar claims?]]

 

 

YOUR COMPLETE REPLY:
{{According to what Dr. Mantey says are the “facts inherent in Biblical language,” theos in John 1:1c means that the Logos was from all eternity, absolute Deity. }}

 

 

 

Right. But there is absolutely nothing in the text that means "the Logos was from all eternity." That is read into the text, as is his view of "absolute Deity," which is his way of importing a Trinitarian sense to the text.

 

 

 

{{In Dr. Mantey’s view, if there is only One God, and Word is fully God (as it is here and elsewhere proclaimed), the Word must be God.}}

 

 

 

You have it all wrong. If there is only one God, and if that God is triune, which is your and Mantey's view, then the Word was with the Trinity and was the Trinity. Do you see how you cannot avoid this conclusion without stripping the NOUN THEOS of its indefinite or definite sense in BOTH 1:1b and 1:1c? I do not believe you understand this point at all, so I ask you: Please reword my argument in YOUR OWN WORDS, so that we can see if you really understand what is going on here. If you fail to do so, then I can readily point out the errors you are making in restating my position, and then we will know for a certainty (though it is rather obvious already) that you problem lies with a failure to grasp the rather salient points of my argument, which I have stated numerous times.

 

 

 

 

{{ However, Dr. Mantey does not believe the grammar of John 1:1c implies modalism. }}

 

 

 

Why not? What is it, other than his preconceived view of God, about the text that HE believes argues against modalism? Let's see if you can answer this WITHOUT resorting to reading the text in light of Trinitarianism. I am tempted to guarantee that you will be forced to use post-biblical concepts relating to the "persons" of an alleged triune Godhead, as you do next:

 

 

 

{{For the definite theon in John 1:1b points (as all definite personal nouns do) to a specific person, while the qualitative theos in John 1:1c points to the essential nature of the Word (without specifying a particular person). }}

 

 

 

Here is where your position crumbles in several respects: 1) you are importing a post-biblical of "person" which you do not accept as a separate BEING, even though the text itself makes a distinction NOT in terms of "person" but in terms of BEING, namely, THEOS, of which YOU say there is only one! Well, then, Mr. Hommel, if, as you rightly point out, THEOS in 1:1b is definite, pointing to one's (not just a "person's") identity, then since THEOS is used, of which there is ONLY ONE, then that identity in 1:1b is the Trinity, for there is ONLY ONE THEOS! Do you understand this point? Please restate my argument so that we can see if you truly do or not.

 

Similarly, THEOS in 1:1c, being either definite or indefinite regardless of the emphasis ON the qualities of the NOUN due to the fronting of the PN, must either be a reference to the Trinity or to some other G-god. There is no other way you can take this without ripping the text apart and putting it back together according to a Trinitarian preconception, which forces you to make post-biblical distinctions (there is NOTHING about a distinction between "persons" in this text), and use post-biblical concepts relating to words such as "God" and "person" which are NOWHERE articulated in the Bible, not here, not in the OT and not in the NT.

 

 

 

{{Thus, the persons of the Trinity are “implied,” (not fully delineated) as Mantey says on page 149 of his Grammar;}}

 

 

 

There is no 'implication' of any such thing! There is mention of "God" and the "Word," and the fact that the Word was "with" this God and the Word was himself "a god." That is the only conclusion one can rightly reach on a plain reading of the text, in its grammatical and theological contexts. There is nothing anywhere to suggest anything about a Trinity of persons, and the fact that God and the Word are distinguished in terms of THEOS (not "person") proves quite conclusively to anyone without a post-biblical agenda that they are not the same THEOS. Whether you accept this or not really matters very little.

 

 

 

{{the person of the Father is not the same person as the Word (as would be the
case if John had used the article with theos in John 1:1c). }}

 

 

 

1) There is nothing about the "person" of the Father and the Word mentioned anywhere in this text. 2) The two are distinguished in ontological terms of THEOS. 3) How is it that John would have identified the Word as the "person" of the Father by using the article?

 

There, now do you see why I snipped your reply? It was a non-reply, and I decided not to repeat what I had already stated several times in my previous reply. I may very well do this very again, but please let me know if you insist on my discussing your mishandling of the text in those  portions of the text I omit, for rather innocent and time-efficient reasons.

 

 

 

<<He merely says that theos in John 1:1c must be translated "God," not "a god." >>

[< I am sorry, where does D-M say such a thing? >]

{{D-M doesn't. It appears in two sentences in Dr. Mantey's letter: "Our translation is in agreement with that ... of Barclay: 'The nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God'....theos in John 1:1 is not indefinite and should not be translated 'a god.'"}}

 

 

 

Okay, I took your comments in reference to D-M. Thus, since D-M makes no such statement then the WTS's use of D-M as "allowing" for the "a god" translation cannot be viewed in light of statements D-M made in their letter. We are supposed to be discussing Mantey's position as revealed in D-M in relation to the WTS's use of D-M, are we not?

 

 

 

<<Yet, if we fully engage the whole counsel of Scripture regarding the Unity of God, if we fully accept the claims made in the surrounding context of John's Gospel, if we apply the grammatical term "qualitative" properly, these two Persons must be One God, for they share the same Nature and attributes. Now, you may argue that the Bible does not portray God as multi-personal, but that is a different argument than saying the grammar of John 1:1 does not "imply" a personal distinction, while maintaining an ontological unity. >>

[< In order for the grammar to imply such a distinction, this distinction would have to be articulated SOMEWHERE in the Bible, preferably in the Gospel of John. But it is not, which is why you fail to cite any references for discussion of the point. You have to misapply the term qualitative to convey a Trinitarian sense that is nowhere articulated in the Bible. You have to take an ontological distinction (NOTE: John distinguishes the two in terms of THEOS, not PERSON) and change it into a "personal" one (which is itself devoid of an ontological distinction, but only in later Trinitarianism!) in order to fit with later theology. John does not do this, so neither do we.

{{I discuss these matters in detail later in my letter. With regard to a personal distinction, I've addressed this, above. The function of a definite personal article is to point to a specific PERSON.}}

 

 

 

What you mean is a specific "person" that is not a specific BEING, right? Thus, you once again interpret grammar in light of your preconceived view of God, and all the post-biblical baggage that comes with the Trinity doctrine. You are reading your view into the text, sir. REFOCUS: the noun used is THEOS; you say there is ONLY ONE THEOS; therefore, in 1:1b and in 1:1c the only BEING that could be in focus is the Trinity! Of course, that is if we assumed that Trinitarianism was a valid model for interpreting this verse, and for the very reason I just gave, it is not. The two are identified and DISTINGUISHED in term of THEOS, not person, and especially not "person" as understood by Trinitarians. So, your words above are meaningless in response to my point. Please reread what I wrote several times, and try again. How much clearer do I have to make it. Here is what you need to reread:

 

[< In order for the grammar to imply such a distinction, this distinction would have to be articulated SOMEWHERE in the Bible, preferably in the Gospel of John. But it is not, which is why you fail to cite any references for discussion of the point. You have to misapply the term qualitative to convey a Trinitarian sense that is nowhere articulated in the Bible. You have to take an ontological distinction (NOTE: John distinguishes the two in terms of THEOS, not PERSON) and change it into a "personal" one (which is itself devoid of an ontological distinction, but only in later Trinitarianism!) in order to fit with later theology. John does not do this, so neither do we.

 

 

{{ The qualitative theos in John 1:1c does not distinguish a person, but refers instead to nature, qualities, or attributes. }}

 

 

 

Wrong. The qualities of the NOUN (remember it is a NOUN, not an adjective such as THEIOS), are emphasized by fronting, but it is either indefinite or definite, as are ALL NOUNS! You are simply avoiding the issue, or you do not understand the issue, or you are denying reality. It appears that you are awestruck by folks such as Hartley and others, who are merely doing the same thing you are, namely, reading the text in light of their preconceived views, and denying the reality of the indefinite or definite nuance of the NOUN used in both 1:1b and 1:1c. Indeed, you have to make THEOS an adjective EVERYWHERE that it is used of any one of the three persons of the Godhead, for there is ONLY ONE GOD and according to you that one God is the Trinity. Therefore, you cannot use GOD of any one of the three "persons" of this triune God, WITHOUT EQUIVOCATING on the word "God," which is precisely what you DO do.

 

 

 

{{I deal with the meaning of "qualitative" rather extensively in my original post. To summarize here, a qualitative noun does not refer to "some" qualities, or "some" attributes; but rather to "all qualities or attributes."}}

 

 

 

You have done no such thing. Yes, it does refer to all the qualities of the NOUN, but the noun is either definite or indefinite. That is why it is called a NOUN and not an adjective! Even when we use an adjective like "divine" to translate THEOS, it still means either God or a god, for only God or a god can be "divine." Otherwise it is figurative and cannot be used to prove either view. This is really a very simply concept, but since you have to make the Bible fit with your view, and since that cannot be done, you will be in continuous turmoil over this issue, having solace only when you have convinced yourself that your preconceptions may legitimately replace the words in the text, which you must do in your interpretation (namely, "God" in 1:1b. becomes "God the Father the first person OF God"; THEOS in 1:c becomes "the second person OF God"; and in both reinterpretations "God" becomes the Trinity, the ONE GOD within whom hO THEOS of 1:1b and THEOS of 1:1c co-exist).

 

 

 

{{ Now, I agree that in all cases other than God, one person equals one Being.}}

 

 

 

Let's stop here for a moment. How can you not see that you are special pleading here? Where oh where does the Bible say anything about "person" meaning one thing for God and another for everyone else? Again, this is precisely why you will never get the point, for you absolutely cannot distance yourself from the preconception of the Trinity, and so there is no other view at which you can arrive than the Trinity, for it, and all the distinctions and definitions that come along with it, are assumed at the outset.

 

 

 

{{But here, John tells us that the Word was with God, and had all the qualities (attributes or nature) that God has.}}

 

 

You are only repeating yourself and forcing me to do the same. There really is no point in speaking with you further about this issue, and I can assure you that it will end soon. THINK: If John tells us that the Word was "with" God, and he does, then that God with whom the Word was MUST BE the Trinity, for there is, according to you, ONLY ONE GOD, the Trinity! Therefore, to say that the Word was with GOD, not simply the Father, would have to mean that the Word was with the Trinity, for there is ONLY ONE GOD, the Trinity, and the Word was with God! John does not use an adjective which would predicate only qualities of someone, but which would, by extension either identify that someone as a certain someone, or as someone who belongs to a group of other who share these qualities. Since the NOUN used is THEOS, then either the Word is identified as a particular THEOS or is revealed as a THEOS, and the qualities belonging to one who is a THEOS are emphasized by the fronting of the PN. There is nothing here about "persons," but only THEOS.

 

 

 

 

{{ If John says the Word has all the attributes of God, I can only conclude that the Word is God.}}

 

 

 

Of course that is the "only" conclusion YOU can reach, for you are bound by the restraints of Trinitarian theology. Biblical monotheists (see below) are not bound to such a limited conclusion, and they can quite easily and rightly place the Word in a category of gods who serve the only true God. QUESTION FOR ROBERT HOMMEL: Since Jesus says that the Father is the only true God in John 17:3, then is Jesus a false god or a secondary god? Since he only allows for the Father to occupy the position of true God, then the only option for you, since you do not accept a class of secondary gods who serve the true God, is that Jesus is a false god. How do you explain? Please realize that false appeals to the meaning of  "only" will only (no pun!) serve to expose your view once again, for if we allow the view that "only" does not mean "one and only" in John 17:3, then we are forced to conclude that there is more than one true God (which you practically do below!), which you also deny. You want "only" or "one" to mean just that when it is said that there is "only" one God (which you take to mean "God" in any positive sense), but when it comes to identifying that "only" God as one of the "persons" of your "Godhead" then, conveniently, you will likely claim that only does not mean only, for, again, you are assuming Trinitarianism at the outset, and thus everything that is shown to you is broken down and reinterpreted according to your presuppositions.

