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615 Posts

Posted - 05 Jan 2005 :  11:48:21  


To return to your remarks about incarnation, although I agree with them, and the term ἐνανθρώπησις is indeed the dominating term, we must also note that it is not the only one. The Orthodox liturgical and Patristic texts sometimes also use the terms σεσαρκωμένος (incarnated) or σεσωματωμένος (inbodied).

Anyone who has tried to translate a demanding text from Greek into English knows that it is something like a Mission Impossible! Λόγος itself is a word that can not be translated due to its numerous meanings and connotations, and the very rendering (transliteration) of Logos has aquired its own meanings as well!

However, I think that we should not overestimate this problem. My belief is that if the Churches had remained united, our common life would help us overcome linguistic differences. Latin speaking christianity is more or less exposed to the legalistic orientation of the Latin language and the preceding (ancient) Roman culture, but if the schisms had not prevented close communication, our problems, I think, would be far less. And of course, to believe in Christ does not presuppose a meticulous linguistic investigation.


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44 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2005 :  16:37:25  


Thank you George:
"Anyone who has tried to translate a demanding text from Greek into English knows that it is something like a Mission Impossible! Λόγος itself is a word that can not be translated due to its numerous meanings and connotations, and the very rendering (transliteration) of Logos has aquired its own meanings as well! "

You understand my concern for what Richard is attempting. I am trying to define his quest, so to speak.
It would seem that in trying to follow the use and developing definition of ΛΟΓΟΣ he must, if making a soterological study, also study ΣΟΦΙΑ and the relationship of both in the eastern teachings.

And, I have forwarded my email address to you in the manner suggested if richard wishes to continue off-forum. Etymology is one thing, but religious implications may not be appropriate on this wonderful website/forum.

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27 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2005 :  18:16:06  


Hello, everyone,

To update you all on my investigation of "logos" in Philo, all I have at present is Yonge's (updated) translation and the Philo Index. I find that Yonge translates "logos" "reason." Sometimes it is divine, but often it is the ordinary sort, a reason someone has for doing something. I have as yet to find a sustained argument regarding a doctrine of the divine logos. I see I'll have to peice it together.

I understand that Younge authored a lexicon of Biblical (Koine?) Greek. Does anyone out there know if this might be in reprint somewhere?
In the meantime, I'm saving up for the Loebe edition of Philo.


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1 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2005 :  22:59:24  


Dear Richard, Aristokles and George,

Lorenz Dürr (1938) (only in German) and Thorleif Boman (1960) (in English translated) have monumentally clarified the issues of the rendering of ΛΟΓΟΣ for all of us. I strongly recommend you Richard to have a look on these works before you indulge further on your studies.

Philo was a decisive figure in the Hellenistic understanding of the rendering of the Hebrew 'dhabar' (=word) and 'qol' (=voice). Both have to do with how the Jewish people understood Jahveh being involved in the world affairs!

'Word' and 'reason' are also good context-dependent renderings among others of course. A crucial one is the rendering 'proportion' or 'ratio', because 'logos' is comprehended only relationally!

For Lao Tzu, indeed, what Heraclitus renders 'logos' he renders 'Tao' (=the way). And, if I am not mistaken, this is the rendering (Tao) of the word 'ΛΟΓΟΣ' in the Chinese Bible! (Cf. the biblical: "I am the truth and the way")

This interest comes from my dissertation on Maximus the Confessor and Information Theory.


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23 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2006 :  18:08:41  


Richard et al.,
I have been reading this thread with interest, but it is almost a year since the last post, so I am wondering whether you satisfactorily solved your issues.

Whatever the case, I think that there is one issue you did not face to begin with: You speak of John the Divine. On the contrary, I agree with many scripture scholars that John the Apostle and John the Evangelist are NOT one and the same person. ("John the Divine" is a convenient term for overlooking the differences between two people with the same name.)

All the (canonical) Gospels which were preached and written down in Greek -- whether verbatim or by translation -- were not preached by any apostle or any disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. And, by the way, I also have cogent reasons to agree that there was a Proto-Gospel as the basis for the 3 synoptic Gospels. John's Gospel is a later product, probably compose directly into Greek after the year 100.

