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Robert Hommel's Return Letter to Greg Stafford

On the Julius Mantey Letter


Dear Mr. Stafford

I have read your response to my open letter to you regarding Dr. Mantey's letter to the WTB&TS.  Please find my comments, below:

Your response to me appears in VIOLET, set off by [< >].
My response to you follows in GREEN, set off by {{ }}.

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].

[<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.}}

[<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.

{{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.}}

[< 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.  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. }}

[<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."}}

[< 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?}}

[< 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.}}

[<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. 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.

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

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

{{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.}}


"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.}}

[<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.}}

[<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?}}

[< 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.}}

[< 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:}}

>>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.}}

[< Okay, I will do it a fourth time, but no more. Again, as I have already stated, we are talking about what is ALLOWABLE. We fully understand the different semantics of predicate nouns. But one of those semantics is qualitative-indefiniteness. Since D-M recognizes this semantic, or at least an indefinite one, in their referencing and translating a passage that is a grammatical parallel to John 1:1c., then they ALLOW for the same possibility in translation to exist in relation to passages with the same grammatical structure. This is the last time I will bother explaining this to you. Since you regularly confuse the statements to CARIS with the quotation of D-M in NWT, and since you fail to recognize the difference between what is "allowed" versus what is purposefully 'implied,' then there is really nothing else I can do for you. You have already made up your mind, and at this point you are merely seeking to justify your misuse of Mantey's letter, and his failure to understand the basis upon which the WTB&TS made reference to D-M.

{{No, we are talking about more that what is "allowable,"  however you wish to define the term.  Dr. Mantey said in the first sentence of his letter that he was writing to express disagreement with "quotations you have made from the Dana-Mantey Greek Grammar" in addition to the CARIS letter.  Now, I've already stated that parallel grammar does not mean parallel semantics.  If it did, I could claim Phillipians 2:13 as a "parallel" to John 1:1 and thereby substantiate the orthodox translation.  So, though it is convenient for you to portray me as failing "to recognize the difference between" what is allowed and what is implied, this is a straw man.  The real argument is whether recognizing a semantic force in a "parallel" grammatical construction allows for the same semantic force in John 1:1.  Obviously, the WT (and you) believe that it does.  I do not, simply because the semantic force of a PN in Colwell's Construction is not determined by that fact that it is in Colwell's Construction.

{{Now, you raise an interesting point with regard to D-M recognizing a Q-I semantic force "or at least an indefinite one" in the Anabasis passage.  Which do they recognize?  This is not an unimportant question, as it lies at the heart of your claim that a parallel grammatical construction "allows for" a parallel translation, and it cannot be so easily passed over.  The Grammar does not state directly which force it recognizes (because, of course, this is not the context of the discussion), though the evidence leads us more towards purely indefinite, in that Dr. Mantey's comments regarding his translation emphasizes the membership of emporion in the class "markets," and not the mercantile qualities of  to xwrion ("the place was not the only market," pp.148-149).  If D-M recognize an indefinite force, the "parallel" grammar might "allow for" an indefinite force in John 1:1c (according to your argument), but not a qualitative one.  Unfortunately for your position, the WT and you insist theos in John 1:1c is qualitative, not "strictly indefinite," as you state above.  You see the slippery slope the WT has forced you to climb.  You cannot demonstrate that D-M recognizes a qualitative semantic force in the Anabasis passage, therefore you cannot demonstrate that a translation of John 1:1 that you and the WT insist is qualitative is "paralleled" in the Manual Grammar. }}

[<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: and invite them to draw their own conclusions regarding who is being subjective and "theologically driven."

{{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.

{{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.

{{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).

{{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.
{{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.
{{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.
{{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).
{{8:48    -    Q        Rather clear case.  The Jews knew Jesus was not "a" Samaritan, but were accusing him of acting like one.
{{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.
{{9:24    -    Q        "We know that this man sinful is," Marshall.
{{9:25    -    Q        "If sinful he is," Marshall.
{{9:28a   -    Q       "You are His/this fellow's disciple." NASB, NIV.
{{10:1    -    I         Same semantic force as Anabasis1.4.6
{{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.
{{10:13 -    Q-I     Context demands the qualitative nuance - He flees because he is a hireling.
{{10:36 -    D       "The Son of God."  NASB.  Consistent with the context and John's usage.
{{12:6    -   Q-I     See 10:13 - He said this because he was a thief.

[<"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.}}

[<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.

{{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.  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.

{{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.  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.  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:}}

>>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.}}

[< 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:

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.   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.  However, Dr. Mantey does not believe the grammar of John 1:1c implies modalism.  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).  Thus, the persons of the Trinity are “implied,” (not fully delineated) as Mantey says on page 149 of his Grammar; 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).

[< 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.'"}}

[< 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.  The qualitative theos in John 1:1c does not distinguish a person, but refers instead to nature, qualities, or attributes.  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."  Now, I agree that in all cases other than God, one person equals one Being.  But here, John tells us that the Word was with God, and had all the qualities (attributes or nature) that God has.  If John says the Word has all the attributes of God, I can only conclude that the Word is God.  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.}}

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

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 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?

[< 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.}}

[< 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?!  Do you think I am a liar?  You seem to be the one employing questionable tactics, starting with your propensity for ad hominems.

[<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?  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?  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.}}

[< 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.}}

[<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?}}

[< 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.  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.  Nevertheless, I still maintain that McGaughy is hardly relevant to this discussion.  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.  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."}}

[<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.}}

[<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 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.}}

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

[<"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?}}

[<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.}}

[<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).  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).  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.  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).  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).  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).  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).  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.