 

Either way, I hope you will see (though you likely will not [based on what you have written to date]), you are FORCED to deny reality. You will likely say that only does not mean only and that that somehow means you can reinterpret "true God" in John 17:3 and the "first person OF the true God" and references to Jesus as "the second person OF the true God." If that or something similar is your reply, don't bother. I will simply delete it and end the conversation. But, if you can answer the question WITHOUT using the preconception of Trinitarianism, then I will readily consider what you have to say, for if you proceed to answer the question with the assumption of Trinitarianism then there is only one conclusion you can reach, and that is the conclusion you started with.

 

 

 

 

{{ If the Word is also with God, I can only conclude that either there are two True Gods, or that the identity of God encompasses the Word, but the Word is not "all of God," as Dr. Mantey says. Given the dozens of declarations in both the OT and NT that there is only One True God (Deut 32:39, Is 37:16; 43:10; 44:6; 44:8; 45:5-6; 45;14; 45:18; 45:21-22; 46:9; Jer 10:6, 7; 2 Sam 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chron 17:20; 1 Cor 8:4-6; 1 Tim 2:5; Jas 2:9), I am left with only one conclusion that accords with Scripture.}}

 

 

 

No, those are NOT the only conclusions form which you can choose. You should know that since you do not believe that "only" means only in John 17:3. Why then should you think that the denials to idols gods and gods of the nations should include the angelic gods who serve Jehovah? The Bible identifies the Father as the "one God," but you do not let that stop you from expanding the idea of the one God to include other "persons." Why do you have this selective problem? No need to answer, for I already know. Let me try and help you out with an example from Jesus discussion with the Jews' in John 8:39-41. Here we have an excellent example of how the Jews in Jesus’ day could limit the use of a descriptive term to one person, with one sense, but then use that same term in a secondary (lesser) and yet positive sense for another person. Notice that in John 8:39 the Jews respond to Jesus with the words, "Our father is Abraham." But then in verse 41 they reply again, "We have one Father, God." If we were to use the logic of Trinitarians concerning the restriction of terms to certain individuals then we would have to conclude that the Jews believed that Abraham was God!

 

Clearly, though, the Jews viewed Abraham as their father in a different sense than the way they viewed God as their father. But, still, they did not hesitate to claim that they had but "one Father, God," when just prior to this claim they confidently stated that Abraham was their father. According to your logic, Mr. Hommel, we would have to say that the Jews viewed Abraham as God, for they had but one Father, God, and in the same context they identified Abraham as their Father! Do you see how ridiculous your use of the same reasoning in reference to texts that speak of "one God" is, when you fail to take note of the different, positive senses in which terms are used? Jehovah is the "God of gods" (Ps 138:1). Obviously the gods over whom He is God are not gods to the same degree as he is, just as one human might differ from another in age, ability, and attributes. The same s true of Jesus, since Jehovah is his God (Mic 5:4; Rev 3:12), as he is the only-begotten god (see below on your misunderstanding of John 1:18, and your avoidance of my very clear and pointed question regarding the translation of this text) and was "with" God in the beginning, and was himself a god, one of those over whom God is God.

 

 

What you need to do is start reading the Bible in context and apart from the assumptions informing Trinitarianism. When you that, if you truly do it, then will see, quite easily I might add, that the denials to which you refer speak solely and directly against the false gods of the nations who oppose Israel, many of whom Israel had "gone after." There is nothing in the context of any of the verses which you reference that argues against the existence of the angels as gods, which the Bible clearly and repeatedly articulates. See my book for details and discussion.

 

 

 

[[John's grammar and vocabulary involve an ontological distinction between hO THEOS with whom the Word was, and THEOS as a description of the Word's mode of being. There is nothing to indicate ontological unity in this passage, and everything points to an ontological distinction! Indeed, even the context points to such a distinction when it calls the Word the "only-begotten god." (1:18) Of course, Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse since it is so lethal to their views, but, I ask, where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows? Also, if the Word and the Father are the same God, then is the Father the "only-begotten G-god," also? He would have to be, according to you, for there is only one God and that triune God involves both the Father and the Son, not to mention the holy spirit, which would also have to be the "only-begotten G-god." John 1:1, its context and the context of the entire Bible cannot be made to agree with Trinitarianism. It stands in direct contradiction to such a teaching. ]]

{{The ontological unity is expressed by the qualitative force of theos.}}

 

 

 

There is nothing about ontological unity anywhere in this text. There is a RELATIONSHIP, and that relationship is between the Word and the God he is with. As I have said time and time again, the emphasis on the qualities of the noun from the fronting of the PN does nothing to remove the definite or indefinite aspect of the NOUN.

 

 

 

{{ Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse? You're not referring to the fact that Textus Receptus reads monogenes huios, are you? }}

 

 

 

No, Mr. Hommel, I am not. Did you not read what I wrote? Apparently not, for you continued:

 

 

 

{{ This was the preferred variant for Unitarians for many years: "[monogenes theos] is foreign to John's mode of thought and speech, dissonant and harsh - appears to owe its origin to a dogmatic zeal which broke out soon after the early days of the church" (Thayer, Lexicon, p. 418). And what was that dogmatic zeal, according to Thayer and other Unitarians? Why, the notion that Jesus was God, of course! (cf. Godet, John 1:378).

{{Now, why would Unitarians denounce a verse that you claim is so lethal to Trinitarianism?}}

 

 

 

Because Unitarians, as a religious group, are not more biblical than Trinitarians! Well, maybe a bit more biblical :-)

 

 

 

{{ Perhaps they understood that the simple adjectival meaning you wish to assign to monogenes is unlikely. Had John written ho monogenes theos, the translation "the only-begotten God/the unique God" would be possible. In all other cases when John uses monogenes as an attributive adjective, the noun it qualifies is articular (John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). But John chose the anarthrous construction here, which is significant (c.f., Hort, Dissertations, 14, 18). We can conclude with Milligan and Moulton, Weiss, and others that the absence of the article signifies the uniqueness of Jesus as the Only Son (in the case of monogenes), and to his possession of the all the attributes of Deity (in the case of theos). If we take into consideration that of the 8 uses of monogenes in the NT, 7 of them signify "only son" or "only child" (4 times as an attributive adjective before articular huios, 3 times absolutely), we can conclude with Lagrange, Burton, du Plessis, De Kruijf, Finegan, Theobald, Fennema, Beasley-Murray, Carson, Harris, and McReynolds (among others) that theos stands in epexegetic apposition to monogenes: "The Only Son, who is God".

{{The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence that monogenes theos was a controversial translation in the Patristic era, being used by both Arius and Athanasius, as well as several others. Indeed, McReynolds cites Origen (Against Celsus, 2:71: kai monogenes ge ohn theos ktl.) as an early witness to the proper interpretation of monogenes in this verse.}}

 

 

 

First of all, attributive adjectives do not require the article. They do not even have to precede the noun! (Compare ERGON AGATHON in Php 1:6.) Second, John did not write MONOGENHS . . . WN THEOS. Finally, everything you wrote becomes supremely irrelevant once you take notice of and attempt to answer my rather noticeable question. Remember, I wrote:

 

[[Of course, Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse since it is so lethal to their views, but, I ask, where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows?]]

 

 

Let me repeat that, since you so conveniently avoided it the first time around: "where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows?" Do you understand this question? Can you answer this question? If the answer is yes to these questions, why did you avoid it in the first place? Also, you quoted but did not respond to this portion of my reply:

 

 

[[Also, if the Word and the Father are the same God, then is the Father the "only-begotten G-god," also? He would have to be, according to you, for there is only one God and that triune God involves both the Father and the Son, not to mention the holy spirit, which would also have to be the "only-begotten G-god." John 1:1, its context and the context of the entire Bible cannot be made to agree with Trinitarianism. It stands in direct contradiction to such a teaching. ]]

 

 

If you are going to make a federal case about my snipping parts of your reply (the reasons for which I previously explained) then do not casually pass by significant questions just because they destroy your argument, and do not ignore my comments regarding the absurd conclusion to which you are lead when you proceed to interpret these texts with the assumption of Trinitarianism.

 

 

 

[[You next question reveals just how little you understand of our/my position, and why you need to spend several months, perhaps even a year or two, familiarizing yourself with the facts. But, that is what you should have done in the first place: >]

{{Your rhetorical puffery and condescending attitude are tiresome, though instructive. Peter tells us to defend our faith with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:15). Paul tells us to correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim 4:2). I'm curious how you justify your caustic remarks against these scriptures. This is not a rhetorical question.}}

 

 

 

I really do not believe they have instructed you properly at all (especially in view of comments made by you, below), but I, too, would be tired of someone who constantly reminds me of my fallacious arguments and faulty understanding. "Puffery"? Please, Mr. Hommel, if you only knew how gentle I am being with you, in view of your horrific presentations you would thank me instead of trying to correct me. I am being EXTREMELY patient with you, and, to be honest, I don't know why I should anymore. You have ignored significant issues and avoided key sections of my reply, for what? There is nothing in my above words which in any way clashed with the guidelines of those scriptures you reference. You DO have a very inaccurate understanding of my position, which is evidenced by what we will read next. You DO need to spend several months to several years studying issues before commenting dogmatically on them (such as your unbelievable misuse of the PN in Xenophon, and your 'concession,' both of which sprang from a failure to consider the PN in the source material), and you SHOULD have done all of this prior to engaging in this or any other discussion, with the intent to PROVE that which you have yet to fully explore. But, you really do not need to do that, right? For you are already convinced of what you believe and the facts will either support you or be made to support you. YOU are the one who should meditate on what it means to have a serious mind and proper respect for others, before wasting our time and making absurd comments about what is or what might be true, before studying the material yourself.

 

 

 

>> We might ask, Mr. Stafford, if you demand that Trinitarians prove their view of God from the grammar of a single verse, where do we find the notion of the inferiority of the Word in the grammar of John 1:1? After all, Mormons are quite happy to admit the Word is "a God," while denying that the Word is in any way inferior to God the Father. How can you demonstrate, from the grammar alone, that the Word is a created being, even if He is "a god"? You see, Mr. Stafford, you must import your theological suppositions that "a god" is the same as "an angel," and angels are not co-equal with God but were created by Him. While you may believe your suppositions are more Biblical than those of Trinitarians, it is disingenuous to accuse Trinitarians like Dr. Mantey of somehow engaging in an exegetical practice less sound than your own. <<

[< I do not believe that John 1:1 teaches the inferiority of the Word to the God with whom he existed, so your naive question is moot.

{{Doesn't the WT gloss its view of qualitative theos 'Godlikeness or a mighty one'? Isn't a mighty one inferior to God? For that matter, isn't "a god" inferior to God, in your view? Don't the grammar and context of John 1:1 DEMAND that translation, according to you? }}

 

 

 

Why do you ask me these questions and then proceed to answer them yourself, contradicting your original question in the process? Your first question was: " where do we find the notion of the inferiority of the Word in the grammar of John 1:1?" Now that I have exposed your shallow understanding of our view of the grammar of the verse, what do you ask? Why, this: " Do not the grammar and context of John 1:1 DEMAND that translation, according to you?" Did you say GRAMMAR AND CONTEXT, Mr. Hommel? YES! But your first question was in reference to the grammar alone!

 

Now that you have flip-flopped on this point, I suppose you can appreciate your own refutation to your false analogy, and realize, what I have been trying to tell you all along, that NWT'S translation of John 1:1 is not solely the result of their acceptance of the qualitative nuance of THEOS, but also on the CONTEXT! THAT is why they can and do translate the clause as if the Word, as "a god," is inferior and separate from the God with whom he existed. After this reply I do not believe I will engage you in conversation anymore, for I am becoming more and more convinced of 1) your inability to engage in such conversation and understand what is being said, and 2) your lack of honesty in handling the material.