I don't think that John and Philo were contemporaries. However, it is possible that John's theology of the divine Logos was occasioned by Philo's writings on the Word of God [rendered as "logos" etc.], just as various Christian theologians' interpretation of the Bible were based on Philo's interterpretations. By his figurative or allegorical reading of the Bible, he obviated the many errors which Philo found IN VIEW OF the writings of the philosophers. (Instead of rejecting the Bible as the "book of infallible truth" the Jews believed in, he invented a non-literal reading.... which was never a rabbinical reading. But the figurative reading has its limits. For instance, it was never applied to the accounts of Genesis, because Philo was never perspicacious enough to see the contradictions between the two accounts, and because the philosophers had not implicitly contradicted the Biblical sequence of the things which were created ... or the things which emerged from the beginning. All the ancient philosophical cosmologies are expresses in terms of something given "at the beginning"; they are all framed analogically to the Greek theogony, "At the beginning were coupled Ouranos and Gea....")

John's theology (in his Gospel) is a version of Hesiod's theogony: En arche logos...: "At first was the Logos and the Logos was God...... and nothing was created which was not created through the Logos."

The Johannine Logos is a god -- well, the divine son of God (which harkens back to the evangelical "This is my beloved Son...." But the divine person is called logos because it is the PERSONIFIED Word by means of which one deity [the Elohim of Genesis-1] magically created the world and its specifics. The divine [eternal, omnipotent] entity called Logos is precisely the Logos of Heracleitos of Ephesus, namely the ordering "mind" at work in the eternal Flux. The Flux (or physical being) is not chaotic; the logos is an intelligent or rational force [which is constitutive of the cosmos itself, not a separate entity]. Thus, John of Ephesus, evangelist, is the new myth-maker: He personifies a natural force or power (Heraclitus' Logos) . He conveniently interpret's El's creative word as Heraclitus' Logos. The hint for this may have been given inadvertently by Philo inasmuch as he used "logos" to translate El's creative word.

John personified not only El's creative word, but also Yahveh's vivifying or life-creating breath [Spiritus] (in Genesis-2). This is the Spirit that descended on the Apostles, the Spirit that Jesus promised to send, and so forth. (Joachim of Flores's interpreted history in terms of the Ages of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, the latter coming after the end of the world, which Jesus predicted within one generation but has not occurred yet.) Like the Jews then and now, John assumed -- if he read the Bible at all, which I doubt --that the divine magician of Genesis-1 was the divine architect and sculptor of Genesis-2. So, God (theos) ended up being three persons rather than two.

There is nothing in the synoptic Gospels to indicate that the Son in whom God was pleased, or that the Son who was conceived in Mary, was the Word by means of which God created the world. Through the equivocation of "logos" [the word::the cosmic reason] and the substantive identification of "the (creative) word" and "the son," was John able to assert the trinity of God and the inhumanization (or incarnation) of the Logos. As a consequence, Jesus of Nazareth was both human and divine [either a god in the flesh or a god combined with a human being].

Independently of and prior to the Johannine theology, the humanity and the divinity of Jesus was claimed in the other Gospels. As a matter of fact, it was Jesus's implicit claim to divinity that was legally contested by some Jews, but those Gospels do not present any theology concerning the human-divine nature of Jesus. Paul will accept the idea of the divine son of God, but he has nothing like the Johannine theology. On the other hand, Paul (versed in Stoicism and a citizen of the Roman republic) interprets the crucifixion of Jesus as an expiation for men's [not just Jews'] sins, wherefore Jesus appears as the redeemer (soter) of mankind -- something which has no basis of the synoptic Gospels, except perhaps for some interpolations. Jesus as the non-sacrificial Messiah of his People became the sacrificial Messiah of humanity. So, the Catholic religion was founded on the theologies of Paul and of John, plus something Greek too long to explain here; primitive or Palestinian "Christianity" was a sect of Judaism.

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