{{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.}}

[<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?

{{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.

[< 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).  Robert 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 (Robert Bauckham, God Crucified, p. 5).

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).  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).

[<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.}}

[<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.  The Bible never once ascribes the role of Creator or Sovereign to any "god" but the True God.  These roles were the defining characteristics of the God of Israel.  Yet, the writers of the NT ascribed those roles to Jesus, without hesitation.  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.}}

[<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.  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.  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.}}

[< 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...").

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

{{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).

{{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:

{{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).

{{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.

{{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.

{{HistoriansMonotheistic: "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).}}

[< 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?  The old history-of-religion nonsense claiming a Hellenistic origin for high Christology?  Meijering and his liberal cronies in the "Formulation and Reformulation of Christian Traditions" program at LISOR certainly hold a minority opinion on this matter.  Here's a sampling - almost at random - of modern scholars who refute the outdated notion that the Early Church was influenced in its concept of the Trinity by Greek philosophy:  Cullman, The Christology of the New Testament; Hengel, Acts and Earliest Christianity and The Son of God; Moule, The Origin of Christology; Holladay, Theios Aner in Hellenistic Judaism; Nash, Christianity and the Hellenistic World; Nock, Early Gentile Christianity and its Hellenistic Background; Wagner, Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries; Wilson, Jesus: The Evidence; and Sandmel, "Parallelomania, JBL, 81 (1962), pp. 1-13.  Even the contemporaries of Werde and Bousset (the darlings of the now well-debunked 'history-of-religion' school) viewed their suppositions regarding the supposed influence of Platonism on Early Christianity with caution (see Harnack, quoted in Nash, pp. 118-119, and Machen, Religion of Paul).

{{Bauckham summarizes conclusions of these and many other modern scholars:

It was actually not Jewish but Greek philosophical categories which made it difficult to attribute true and full divinity to Jesus.  A Jewish understanding of divine identity was open to the inclusion of Jesus in the divine identity. But Greek philosophical - Platonic - definitions of divine substance or nature and Platonic understanding of the relationship of God to the world made it extremely difficult to see Jesus as more than a semi-divine being, neither truly God nor truly human.  In the context of the Arian controversies, Nicene theology was essentially an attempt to resist the implications of Greek philosophical understandings of divinity and to re-appropriate in a new conceptual context the New Testament's inclusion of Jesus in the unique divine identity (God Crucified, p. 78).
{{As for Athanasius being "influenced" by Greek philosophy, it is quite clear to anyone bothering to review the historical record that Athanasius wrote in reaction to Arius, using the philosophical terms of his opponent.  It was Arius who adopted Platonic notions of "monas," "duas," and "demiurge" in an attempt to refute what he perceived as Orthodoxy's flirtation with Sabellianism (cf., Letter to Alexander).  Rusch states: "Arius blurred Christianity and paganism" (The Trinitarian Controversy, p. 17).  Rusch provides translations of the primary texts of Athanasius and Arius, so interested readers can examine the evidence for themselves.  Other scholars echoing this view include Harnack, Gwatkin, Loofs, Prestige, and Stead.  See also Wolfson, The Philosophic Implications of Arianism and Apollinarianism; Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God; Kannengiesser, Arius and Athanasius, Hagerty, The Holy Trinity; and Helyer, "Arius Revisited" (JET, 31:1) p. 59.    The Early Fathers had no trouble recognizing the influence of Greek philosophy in Arius (cf., Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Socretes Scholasticus, and Epiphanius).

[< May I ask you, Mr. Hommel, where in the Bible is there any articulation of a tri-personal deity, such that we are told to recognize personal distinctions in a Godhead where each "person" is not distinct in being, and where they are all co-equal in power? The fact that your entire basis for believing such teachings revolves around your equivocation of the term God and your redefining of the term "person," shows that your belief is rooted not in the Bible text, but elsewhere, namely, post- and non-biblical philosophies. >]

{{Where is the tri-personal nature of God defined in the Bible?  In every verse in which the role of Creator or Sovereign over all is applied to Jesus or the Spirit (see above).  The Early Fathers, though not authoritative in their writings, nevertheless easily and often referred to Jesus as God and included him in the Divine identity of the sole Creator and Sovereign ("Christ Jesus, the Son of God, because of His surpassing love for His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin," Ireneaus, Against Heresies, 3:4:2; "That this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made," Tertullian, Against Praxeas, ch. 2; "And well has he [John] named Christ the Almighty." - Hippolytus, Against Noetus, Part 6 ).}}

[< As I told you already, it is a qualitative translation using the indefinite article, and your failure to relate the NWT's use of D-M to the Colwell controversy is your undoing, in part. >]

{{If John 1:1c is qualitative, the noun theos is then not really indefinite, even if in English, we may render it with the indefinite article (see above).  While in English the translation of John 4:19 as "You are prophet" is awkward, and the indefinite rendering is more natural, the meaning in Greek is closer to "You are prophetic."  The noun is not indefinite.  The meaning is not that Jesus is a member of the class of prophets, but rather possesses all the qualities or attributes of one who is prophetic.  So, too, in John 1:1c.  For while you may attempt to demonstrate that John "distinguishes" ho theos from anarthrous theos in an ontological sense, the meaning of theos - God - does not change from clause B to clause C.  The orthodox translation is simple and straightforward, and is the natural result of the proper understanding of the qualitative semantic force:  The Word was with God and the Word was God.}}


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