 

 

 

[< Mantey is the one who claimed that PROS TON THEON involves the Word's "personal fellowship with the Father," and by this he means that they are distinct in "person" but one in nature, and the "with" involves the "fellowship" between the two "persons." John does not say any such thing. He says, quite clearly I might add, that the Word was with GOD. Therefore, the Word cannot be the same God with whom he was! It is really that simple, and fully supported by the grammar, which somehow you cannot see. }}

{{Dr. Mantey says the grammar "implies" the personal relationships in the Godhead, which it does, as I've explained above (a definite noun specifies a particular PERSON, place, or thing; a qualitative noun does not). Dr. Mantey does not claim that the full, ontological nature of God and the Word is explained in this passage, which is what you seem to be demanding.

{{Now, again, I will admit that all creatures described in the Bible manifest a one-to-one relationship between person and being, but it is nothing more than idolatry to assume that creatures are the measure of God's nature.}}

 

 

 

There is nothing in the Bible which suggests that a person is anything but a being, when it comes to God or any other. This view is read back into the text by Trinitarians. Your view of PERSON is not what is used to define a noun in our dictionaries, so please do not tell me that " a definite noun specifies a particular PERSON, place, or thing; a qualitative noun does not"! A qualitative NOUN is a NOUN and as such is either definite or indefinite. The qualities conveyed by the NOUN are emphasized. I have said enough on this point, and if you cannot accept it, that is your problem, no matter how much you continue to deny it.

 

You are special pleading on the word "person," which, again, is not used in this text. There is nothing further to say, as you have not shown the slightest ounce of comprehension on this point. I will repeat what I wrote and ask you to try again. The proper response on your part will FIRST be a restatement of my position, in your own words, so that we can all see what is quite apparent, namely, you do not understand the argument. THEN, once you have restated my position, you may attempt to refute it. Naturally, I will first consider your restatement of my view, and, if correct, I will engage your argument. But, if you are wrong, if after all this time you show that you do not understand my simple and straightforward arguments as given in the paragraph above your above comments, then I will restate my position and ask you to try again. This is the only way you will learn, and hopefully understand what is going on.

 

 

 

[< If the topic was the temporality of Christ's preexistence, there are a host of passages supporting such a view, and once you show that you are capable of carrying on an honest conversation about the ontological distinction inherent in the grammar of John 1:1, then we can proceed on and discuss other passages.

 

{{Honest conversation?! }}

 

 

 

Yes.

 

 

{{Do you think I am a liar?}}

 

 

 

I try not to make those kind of judgements, but in view of all the evidence you have presented against yourself I will simply let the facts speak for themselves.

 

 

 

{{ You seem to be the one employing questionable tactics, starting with your propensity for ad hominems.

 

 

 

If I have such a clear "propensity," then why are you ASKING me if am doing such and such? If you demonstrate an inability to, in my opinion, honestly handle the issues pertaining to a proper exegesis of John 1:1, then there is nothing odd about my commenting on what I SEE AND READ, having written page after page to you regarding these issues. I am sure you are a nice person and that you mean well, but what am I supposed to think , Robert, when I state my position and my response over and over and over again, and you still do not see what is happening? Do you not believe I have SOME basis for concluding that there just MIGHT be some less-than-honest motivation behind all of this? But I do not intend to pursue this issue. My occasional reference to possibly unfortunate influences working upon you is not in any way meant to impede our reaching the final goal: truth. So please do not make an issue out of a non-issue, especially when that non-issue just might be a legitimate issue against you, after all.

 

 

[<As it stands, above you have shown your ability to miss the point and ask me a question that does not relate in any way to my argument so as to detract from your inability to prove anything from the grammar of John 1:1, without appealing to your Trinitarian presuppositions. Knowing that you must do this, you have to try and make it seem as if I am forced into doing the same, but you could not do that without failing to properly understand what I am arguing in the first place! Instead, you had to invent an argument on my part, namely, that I somehow obtain the "inferiority" of the Word to the Father from John 1:1. These tactics will not work here, I can assure you of that. >]

{{How, exactly, Mr. Stafford, am I "appealing to my Trinitarian presuppositions" by stating that the qualitative force of theos in John 1:1c means that the Word possesses all the qualities or attributes of God, particularly when that is the definition of a qualitative noun given by grammarians? }}

 

 

 

1) You are appealing to the definition as given by TRINITARIAN GRAMMARIANS who are doing so in direct reference to the very text under consideration!

 

2) When YOU say " the Word possesses all the qualities or attributes of God" YOU mean that the Word is a fully divine "person" within the one triune God. Do you now, finally, understand why you cannot "prove anything from the grammar of John 1:1, without appealing to your Trinitarian presuppositions"? If I am wrong, then do so!

 

3) I AGREE that a qualitative noun emphasized ALL the qualities conveyed by the NOUN THEOS. That is why the Word is "a god," not the God with whom he existed, which would have to be the Trinity according to you, unless (and you do) you redefine the God with whom the Word existed to mean "God the Father, the first 'person' of the triune God," where you once again 'appeal to your Trinitarian presuppositions.'

 

 

 

{{Can you demonstrate for me from the GNT one other example of a qualitative noun - even a qualitative-indefinite - in which only some qualities or similar qualities (as opposed to all qualities) are meant by the qualitative nuance?}}

 

 

No, I cannot. But why would I want to do that? Again, you are proceeding with a highly flawed understanding of my view. It is almost comical at this point, and would be if this were not such a serious issue.

 

 

 

{{It is you, sir, who are imposing your theological suppositions on the text by insisting on an ontological distinction in 1:1b, while ignoring the ontological unity mandated by the qualitative force of theos in 1:1c.}}

 

 

 

You present a circular argument (again). There is nothing in the text, nor specifically relating to the PN of 1:1c, that says anything about "ontological unity." The Word is called THEOS as distinct from the THEOS he is "with." There is a clear and unmistakable distinction between the two in terms of THEOS. Only a Trinitarian could miss it! Can you, Mr. Hommel, show me from the GNT one other example where the fronting of the PN denotes "ontological unity"?

 

 

C. Your quotation from page 148(3) was in a paragraph under the heading: "With the subject in a copulative sentence." Two examples occur there to illustrate that "the article points out the subject in these examples." But we made no statement in this paragraph about the predicate except that, "as it stands the other persons of the trinity may be implied in 'theos'." And isn't that the opposite of what of what your translation "a god" infers? ]

[[Most certainly, but the work of Lane McGaughy has shown that in equative clauses where both the subject and the predicate nominative have the article, the first one is the subject and the second is the predicate, thus, there would have been no confusion about such matters, had John used the article for THEOS in reference to HO LOGOS. The grammar's statement about "the persons of the trinity" clearly reveals that theology, not grammar, is the basis for their translation, and a post-biblical theology at that. Nowhere does the Bible say anything about a triune God, and nowhere does it mention anything about how one can be a separate "person" without also being a separate BEING. Trinitarians created this distinction long after the Bible was written, and have been reading it back into the text ever since, unfortunately.]]

>> "Most certainly?" Then you admit the WT's inference is deceptive. Thank you for at least honestly admitting this point.

[< Mr. Hommel, are you reading what I say, or just quoting me for the fun of it? My "most certainly" is clearly in reference to Mantey's observation that we disagree with his theology.

{{I was being facetious.}}

 

 

 

You were either caught red-handed or being immature and disrespectful. I find nothing humorous about what you wrote, but apparently you do, which is most unfortunate. And you have the temerity to quote 1Pe 3:15 and 2Ti 4:2 to me? It appears to be a combination of both: You got caught missing the point (again) and you could not help being immature and disrespectful in your reply. You will, therefore, get no sympathy from me.

 

 

 

 

[<The reference to their grammar where they cite a grammatically parallel passage to John 1:1 and translate that parallel passage with the indefinite article ALLOWS for the parallel passage to be translated similarly. It does not demand it, but it does allow for it. Grammar alone is what the WTB&TS is focusing upon here, not theology. Mantey fails to deal with the text to which he parallels John 1:1, which is why WTB&TS makes reference to it! Instead he goes off on a tangent about his theological position, which has nothing to do with the WTB&TS's reference to their section 148(3). >]

{{We've gone over this ad nauseum. Parallel grammar does not imply parallel semantics. Dr. Mantey hardly "fails" to deal with the Xenophon text! He may not deal with it to your satisfaction with regard to the semantic force of the PN, but this is NOT THE CONTEXT of his discussion, so why should he?}}

 

 

 

 

And you apparently still do not understand the point, even though we have indeed gone over this ad nauseum. The NOUNS, of course, convey different semantics, but we are (or should be) discussing the import of the fronted PN, which “allows for,” in both Xenophon and John, an indefinite semantic. Dr. Mantey does not deal with it in the context of his condemnation of the NWT rendering. Why do you have so much trouble staying focussed on MY point? Please stop missing it...As I said, “The reference to their grammar where they cite a grammatically parallel passage to John 1:1 and translate that parallel passage with the indefinite article ALLOWS for the parallel passage to be translated similarly. It does not demand it, but it does allow for it. Grammar alone is what the WTB&TS is focusing upon here, not theology. Mantey fails to deal with the text to which he parallels John 1:1, which is why WTB&TS makes reference to it! Instead he goes off on a tangent about his theological position, which has nothing to do with the WTB&TS's reference to their section 148(3).”

 

 

<<However, your comments with regard to McGaughty are hardly relevant. McGaughty wrote his dissertation in 1972. Dr. Mantey's letter was written just 2 years later. There is no evidence he was aware of McGaughty's study. Even if he was, it has no bearing on what was written in the Manual Grammar, which was published some 47 years earlier. >>

[< Once again you fail to see a rather obvious point. NOWHERE do I suggest that Mantey SHOULD HAVE known of this matter involving the article with the subject and predicate in copula clauses! I am merely commenting on what Mantey wrote in his letter and for the benefit of those who might misconstrue him to mean that the only reason why John did not use the article for the predicate in 1:1c. is so the subject and predicate could rightly be distinguished, correcting him. If you don't understand what I am saying or why I am saying it, even though here it should have been obvious even to you, then either ask for clarification or avoid touching on the subject until you obtain a proper understanding. >]

 

{{I'm sorry, perhaps I read more into your comments than you intended. }}

 

 

 

Not “perhaps,” but definitely. This is not the only time, but what has occurred in almost every sentence of your rejoinder.

 

 

 

{{Even re-reading it now, I certainly get the sense that you are suggesting that Dr. Mantey's comments regarding the determination of the subject in an equative clause are not correct, thus suggesting (as a world-class grammarian) he SHOULD HAVE known of this matter. }}

 

 

 

“World-class grammarians” often make world-class mistakes, and Mantey was no exception. Again, you seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding what I say. What else can I say...you should have asked, as I said, BEFORE jumping to conclusions.

 

 

 

{{Nevertheless, I still maintain that McGaughy is hardly relevant to this discussion. }}

 

 

 

It is relevant to the point *I* chose to make for the sake of preventing any possible misunderstanding regarding the use of the article in relation to the argument regarding the subject/predicate distinction.

 

 

 

{{Nowhere does Dr. Mantey suggest that the only reason John did not use the article was to distinguish the subject. He states that in equative clauses in which one noun is preceded by the article and the other is not, the articular noun is the subject, the anarthrous the PN. You don't deny the truth of this statement, do you? Every other grammarian I'm aware of concurs, McGaughy notwithstanding. }}

 

 

Again, you do not seem to understand a very simple point: I am responding to a potential misunderstanding as to why John did not use the article before the predicate in 1:1c., which argument states that he did not use it because HAD he used it then we would not have know which is the subject and which is the predicate. McGaughy shows that such an argument is not well-founded. The subject can be determined even though both the subject and the predicate have the article.

 

 

 

 

{{Dr. Mantey goes on to state that had John used the article with theos, he would have made theos and ho logos "convertible," that is the same person, which is clearly not John's intent. Thus, only by failing to consider Dr. Mantey's comments in context would one make the mistake you now claim you were "correcting."}}

 

 

 

Please rephrase my argument, as articulated and explained above, in your own words, so that we can determine if you have any idea what is going on here. I contend that you derailed a long time ago.  You are also, AGAIN, reading a post-biblical concept of “person” into your exegesis of John 1:1. Thus, you assume Trinitarianism at the outset, and that is, therefore, the only conclusion you can possible reach! What you also, like Mantey, fail to understand is that THEOS in 1:1c, is either definite or indefinite. So even though there is an emphasis on the qualities conveyed by the noun, the very thing you wish to avoid come crashing down upon you! (See below for more on convertability.)

 

 

 

<<Dr. Mantey's point, as is plain to all but the most willfully blind WT apologist, is that the WT cited the Grammar out of context, for the context is the use of the article to establish the subject of the sentence, not the definiteness or indefiniteness of the predicate. Further, as the Grammar also states on page 149, had John used the article with both theos and logos, he would have made the two a "convertible proposition," that is, interchangeable. Thus, as the Grammar points out, the anarthrous theos in John 1:1c is significant beyond merely distinguishing it as the predicate.

[<You are in error, as everyone not blinded by a fanatic zeal to discredit Jehovah's Witnesses can see. You are also confusing their quotation regarding "deity" as a qualitative translation and their statement that his grammar allows for the NWT translation, which it does. I am not going to go over this point with you again. Four or five times is quite enough. From this point on if you continue to repeat yourself and repackage the same issues then I will simply delete them. >]

{{What, exactly, am I in error about? In this paragraph, I am merely summarizing what Dr. Mantey states in his grammar. I am establishing the context. You cite McGaughy in an attempt to dispute Dr. Mantey's point regarding the determination of the subject of an equative clause, and I respond by noting that Dr. Mantey also discusses another aspect of the anarthrous PN, namely the denial of a convertible proposition.}}

 

 

 

That you would ask me about your error shows that you cannot see what I have stated over and over and over again. So why should I continue to do what will not help you? Reread what I wrote above, and if you cannot see it then that is your problem. I told why I cited McGaughy and you still did not get it. What else can I do?

 

 

 

 

>> Dr. Mantey's assertion that "the place was not the only market," which the WT has jumped on in support of its translation, has nothing to do with the indefiniteness of the noun emporion, but rather that the "place" and the "market" are not one in the same - are not, in other words, 'convertible.' The WT's confusion regarding the concept of a convertible proposition is further manifest on page 1363 of the 1971 NWT: "The proposition "The Word was a god" is a convertible one." This statement is nonsense: a convertible proposition relates to two definite nouns (Mantey, p. 149; Wallace, p. 42; etc.). The WT thus inadvertently endorses Colwell's reading of theos as definite, the inevitable conclusion if the subject and predicate nominative in John 1:1c are convertible. <<

[<Here you are so far out of touch with what is really happening that it is hard to imagine you being clear on much of anything else. You are assuming far too much for the WTS, and until you provide a basis for your contentions then I believe they are a misreading of the primary WT sources relating to this point. The fact that that place was not the only market most certainly does have something to do with it being indefinite!

{{I said Dr. Mantey's assertion had nothing to do with the indefiniteness of the PN. Dr. Mantey's assertion had to do with whether the terms were convertible as he and other grammarians define the term. This is called "the context" of Dr. Mantey's assertion. The WT has taken Dr. Mantey's assertion and attempted to justify their translation of the PN in John 1:1c. This is called "taking Dr. Mantey's assertion out of context." Clear enough?}}

 

 

 

As I said, “Here you are so far out of touch with what is really happening that it is hard to imagine you being clear on much of anything else. You are assuming far too much for the WTS, and until you provide a basis for your contentions then I believe they are a misreading of the primary WT sources relating to this point. The fact that that place was not the only market most certainly does have something to do with it being indefinite!” If you don’t “get it” then, again, that is your problem. You just don’t understand the simple fact about NWT’s “allows for,” and that is such a thorn in your side that you, in my opinion, have to play dumb on the matter

 

 

 

[<As for convertibility, it does NOT relate solely to definite (to the exclusion of indefinite) nouns!

{{Oh? Can you support this statement by relevant citation? Dan Wallace, on pages 41-42 of his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics explains that the sentence "John is a man" is not convertible. Instead, he terms it a subset proposition. It is not convertible because the subject (John) is a member of the larger class of the PN (Man). A convertible proposition "indicates an identical exchange" between the subject and the predicate nominative. Thus, says Wallace, "Jesus is the Son of God" is a convertible proposition because "The Son of God" and "Jesus" are interchangeable terms. "John" and "a man" are not. Only definite nouns can be "identically exchanged." Thus, only definite nouns can be convertible.}}

 

 

 

And here we see how your misunderstand of basic linguistics and semantics, as well as your being tied to the conclusions of other Trinitarians, leads you further into error. Have you not heard of specific and non-specific uses of nouns preceded by the indefinite article? Of course, since you apparently (based on the above) take our view of John 1:1 as though it meant that the Word was simply “a god,” that is just a god among many others, then I can see, to an extent, where you would fall off the path of understanding, but since I have gone over specificity with you before, you really have no excuse. Still, since you also misunderstood and failed to respond to my point about John 1:18, that could be the reason why you also miss the point here. But that is, once again, your own doing.

 

A specific or transparent use of a/an + noun can denote a particular entity known to the writer but not to the reader, or known to both the reader and to the writer. In this case, John is not simply identifying Jesus as just “a god” among many equals, but as a PARTICULAR god who was “with” God in the beginning, and who was the mediator of His creative acts. This PARTICULAR god is made more specific in verse 18, as the only begotten god. Thus, while the indefinite rendering of 1:1 serves to highlight Jesus’ qualities as a god who is ontologically distinct from the God with whom he was, the predication of THEOS for the LOGOS conveys a particular semantic known by John as is clear from his use of the backdrop of Genesis 1 and his knowledge of the mediatorial role of the LOGOS in this creation, but also from his reference in verse 18, which may or may not be shared knowledge with his readers. Nonetheless, for John, the semantic signal for the anarthrous THEOS in 1:1c is, “the only begotten god who existed with God,” and is thus a specific description and therefore grammatically and semantically convertible. It is even convertible for you, for your view of the anarthrous THEOS in 1:1c is, “the second person of the triune God.” You are therefore, ultimately, arguing for a convertible proposition, even though you attempt to mask this with “qualitative” language. (NOTE: I am not sure that you understand this point; I know that Bowman does, though I doubt that Hartley realizes the implications. So I do not expect you to understand it now, having failed to do so several times already in this discussion. Indeed, for you to recognize this point would mean an acceptance of your mishandling of the text, so I no more expect you to all of a sudden get the point than I expect you to abandon your view of God, or at least admit your mishandling of the text. That is why this discussion (with you) will go nowhere, and I am prepared to accept that.

 

 

 

[<The problem with Trinitarians is they have to change the semantics of the count noun THEOS in 1:1c to match that of a mass noun, so they can give Jesus the full nature of God, but allow for other "persons" to share it. This is eisegesis of the worst kind. You are forced into inventing a semantic for preverbal PN count nouns whereby you can give it the semantic you want, but yet you do not see that you would have to do the same thing with TON THEON in 1:1b. (indeed, everywhere where the Bible used "God" for one of the three "persons" of the Trinity!), which you do in fact do, by redefining TON THEON to "the Father" as understood by later Trinitarianism, namely, as the first person of the consubstantial Triad.

 

{{If I make the statement to an evolutionist "Homo Erectus was man," I am claiming that our ancient ancestor was fully human, that he possessed all the qualities of human nature.}}

 

 

 

And that he is an instance of man; he is “a man”! You cannot disassociate his being “fully man” from his being
“a man,” and that is precisely what you want to do with THEOS in reference to the Father or the Son. Is it not? Thus, you have presented a false analogy, and one that actually works against, as will all such analogies, for you are ultimately forced into special pleading in relation to your view of God, which even you have previously admitted.

 

 

 

{{ John 9:24 (from your list, above) demonstrates the same qualitative force.}}

 

 

 

No, it demonstrates nothing in relation to the point you are failing to make. It is merely the fronting of a PN that emphasizes the qualities of the noun; the man is “a sinner.” To say, “He is sinful” is correct but only BECAUSE he is a sinner! There is no way of conveying the man’s sinfulness without, at the same time, identifying him as “a sinner.” It someone truly has the qualities of something, then, being a singular, personalistic subject, it is either an instance of the group denoted by the noun or the reference is figurative, or there is only one instance of that something and the singular, personalistic subject is that one something, but not a PERSON OF that something. This is primarily (or at least one main area) where your view falls apart, having no substance to hold it together. You are reading your view into the text, and I do not know how much plainer one can make it for you.

 

 

 

{{ Both examples are count nouns. A qualitative noun is a qualitative noun, whether it is mass or count. It is you who change the semantics of theos by claiming it changes meaning from clause B (the One True God) to clause C (a lesser god), so you can deny Jesus the nature John ascribes to Him. This, sir, is eisogesis epitomized.}}

 

 

 

No, it is perhaps dishonesty exemplified by your rewording and misrepresenting my view, for I do not hold to a lesser view of THEOS in either instance, but gather my view of the use of THEOS for the Word and the God with whom he existed from what John elsewhere tells us about them. You are right: they are both COUNT NOUNS. Therefore, they are either definite or indefinite. Being qualitative does not strip them of this semantic, but merely emphasizes the qualities of the NOUN. I do not deny Jesus the INDIVIDUAL divine nature John gives him. You do! You, sir, are the one who denies the individual deity of the Word. You are the one who transforms John’s ontological distinction between the Word and the God with whom he existed to a “personal” distinction between the members of the Trinity!

 

 

 

[<"The Word was a god" is most certainly a convertible clause.

{{Tell me, how is "a god" identical with "The Word"? Aren't there "gods many?" Or will you equivocate on the term "convertible proposition" now as well?}}

 

 

 

I already explained this point. The problem lies with your apparent linguistic incompetence and your repeated failure to note the semantic weight of the predicate in the context of the Prologue, and instead forcing it to mean “the second person OF GOD,” instead of God or a god.

 

 

 

>> The Bible says nothing directly about the pre-incarnate Jesus being the Angel Michael. You must resort to a series of alleged associations, such as Jesus having the "voice of an archangel," being the "Bright Morning Star," etc., to make such an assertion. Why, then, do you insist that Trinitarians play by different rules? The Bible says there is only one God (Deut 6:4). Jehovah says he knows of no other gods (Is 44:8). The Bible clearly teaches that the Father and the Son are called God. Even most WT apologists do not dispute this. You claim that many beings may be rightly called "gods," and the Son is one of them. Trinitarians claim no one may be rightly called God but Jehovah (all others are false gods). This letter is not the place to engage these matters in detail. The point is that Trinitarians believe they stand on a firm Biblical foundation for proclaiming the Trinity. For if the Bible declares that God is One, and if no others may rightly be called God, then Jesus, who is rightly called God, must - in some way - be that One God, together with the Father.

[<That expression, "in some sense," is where you go off the cliff. In reference to the identity of Michael the Archangel as the Lord Jesus Christ there is abundant scriptural testimony, but that is ALL we are trying to prove: IDENTITY. Trinitarianism, on the other hand, is not just trying to prove that Jesus is God (you don't even believe that without qualification!), but you are asserting that there is an articulated basis upon which you can prove the existence of a certain TYPE of God, namely, a triune being, and that there are three "persons" who are called "God," but yet are not really God (= the Trinity); rather, they are three "persons" who share in the nature of the one God. So you are equivocating on your position by saying that there is only ONE GOD, but then citing Scripture where you believe the three persons are called "God," yet you go on to redefine "God" in reference to the three persons, not as the Trinity (which is how you define the term in your first proposition, "there is only one God"), but as a qualitative description for each of them, denoting their participation in the alleged Godhead. THAT is far different from saying, "This person (Michael) is elsewhere called 'Jesus.'"

{{We are hardly equivocating on the position that there is One God - you are. The entire basis of the Trinity is that there is One God. Period. The entire basis of JW Christology is that there are many who are rightly called "god," over whom is God the Father. Now, you say the Only True God is the Father, but some of the other "gods" are true gods as well, but true in some other sense than the True God is true. You must redefine the terms "One" and "Only" and "True" and "God," to accommodate your theology. We maintain that the scriptures that say God is One mean what they say. We also maintain that the scriptures that call Jesus God and the Spirit God also mean what they say. We maintain that the Son and the Spirit are called God in a way that is categorically different than any others that are termed "god." I will illustrate this key point, below.}}

 

 

 

Sorry, that is a non-answer. Please REFOCUS and reread what I said, and ADDRESS each point, line by line, quoting what I said and placing your comments directly below each sentence I wrote. You have ignored far too much already, and I will not allow you to ignore the key point above that refute the entire basis of your theology. As I said, “That expression, "in some sense," is where you go off the cliff. In reference to the identity of Michael the Archangel as the Lord Jesus Christ there is abundant scriptural testimony, but that is ALL we are trying to prove: IDENTITY. Trinitarianism, on the other hand, is not just trying to prove that Jesus is God (you don't even believe that without qualification!), but you are asserting that there is an articulated basis upon which you can prove the existence of a certain TYPE of God, namely, a triune being, and that there are three "persons" who are called "God," but yet are not really God (= the Trinity); rather, they are three "persons" who share in the nature of the one God. So you are equivocating on your position by saying that there is only ONE GOD, but then citing Scripture where you believe the three persons are called "God," yet you go on to redefine "God" in reference to the three persons, not as the Trinity (which is how you define the term in your first proposition, "there is only one God"), but as a qualitative description for each of them, denoting their participation in the alleged Godhead. THAT is far different from saying, "This person (Michael) is elsewhere called 'Jesus.'"

 

 

 

[<Your assertions are also highly selective in that you do not include others (angels and certain humans) who are called "G-god" or "G-gods" as belonging to the Godhead, for you have preconceived views from post-biblical creeds telling you what to believe. Finally, the propositions you put forth are directly opposed to a great many verses that teach an ontological distinction between God and the Word, such as John 1:1, 18 and a variety of others, not the least of which involve those passages where Jesus refers to the Father as his GOD, without any qualification at all (Rev. 3:12).

{{Two criteria - the role of Creator and the role of Sovereign - were essential to 2nd Temple Jews in defining the identity of the One True God. The God of Israel is the Creator and Ruler of All, to the exclusion of all other 'gods.' The literature is quite clear on this point (Creator: Ps 96:4-5; Isa 40:26, 28; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12, 18; 48:13; 51:16; Neh 9:6; Hos 13:4 [LXX]; 2 Mac 1:24; Sir 43:33; Bel 5; Jub 12:3-5; Sib Or 3:20-35; 8:375-376; 2 Enoch 47:3-4; 66:4; Apoc Abr 7:10; Pseudo-Sophocles; Jos. Asn 12:1-2; T. Job 2:4; Sovereign: Dan 4:34-35; Ps 96: 10; Bel 5; Add Est 13:9-11; 16:18, 21; 3 Mac 2:2-3; 6:2; Wis 12:13; Sir 18:1-3; Sib Or 3:10, 19; 1 Enoch 9:5; 84:3; 2 Enoch 33:7; 2 Bar 54:13; Josephus, Antiquities, 1:155-156.). Second Temple Jews, however, did apply one or both of these roles in a metaphorical way to the Word of the Lord (Gen 1 [Aramaic translation, Targum Jonathan], Ps 33:6, 9, Sir 42:15; Jub 12:4; Sib Or 3:20, 2 Bar 14:17; 21:4; 48:8; 4 Ezra 6:38, T Abr A9:6; Wis 9:1), the Spirit of the Lord (Gen 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps 104:30), and the Wisdom of the Lord (Jer 10:12; 51:15; Ps 104:24; Prov 3:19, 8:30; Sir 24:3, Wis 7:22, 8:4-6; 1QH 9:7, 14, 20; Wis 9:2).}}

 

 

 

I am sorry, but which texts use the term “metaphorical”? Are you referring to the early Targums or the late Targums? Please be specific, as general comments on these points usually point to an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of these issues, which I fear is true in your case.

 

 

 

{{ To what extent pre-Christian Jews believed some of these metaphors also entailed a hypostatic reality is far from clear (see Segal, Two Powers in Heaven; Lapide in Lapide and Moltmann, Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine, pp. 34ff). }}

 

 

 

It is? How so? Please quote the point from Segal that reveals this lack of clarity. Do you believe the angel, word, spirit and Wisdom of Jehovah in the OT are also metaphorical and not hypostatic realities? Please explain your answer.

 

 

 

 

{{Nevertheless, these terms were easily "included" in the Identity of God - they are aspects of God, expressing his mind and will in relation to the world - whereas the other 'gods' were not.}}

 

 

 

Explain what YOU mean by “included” and “the Identity of God.” I am confident that you are here reading Trinitarianism back into these ancient sources, but you can help clarify by explaining, in detail, what you mean by what you say. The OT present God as a WHO, not as a WHAT. Do you agree? If so, who is the WHO, and what/who are “included” in HIM? Be specific....

 

 

 

{{ The writers of the NT referred to Jesus and the Spirit as God in a way that is precisely like the metaphoric usage in the OT and other literature, and which is categorically different than others who are termed "gods." Jesus is clearly the Creator of all things, alongside the Father (John 1:3; Eph 3:9; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2,10; 3:3-4), even though the OT says that Jehovah was the sole creator (Is 44::24).}}

 

 

 

What book are you reading? Where are you getting this from? Not one of the texts to which you refer says anything about Jesus creating anything. In fact, most of them say, in quite clear language, that Jesus was the mediator of GOD’S (not just the “Father” as understood by Trinitarians) creative acts. Yes, God ALONE made all things THROUGH His Son. This is so typical of you Trinitarians: cite a text that says the opposite of what Trinitarians think it says, or that does not say anything to the point, and simply pretend that it does. But when you proceed to interpret any and all texts with the assumption of Trinitarianism as a truism, then that is what happens; all texts are integrated into the framework of Trinitarians theology and bent and twisted to fit into whatever presupposition you accept at the outset. Just siting them blindly without exegetical comment is weak, and underscores the futility of trying to prove your post-biblical position. But, of course, when once you are forced to deal critically with the text then the twisting becomes evident, or, hopefully, the meaning is so clear, even to you, that you will refrain from citing them as proof of your view.

 

 

 

{{ Indeed, 2nd Temple Jews believed quite clearly that Jehovah acted alone as the Creator, to the exclusion of even a helper (2 Enoch 33:4; 4 Ezra 3:4; Josephus, C Ap 2:192).}}

 

 

 

First of all, you (or the source on which you depend) do not even know enough about such literature so that you could make a proper distinction between the  A and the J recensions of 2 Enoch. You also show an unfortunate acceptance of 2 Enoch as a representative of Second Temple literature. Are you not aware of the fact that we have no manuscript for this work earlier than the 14th century CE? Thus, dates for this work “range from pre-Christian times to the late Middle Ages” (Andersen, OTP1, page 95).  Are you not aware of the frequent and clear presence of later “Christian” interpolations? And yet you cite this as “proof” of your view! In any event 2 Enoch 33:4(J [the longer recension]) reads: “And there is no adviser and no successor to my creation.” A, the shorter recension, reads: “There is no counselor and no successor, only myself, eternal, not made with hands.”

 

Since the language of 2 Enoch is Slavonic, we do not know the precise semantic of “adviser” in recension J, but it does not matter! We do not believe that Jehovah had to be “advised” by anyone! Your citation once again underscores your terrible misunderstanding of our position. That is no doubt why you used “helper” instead of “adviser” or “counselor.” Why did you do that Mr. Hommel? Which translation of 2 Enoch 33 are you using, which contains “helper”?

 

And who, Mr. Hommel, does 2 Enoch 33:10 (J and A) identify as God’s mediator/intercessor? Michael!

 

4 Ezra is preserved in Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian and Arabic manuscripts, and portions in Coptic, Georgian and a “tiny scrap” of Greek from the 4th century CE. The oldest Latin Codex containing 4 Ezra is dated to 822 CE (Metzger, OTP1, page 518). The oldest Syriac version is the Peshitta. Metzger agrees with most other scholars in dating this book to the early part of the second century CE. Thus, dating to a time after the writing of the NT books.

 

Mr. Hommel refers to 4 Ezra 3:4 as evidence that “2nd Temple Jews believed quite clearly that Jehovah acted alone as the Creator, to the exclusion of even a helper.” The text reads: “O sovereign Lord, did you not speak at the beginning when you formed the earth--and that without help---and commanded the dust and it gave you Adam, a lifeless body?” So, once again, we see that this refers to God’s creative acts, which Jehovah’s Witnesses DO NOT believe were shared by anyone else. God ALONE created through his Son, the Logos. That is why the PASSIVE verb forms are used in Col. 1:16-17, in relation to the Firstborn’s role. Also, since this is the work of a post-first-century Jew, it may be that he is contradicting popular view about God and the Logos, prevalent in Christian circles. Thus, on all counts, Hommel has once again shown that 1) he does not understand my view and 2) he does not have a good understanding of the literature of the Pseudepigrapha and the time when and the circumstances under which these books were authored. It is also interesting to note that in 4 Ezra 6:42 reference is made, not to creation, but to “the waters to be gathered together in the seventh part of the earth; six parts you dried up and kept so that some of them might be planted and cultivated and be of service before you.” Then we are told in verse 43: “For YOUR WORD went forth, and at once the work was done.” If this is indeed a reference to the hypostatic Word of God, then we can see just what “role” it played in the creation of God, not as a creator, but as one who carried out God’s commands in relation to His will FOR his creation.

 

Finally, Hommel refers to Josephus, C Ap 2:192, which is his work “Against Apion.”  Here Josephus says, “God made these [the physical creations previously mentioned] without hands, without hard work, and without colleagues [SYNERGASOMENWN] of whom he was not in need [EPIDEHQEIS].” There are at least two problems with Hommel’s use of this quote from Josephus, both of which show, once again, that Hommel is either not interested in checking out his sources or he does not understand my argument and the Witnesses’ position. We do not believe that God was IN NEED OF anyone, and we do not believe anyone, including the LOGOS, was a COLLEAGUE or CO-WORKER/CREATOR with God. I will here ask Hommel to please state my argument in his own words, so we can see just what kind of misunderstanding would prompt him to use information like this, as if it were some kind of argument against my view.

 

 

 

{{ Jesus is also exalted to the role of Sovereign over all things (Mat 11:27; 28: 17-18; Luke 10:22, John 3:35, 13:3, 16:15; Acts 10:36; 1 Cor 15:27-28; Eph 1:10, 20-23, 4:10; Phil 2:9-11, 3:21; Col 1:20; Heb 1:2; 2:8).}]

 

 

 

Correct. GOD exalted him to such a position. Question: Was Jesus exalted in his human nature or in his divine nature? If in his divine nature then he could not have shared the same divine nature with the Father, and if in his human nature then are you saying that his humanity is no longer a limitation, having been given the “role of Sovereign over all things”?

 

 

 

{{The writers of the NT easily and without fear they were challenging the traditional monotheism of their Jewish heritage, applied OT passages that praised Jehovah as Creator or Sovereign to Jesus (Phil 2:6-11 vs Is 45:22-23; Rev 1:8, 17, 21:6, 22:13 vs Is 44:6, 48:12; Rom 10:13 vs Joel 2:32; 1 Cor 8:6 vs Deut 6;4, cf. Rom 11:36; Heb 1:8, 10-12, cf.13:8 vs Ps 102:25-27).}}

 

 

 

They also identify people like John the Baptist with Elijah, not for purposes of ontological identification, but for the purposes of prophetic fulfillment and representation. Nowhere does the NT apply texts to Jesus with the intent of identifying him as his God. Obviously you have not read my book, and if you have then you have failed to properly deal with my argument here, so I will wait until you do what you should have done in the first place.

 

 

 

{{ Hebrews 1 is, in essence, an exegesis of Ps 110. Careful study (which we don't have space for here, but which I invite any readers to consider) reveals this passage employs all the key features by which Jewish monotheism characterized the uniqueness of God in order to include Jesus within that uniqueness. These examples really cannot be ignored or glossed over. The writers of the NT wrote of Jesus and the Spirit as distinct Persons, and yet included them in the Identity of the One God. }}

 

 

 

They did no such thing, and NOWHERE can you show that they used “person” the way you do. As for Hebrews 1, it is hard to imagine a chapter of the Bible that is more anti-Trinitarian than this one. But I would not really call it “anti-Trinitarian” since that would seem to suggest that the writer had a knowledge of the Trinity, which he clearly did not, as it came about hundreds of years later. It is, in fact, a chapter that is incompatible with Trinitarianism, which is why you and others have to redefine the terms used and create “personal” distinctions where the text has a ONTOLOGICAL distinction.

 

Hebrews 1:1 refers to God, which would have to be the Trinity since there is ONLY ONE God, right? No, for you are quite capable and willing to extract “God” from the text and insert “the Father, the first person of the Trinity,” thus reading the text in light of Trinitarianism. Verse 2 reveals a distinction between “God” (not just the “Father” as understood by Trinitarians, mind you) and “his Son,” the one THROUGH WHOM HE (that is, God) made the ages. Verse 3 makes a clear and unmistakable distinction between the BEING (hYPOSTASEWS) of God and His Son, who is said to be a copy (CHARAKTHR) of His being! Verse 4 says that Jesus was exalted above the angels, which means that at one time he was below them. When was that, and (again), which nature of Jesus received the exaltation? Is his humanity now exalted above the angels? Verse 6 refers to him as the “Firstborn,” a clearly temporal term when used in this non-figurative context, especially in light of the temporal terms used in verses 2-3. Verse 8 may or may not use the term G-god for Jesus, even as it may or may not have used it in reference to the human king in Psalm 45. But either way it contradicts Trinitarianism, for if Jesus is “God,” then he is the Trinity or god in a secondary sense. (One cannot twist THEOS to mean a PERSON OF THEOS.) In verse 9 the exalted Jesus is said to have One who is God to him, which, again, would either have to be the Trinity (since there is ONLY ONE GOD) or the Most High God, the Father, as a distinct being from Jesus, for the distinction is not a “personal” one, but, like John 1:1, made in terms of THEOS. Verses 10-12 highlight Jesus’ immortality since his resurrection, which is another way that he has “become better than the angels” (verse 4). See my book for more on the meaning of these texts. Verses 13-14 reveals the superior position that Jesus has been given as one who sits to the right of God, while the angels remains messengers, a role that Jesus formerly had prior to his exaltation above the angels. (Even Trinitarians identify him as the “angel of Jehovah,” though they redefine angel hear to mean what they want it to mean, and read the description in the light of Trinitarianism.)

 

 

 

{{Of course Jesus refers the the Father as his God. Jesus was our perfect example, who took on the morphe of a slave. That Jesus calls His Father God is not surprising, nor does it negate those passages cited above that clearly apply the exclusive roles of the True God to Jesus.}}

 

 

 

Then why do you call Jesus God and not follow his “perfect example” of identifying the Father as the “only true God”? (John 17:3) If the Father is Jesus’ God, and if there is a Trinity, then, since there is ONLY ONE GOD, then the Trinity is the God of Jesus. There is no way out, and thus you are forced into redefinition and post-biblical distortion. Sorry, it absolutely will not work here.

 

 

[<So, again, in the case of the Michael = Jesus question, we are pointing to statements in the Bible that point to this identification; but you are asserting much, much more (and selectively at that) and in contradiction to the use of language in Scripture. You must, therefore, refrain from equivocating on your use of "God" and show where the Trinity is articulated in the Bible. If it is not articulated in the Bible, then it cannot be dogmatically held up as a Bible teaching.

{{Let me get this straight: I'm equivocating on "God," because I believe John 1:1b refers to the Father (even though John himself clarifies who the Word was with in verse 17), and you are not equivocating when you claim that theos changes meaning between clause B and clause C. Is that right? }}

 

 

 

First of all, I appreciate the fact that you are finally asking me for clarification. Now, if only you had done this in an email regarding a host of other issues, we might have prevented you from making horrific claims about a variety of matters.

 

 

 

{{Evidence of the Trinity is all through the Bible, in every passage that asserts the uniqueness of the One God of Israel, in every passage that ascribes the exclusive roles of Creator and Sovereign to Jesus, in passages like 1 Cor 2:10-11 that ascribe personal qualities to the Spirit that only God could possess. }}

 

 

 

No, it is in no such places, but it is read into them, by you and others. There is no one or collection of verses that even remotely speaks toward some form of Trinitarianism. What is more, every time the term God is used in the Bible is stands in direct contradiction to the Trinity doctrine. “Personal qualities” are frequently given to impersonal objects in the Bible. To give but one example, the “anointing” from God is said to “teach” in 1 John 2:27. You need to spend some time understanding the Hebrew concept of personification, which you have apparently failed to do. But, since you assume what is and is not true at the outset, I suppose it really does not matter in your case. The spirit is OF GOD. It belongs to HIM. The Son is OF GOD. Where, though, do we read of the Father OF GOD? The spirit is OF GOD just as our spirit is OF MAN/WOMAN. It is a property of God’s being, not one of three “persons” within Him.

 

 

 

>> Finally, I feel I must address your sweeping statements about "post-Biblical theology." The fact is you cannot demonstrate from the historical record that the Trinity is post-Biblical. For to do so, you would have to prove that first Century Jews were henotheists as opposed to monotheists, and this you cannot do, for they held no such beliefs. >>

[< In fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that they recognized gods other than Jehovah, but who are subservient to Him. Since I discuss this at length in my book, I will defer you to my discussion there. Obviously you are not familiar with the Bible's teaching regarding such divine beings, and you apparently have not read the Pseudepigrapha or the DSD very carefully at all, either.

{{I am familiar with the passages to which you are no doubt referring. They are rather paltry in comparison to the number of passages that clearly delineate the Jewish concept of the One God beside whom are no other gods (Deut 4:35, 39; 32:39; 1 Sam 2:2; 2 Sam 7:22; Ps 96:4-5; Is 43:11; 44:6; 45:5; 6, 14, 18, 21, 22, 46:9; Hos 13:4; Joel 2:27; Wis. 12:13; Jdt. 8:20; 9:14: Bel 41; Sir 24:24; 36:5; 4Q504 5:9; 1Q35 1:6; Bar 3:36; 2 Enoch 33:8; 36:1; 47:3; Sib. Or. 3:629, 760; 8:377; T. Abr. A8:7; Orphica 16; Philo, Leg. All. 3.4, 82).]]]

 

 

 

And I have already exposed your misuse of these and other texts, which you rip out of context to support a preconceived view.  I also discuss them in my book. Of course, the above texts, if taken the way you suggest, would leave you in the position of making Jesus a false god, as the Father is the only true God, and is the ONLY ONE who is identified as the “one God” or as “God” in contrast to other gods. (1Co 8:4-6) He is the “God of gods,” which includes Jesus Christ (Ps. 138:1; Rev. 3:12).

 

 

 

{{ Richard Bauckham writes:

Much of the clear evidence for the ways in which Second Temple Judaism understood the uniqueness of God has been neglected in favor of a small amount of highly debatable evidence. Intermediary figures who may or may not participate in divinity are by no means characteristic of the literature of Second Temple Judaism (Richard Bauckham, God Crucified, p. 5).}}

 

I see no proof for his this view anywhere in the above statement, nor anywhere else in Bauckham’s book. In fact, I respond to Bauckham’s mishandling of the data in my second edition. His mischaracterization of the importance of principal intermediary figures is appalling. He not only fails to appreciate significant statements regarding principal angelic and other figures in Second Temple Judaism, but he falls back on a terrible misreading of a number of NT and OT passages, all of which I have explained in my book. That you would rely on Bauckham and accept his misinterpretation of these issues is not surprising, but still disappointing. What Bauckham and you also fail to realize is that Jesus is a principal mediator figure in the NT (1Tim 2:5), and thus the parallels between him and other such figures in Second Temple Judaism are quite relevant, at least to non-biased persons who are not bent on reading post-biblical theology into the text. You should try reading the texts apart from such preconceptions, and not simply accept what Bauckham and others have to say, just because that may be what you WANT to hear. Truth matters...

 

 

{{N.T. Wright states that Jewish monotheism "rules out henotheism, the belief that there are indeed other gods, but that Israel will worship only her God" (N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 249). }}

 

 

 

Anyone can SAY anything. Wright is in error and is merely reciting classical Trinitarian denials, for obvious reasons. He does not understand what the Bible says because he, like you, is forced to redefine everything the Bible says about God according to a Trinitarian view of God. That is why he concludes the way he does, for he already knows what he wants, and he simply makes sure he gets it.

 

 

 

{{He goes on to say that whatever language 2nd Temple Jews may have used regarding divine intermediary beings has "nothing to do with a declining away from 'pure' monotheism":

Language about supernatural agencies other than the one god has to do, rather, with the theological problem of how to hold together providence (with covenant as a special case of providence) and a belief in a transcendent god. Unless this god is to collapse back into being a mere absentee landlord, in which case providence and covenant go by the board, or unless he ceases to be in any meaningful sense transcendent, moving instead towards pantheism or paganism, one is bound to develop, and second-temple Jews did develop, ways of speaking about the divine action in the world which attempt to do justice to these different poles of belief. Thus it is that language about angels, about the Shekinah or 'presence' of Israel's god, about Torah, about Wisdom, about the Logos - all of these make their appearance, not as mere fantasy or speculative metaphysics, but as varied (and not always equally successful) attempts to perform a necessary theological task. At one level, this task was purely linguistic (IBID, pp. 258-259).}}

 

In my book I explain the relevance of the LOGOS and Wisdom traditions, as well as those involving MEMRA, and other, similar traditions. The relevance of OT and intertestamental intermediary figures is quite obvious, and a quotation form some scholar that denies their relevance for NT christology does not prove anything. As I said, Christ IS an intermediary figure in the NT, so to discount the relevance of other such figures is either incredibly naive or incredibly narrow-minded, or possibly a combination of both. But, that is what Trinitarians are forced to do: eliminate relevant data; redefine words according to post-biblical theology; ignore the use terms and distinctions made in the biblical material; and assume Trinitarianism as the basis for interpreting any and all theological and christological texts. That those whom you quote merely follow in this path hardly establishes your point, and only further demonstrates the validity of mine.

 

[<As for being monotheists, that only hurts your cause, for over and over and over and over again the one God is NEVER identified as the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," but always as the Father as DISTINCT from the Son. (1 Cor. 8:4-6) Even Jesus himself called the Father the ONLY true God. So, you have a problem: Since Jesus effectively removed himself from the category of "the only true God," then he is either a false god or a secondary god subservient to the Father.

{{You have created a false dichotomy. If the Father is the ONLY True God, then all other gods must be false - whether they are subservient or not. Of course, you will equivocate on "true," but Jesus will not allow you to do this. So, you are the one who has the problem. If all other gods are false - which is the plain meaning of Jesus' statement - but John calls Jesus God, not once but 3 times (1:1; 18; 20:28), there is only one possible conclusion, though you will do your best to avoid it.}}

 

 

 

Since you missed the point I will repeat it: The Bible clearly uses the term “G-god” for Jesus, but you do NOT believe he is “G-god” but a PERSON OF God. Therefore, since the Father is the only true God, and since, as even you admit, Jesus is called “G-god,” then either Jesus is a false G-god or a god of a secondary category, a category that is CLEARLY articulated in the, which you do your best to avoid, in such places John 10:30-36, where Jesus himself APPEALS to the secondary use of “G-god” as JUSTIFICATION for the alleged claim made against him! This is a real problem for you, as is your failure to understand that Jesus excluded himself from being the true God, and is therefore either a false G-god or a secondary god, an “only-begotten god.” Since you deny that he is a secondary God, and since he excludes himself from being the true God, then according to you Jesus is a false G-god. I am on sure biblical ground for claiming that Jesus is what the text says he is: an only-begotten god who is ontologically distinct from his God.

 

 

 

[<We take the latter position, which is entirely consistent with the Bible, but you are forced into viewing Jesus as a false god, for you cannot accept the secondary category because of your fealty to the creeds of a post-biblical time.

{{It is not me who is forced into a post-biblical creed, it is you. }}

 

 

 

Oh? You mean the Bible does not say Jesus has a God? The Bible does not call Jesus the mediator between the “one God” and man? You mean the Father is not the “one God”? You mean Jesus is not the “only-begotten god”? You mean Jesus is not the “firstborn” who “lives because of the Father”? You are right; what am I doing listening to post-biblical creeds on such matters, when I can turn to the Bible and find a clear articulation of “person” meaning something other than a “being.” I should just accept the clear and unambiguous articulation of “God” as the Trinity, and recognize that even though there is ONLY ONE God (the Trinity) that Bible clearly teaches that when it uses “G-god” for any one of the three persons who are CLEARLY said to be “persons within God” that it means that the one of whom God is predicated is in fact a PERSON OF God, not G-god, even though that is what the text says. Yes, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I FORCE myself into accepting these obviously non-biblical “creeds” of mine, while I reject the clear Trinitarianism taught in the Bible.

 

 

 

{{The Bible never once ascribes the role of Creator or Sovereign to any "god" but the True God. }}

 

 

 

Exactly. I am so glad you agree. After all, Jesus made it clear that he is NOT the true God, but that his God is, and the Bible could not be clearer on the subject of Jesus’ passive role as mediator for GOD’S creative acts. But, even though these are just about as clear as any doctrine you can find in the Bible, you reject them, choosing your post-biblical creeds instead. You are denying reality, and inventing your own. There is very little I or any human can do to help you further. If anyone reading this discussion thinks that Mr. Hommel is being reasonable and that I am unfairly characterizing him as failing to see or accept the obvious and instead reading his preferred view into the text, please email me at GregStffrd@aol.com. I would be very interested in knowing how and why you see it this way. I will also be sure to include your emails in my next reply, assuming Mr. Hommel does intend on continuing the discussion, so that others can see your reasoning on this point. Of course, if you ask me not to, I will keep your comments to myself, though I will probably follow up with an email to you, to discuss your position on Hommel’s arguments.

 

 

 

{{These roles were the defining characteristics of the God of Israel. Yet, the writers of the NT ascribed those roles to Jesus, without hesitation. }}

 

 

 

What can I say? Either you are not listening or you are not reading the Bible, or both. I have nothing further to say to you on this subject.

 

 

 

{{The earliest testimony of the Ante-Nicene Fathers demonstrates the ease with which they ascribed full Deity to Jesus (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho ch. 36, 56, 63; Irenaus, Against Heresies, 1:8:5, 1:10:1, 3:19:2, 3:21:1; Ignatius, Ephesians, Romans 1, Romans 3, Smyreans; Clement of Alexandria, Instructor 1:11, Exhortation ch. 1 and many others). Arianism arose centuries later in reaction to the orthodox church (cf., Arius, Letter to Alexander). The historical record is really quite clear for anyone wishing to explore it further: The notion that Jesus was a secondary god, a created being, is the quintessential "post-biblical" creed.}}

 

 

 

Hmmm...You are the one claiming to be in line with biblical creeds, but you here refer only to post-biblical writers! Of course, not only do you not have an accurate understanding of our view of Jesus’ “full Deity,” but you have not represented the views of these Fathers accurately at all. Justin writes: “"But this Offspring which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with Him; even as the Scripture by Solomon [Pr 8:22-31] has made clear, that He whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all His creatures and as Offspring by God" (ANF 1, chap. 62, p. 228). With reference to these statements, Willis Shotwell observes: "The language here is such that it cannot be argued that Justin considered the Logos to be eternal. The most that can be said about the Logos is that he was created before anything else" (Willis A. Shotwell, The Biblical Exegesis of Justin Martyr [London: S.P.C.K, 1965], 105).

 

Justin also wrote: “"There is, and there is said to be, another God [theos . . . heteros] and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things—above whom there is no other God—wishes to announce to them" (Dialogue With Trypho, ANF 1, p. 223). Do you agree that there is “ANOTHER God,” who is “subject to the Maker of all things,” Mr. Hommel?

 

As for why Justin accepted Jesus as THEOS, he tells us why. Justin says that Christians should "reverence no other god." But he then points out that "since God wishes it, he [a Christian] would reverence that angel who is beloved by the same Lord and God" (ANF 1, p. 246).

 

Irenaeus clearly used the term “God” for the Father in a sense that does NOT apply to Jesus. Thus, he referred to “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “God ALONE.” (ANF 1, p. 419, par. 4) Also, he taught: “Such, then, are the first principles of the Gospel: that there is one God, the Maker of this universe; He who was also announced by the prophets, and who by Moses set forth the dispensation of the law, -- [principles] which proclaim THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and IGNORE ANY OTHER GOD or Father, EXCEPT HIM.” He also wrote: “Now to whom is it not clear, that if the Lord had known many fathers and gods, He would not have taught His disciples to know [only] one God, and to call Him alone Father.” (ANF 1, p. 463, par.2) And, further: “Both the Lord, then, and the apostles announce as the one only God the Father.” (ANF 1, p. 517, par.6) Finally, we read: “Now I have shown in the third book, that no one is termed God by the apostles when speaking for themselves, except Him who truly is God, the Father of our Lord” (ANF 1, p. 553, par.2).

 

So, yes, while Irenaeus did in fact call Jesus “God,” and he even taught that he and other Christians would become “at length gods” (ANF 1, p. 522, par. 4), there was a sense in which only the Father was God. We agree with in this, though he was clearly influence by post-biblical philosophy in his articulation of Christ’s relation to the Father. He also made it ever so clear that Jesus was not the creator, but the medium through whom GOD created (see ANF 1, pp. 361-362).

 

Of course, you failed to refer to Origen, the greatest biblical scholar of his time, whose writings Rufinus distorted (a common practice of Trinitarians of later years). When discussing John 1:3 Origen wrote:

 

“And the Apostle Paul says in the Epistle to the Hebrews: ‘At the end of the days He spoke to us in His Son, whom He made the heir of all things, “through whom” also He made the ages,’ showing us that God made the ages through His Son, the "through whom" belonging, when the ages were being made to the Only-begotten. Thus, if all things were made, as in this passage also, through [dia] the Logos, then they were not made by [hypo] the Logos, but by a stronger and greater than He. And who else could this be but the Father?” -- ANF 10, p. 328.

 

Who else indeed! What was that you were saying about the Creator and the true God, Mr. Hommel? Origen further stated: “We consider, therefore, that there are three hypostases, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and at the same time WE BELIEVE NOTHING TO BE UNCREATED BUT THE FATHER.” (ANF 10, p. 328) No wonder you do not refer to Origen!

 

Origen seemed to understand the use of alethinos in John 17:3 just as Jehovah’s Witnesses do, for in his Commentary on John he wrote:

 

“God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Savior says in His prayer to the Father, ‘That they may know Thee the only true God;’ but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without the article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, ‘The God of gods, the Lord [Jehovah], hath spoken and called the earth.’ [Ps. 136:2] It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for they drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is ‘The God,’ and those who are formed after him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype” (ANF 10, p. 323).

 

Origen clearly understood that the reference to the Word as theos was not intended to make him equal to God the Father, for he wrote: "Nor must we omit to mention the Word, who is God after [hexes] the Father of all" (ANF 10, p. 303). It is a good thing that Rufinus and other dishonest Trinitarians did not get to these writings of Origen!

 

As for Clement and the other Fathers you mention, you also distort and selectively communicate their teachings. I will revisit this entire matter in a separate paper I am writing on the meaning of God in the Apostolic and in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, as opposed to the meaning we find in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, and so I will defer to that discussion for further consideration of this point. The above is sufficient to show that you have not properly handled the teachings of the Fathers, just as you have not properly handled the teachings of the Bible.

 

 

 

[<Of course, you will try to say that Jesus is included in the category of "the only true God," but he will not allow you to do that, as he himself restricted that to the Father (John 17:3). The only way to get around this is to deny the truth of what Jesus said, and distort the Scriptures. Thankfully, I just have to read them and accept what they say, as I do not have to make them fit with post-biblical notions about a triune being.

{{I certainly do NOT deny any truth spoken by Jesus. }}

 

 

 

Yes, you do. You deny that the Father is the ONLY true God. Of course, you will not come out and SAY you disagree with Jesus, but you do, and no matter how often you deny it, you cannot change this fact.

 

 

 

{{Of course I say that Jesus is included in the Identity of the True God, and in this I stand firmly rooted in Biblical truth. }}

 

 

 

Please list those scriptures that clearly articulate what you call the “Identity of the True God,” namely, a triune deity, and where Jesus is “included in” this Identity. Again, showing us verses that use THEOS of Jesus DISproves your view. You have offered nothing to support the Trinitarian view of the “Identity of the True God.” Jesus says absolutely nothing about any such thing.

 

 

 

{{It is the WT that distorts scripture by relegating the Word to the status of a secondary god, and it must twist virtually every verse in the Prologue to accommodate this view, as well as the word "true" in 17:3.}}

 

 

 

No, they do no such thing. The Prologue, as with the rest of the Fourth Gospel, is quite clear to us. But, when you have to force post-biblical definitions and distinctions into the Bible, then that is a problem, and that is why you have such a hard time defending your view. You are just typing; what you type does nothing to establish a biblical foundation for your view. You simply CLAIM it does. The simple facts, viewed apart from post-biblical thoughts and expressions, contradict your claim.

 

 

 

<<In fact, the historical record - from the Targums, from the works of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, from Roman records, from the Bible itself - is clear. Jews and early Christians were fiercely monotheistic; yet early Christians believed that Jesus was God and worshipped Him as such. The only way to resolve a Father and a Son, both of whom are One God, is to accept the multi-personal nature of that One God, or begin redefining terms like One and God. Sadly, you have chosen the latter, following the path of every heretic since Marcion. >>

[< You are so far out of touch with historical sources such as these, and others, that, again, I will defer to my published discussion. I will gladly do so especially since you cite NO REFERENCES from any of the above sources, so that we might put your claim to the test and show how you selectively choose those texts that YOU believe prove your point, and ignore others. When you get around to citing evidence, let me know. Until then, I have made my position available for all to read and the fact that you have ignored it shows that you are not interested in considering issues at length, but only with repeating those ideas you believe are accurate. You also deny the plain meaning of words and equivocate at almost every turn. Why, we have not seen such heretical practices since the Athanasius! (Actually, that is not true, we see them quite regularly in our modern times.) >]

{{Now, now, Mr. Stafford, you really don't think I would post comments like this on the Internet and not be able to back them up, do you? It is really quite common not to substantiate every argument, especially in an initial exchange. Why, you yourself have not substantiated each of your claims, though you are fond of justifying such occasions by use of antagonistic rhetoric ("Once you show that you are capable of carrying on an honest conversation..."). }}

 

 

 

What claim have I made that was not somewhere in my reply accompanied by some data? You give no specifics, so your argument does not even get off the ground. Now that you have provided what you consider support for your view, let’s have a look:

 

 

 

{{OK, I'm letting you know...

{{Targums - Jesus is God: "The prophet announced to the house of David that: 'A boy has been born to us, a son has been given unto us, who has taken the Torah upon himself to guard it; and his name has been called by the One who gives wonderful counsel, the Mighty God, He who lives forever: 'Messiah,' in whose day peace shall abound for us'" (Targum Jonathan, Isaiah 9:5 - notice the Mighty God, not a Mighty God);

 

 

 

You are probably leaning on Morey’s mistranslation of this Targum. I have in fact shown in Chapter 2 of my 2nd edition where you are wrong. This is what happens when you depend on others for your facts, Mr. Hommel. You need to DO SOME RESEARCH, and stop swallowing everything Trinitarians mishandle and miscommunicate in support of their view.

 

 

 

{{Messiah called both "the Lord" and "the Word of the Lord" (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Ps 45). }}

 

 

 

Mr. Hommel, I am afraid you are going to have to type the entire section of the source from which you re quoting. Also, where is “Lord” or “Word of the Lord” articulated in this source or any other Targum, to mean “the second person of a Trinity”? That is how YOU interpret it, is it not? Your chopped up references prove nothing. Piere Grelot (What Are The Targums? [OTS 7; Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992], 111) gives the following rendering of the Targum to Psalm 45:7-8: “The throne of your glory, YHWH has established it for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of rectitude. And you, O king Messiah, because you have loved justice and hated impiety, YHWH, YOUR GOD has anointed you with the oil of joy in preference to your fellows” (emphasis added). This completely contradicts Trinitarianism. YHWH, who YOU say is the Trinity, is the God of the Messiah in the Targum, and in the Bible.

 

 

 

{{Talmud - Monotheistic: "He created in the beginning one man only, so that heretics should not say that ther are several Powers in heaven (Sanh, 38a); "All agree that nothing was created on the first day, so that people should not say that the archangel Michael stretched the south end of the firmament and Gabriel the north end; for 'I am the Lord that stretched forth the heavens alone'" (Gen R 1:3). }}

 

 

 

The Judaism of the Talmud is not exactly biblical in all respects, but even here we meet with nothing akin to Trinitarian monotheism. Everything that is stated above is completely in line with the monotheism taught in the Bible, and by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

 

 

{{Ante-Nicene Fathers - There is a vast amount of evidence that the Early Fathers understood Jesus as God, applied the role of Creator and Sovereign to Him, and worshipped Him, alongside the Father. Please see my article here: http://www.pionet.net/~cultrsch/were_early_christians_trinitarians.htm

 

 

 

Please see my exposure of your mishandling of the Fathers, and my book for more information. I will also be writing a separate paper on the subject, that will further expose Trinitarian’s mishandling and misuse of the Fathers.

 

 

 

{{NT Apocrypha - Jesus is God: "God says,' There is no favor...'" [quoting Jesus in Luke 6:32], (Gospel of the Egyptians, 13:4); "We know this: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is God..." (Epistula Apostolorum 3:1-13). Worship of Jesus: "We praise thee as God" (Gospel of Bartholomew, 4:69); Glory to thee, Father; Glory to thee, Logos; Glory to thee, Spirit" (Acts of John, 51, 94).

 

 

 

Of course, these writings of post-biblical, and frequently contradict the teachings of the Bible. But before I explain this point, and comment on you references, none of which, as you have them, say anything in support of Trinitarianism as such, you must first tell us which edition of the NT Apocrypha you are quoting. Again, these partial quotes do not prove anything for you, and we must have the source you are using to evaluate whether you are even properly quoting them at all. There are different editions to the NT Apocrypha.

 

 

 

{{Roman Records - Monotheistic: Josephus, WJ, Book VII. (in this key text, Josephus tells us that Jews would not call Caesar "Lord," for this was a title reserved for God Himself. Of course, Jewish writers of the NT had no problem calling Jesus "Lord"). Worship of Jesus: Pliny the Younger, Letters X:96. }}

 

 

 

You here fail to properly distinguish between the use of the Lord in Josephus, which I DOUBT very highly was the basis for the NT writers’ use of the term (!), and how they themselves use it. Please tell us all about how Jesus can be MADE Lord, if Lord here has the same semantic significance as it does for God, the one who MADE Jesus Lord. Again, your view of monotheism would have been utterly rejected by Josephus, according to his view of the OT. Regarding Pliny, you do not even give the quote yourself! Until you show that you have checked the sources yourself I will not comment. I get the feeling you are just leaning on some works of those who believe the way you do, and have not done any of the research, reading through the original sources, yourself. That is unacceptable.

 

 

 

 

{{Bible - Monotheistic: Deut 4:35, 39, 32:39; Ps 96:4-5; Is 37:16; 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21-22; 46:9; Jer 10:6, 7; 1 Sam 2:2; 2 Sam 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chron 17:20; Hos 13:4; Joel 2:27; 1 Cor 8:4-6; 1 Tim 2:5; Jas 2:9. Worship of Jesus: Matt 28:17; Phil 2:9-11; Rev 5. }}

 

 

 

 

Sorry, I have already explained how you have absolutely no biblical basis for your view. You can site all of the texts you want, but that means nothing. You need to critically interact with each text, and show how it teaches your view of Trinitarian monotheism, CLEARLY, or any list of texts you provide are essentially of no value in this discussion. See my 2nd edition, Chapter 2 and Chapter 6, for more details.

 

 

 

{{Historians: Monotheistic: "The conception of God held by the Rabbis is monotheistic in the strictest degree" (Cohen, Everyman's Talmud, p. 4); "There is, then, across the range of Jewish writing that we possess, solid unanimity on certain major and vital issues; and we have already seen good reason to suppose that this unanimity was equally strong among those who wrote nothing and read little. There is one god, who made the entire universe, and this god is in covenant with Israel" (Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 247). See also, J.M.G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan, pp. 429-434. Worship of Jesus: "Jesus is represented as receiving the highest honors" Moule, The Origin of Christology, p. 176).}}

 

 

Since the above contains only opinions, with no critical analysis of the source material, at least not that you have provided, it is as good as what you have already said, which is of no value at all. The fact that persons other than yourself read post-biblical thoughts and concepts into the Bible text does not prove anything.

 

Well, as we can see, and as I said, “When you get around to citing evidence, let me know. Until then, I have made my position available for all to read and the fact that you have ignored it shows that you are not interested in considering issues at length, but only with repeating those ideas you believe are accurate. You also deny the plain meaning of words and equivocate at almost every turn.”

 

 

 

>> Think about it, Mr. Stafford: one of the first great heresies in the early Church was Monarchism. Monarchism could only have arisen if early Christians held both to monotheism and the full divinity of the Father and the Son. For, to committed henotheists who read the "easily translated" John 1:1c as "The Word was a god," the notion that the Father and the Son were one person (Monarchism or modalism) would be impossible, as would be the idea that the Word was equal to the Father in His essential nature. Historian Harold Brown writes: "The fact that Gnosticism and adoptionism could not hold their own in the face of orthodoxy, and that orthodoxy itself came under attack from modalism at the other end of the theological spectrum, is another evidence of the fact that the early church simply could not deal with the evidence of the New Testament and its own experience of Christ except in terms of acknowledging his deity. It was easier to slip into modalism and confuse Christ with the Father than to say with Gnosticism that he was a mere lesser aeon; or with adoptionism that he was only a man" (Heresies, p. 101).

>> So, Mr. Stafford, what historical evidence can you show that accounts for the rise of the peculiar notion of Christ's full divinity, if early Christians were henotheists with a clear understanding of the Biblical passages that - according to you - mandate Christ as a secondary deity? <<

[< It is quite simple that those advocating Trinitarianism in the post-biblical period were influenced by Greek philosophy and a misguided view of biblical monotheism. Says Meijering:

'We regard it as highly probable that Athanasius knew this Middle-Platonic doctrine of the ideas, a doctrine which several Christian writers had already used before him. This makes it understandable why he used in C.G.2 [Against the Pagans] terms like ta noeta ["the ideas"], ta theia ["the divine"], ta onta ["the existing"], and theos ["god"] more or less indiscriminately: if the ideas belong to the godhead, then contemplation of the true intelligible world is contemplation of God Himself'--- Meijering, Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius, p. 13.

[< Meijering sums up Athanasius' thoughts on God's being and actions and their relation to each other, when he says:

God is the eternal, unchangeable, always identical, real Being, says Athanasius, using both language and arguments which are also found in the Platonists. He is then confronted with the difficulty that many Biblical texts seem to contradict this ontological conception of the divine, especially of the Son. By making use of the Platonic theory that the words are secondary to the matter signified by them, he can explain those texts in such a way that they corroborate his doctrine of the ontological divinity of the Son. --- Meijering, Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius, p. 104.

[< That you are unaware of these facts, and have to ask me how your post-biblical view of God came about, is very telling indeed.

{{Is this the best you can do? }}

 

 

 

Okay, that’s enough. I think I have been more than patient with your antics, and I have explained time and time again where you are in error. Here, however, it ends.

 

I ask, Mr. Hommel, DID I SAY, “Here is the best I can do”? You asked a question and I referred to a recognized work that deals with the subject of pagan philosophy in the writings of one of the great defenders of Trinitarianism. I obviously wrongly ASSUMED that you would not just read the two quotes I gave, but look up the source itself, and then look up the references contained therein. Anyone who has honestly studied the writings of early Trinitarians like Athanasius knows that they were strongly influenced by paganism in their denial of the biblical use and meaning of words, and in constructing their own theology. But, you here make a truly immature comment and ask, “Is this the best you can do?” In light of your earlier hypocrisy in regards to your claim in reference to my comments, and your reference of those texts that speak of respectful dialogue, I have no more time to spend with you, on these subjects.

 

There is but a small portion of your reply remaining, where you again show confusion about the real issues and refer to other Trinitarians, many of whom I have quoted and refuted in my book (such as Helyer). You are just quoting those who believe the same thing that you do, and neither you nor they have done anything to substantiate your post-biblical view of God, as being something clearly taught in the Bible.

 

I have asked you several key questions in this response, which have partially ask you to rephrase my arguments and views. I have asked these because it is clear to me that you do not understand what I am saying, and you are proceeding to reply according to your misinformed view. When I receive your next reply, assuming you give it, I will immediately go to your answers to these key questions. If I find five misunderstandings, after all I have done to explain these things to you, then I will highlight those five instances and ignore the rest of your reply, as it is not worth my time to continue correcting you on these points, when you are ultimately just leaning on what other Trinitarians tell you to believe.

 

I thank you for your time and thoughts, but I think you need to reevaluate your position, and start doing your own research, or at least show me that you are, by giving the full quote and context of the sources you site. It is also essential for you to show that you do rightly understand my views, in order for this discussion to continue.

Best Regards,  

Greg

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