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Greg Stafford's Second Response to Hommel (Part 1):

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 at http://www.pionet.com/~cultrsch/trinitytopicindex.htm. }}

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 without 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?

"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:


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.

To which Hartley replied:

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.

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?


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).

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.


Hartely states:

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.

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:

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.

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:

"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.

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:

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.

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:

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.

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:

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.

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!


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 nave 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:

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:

[[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?]]

{{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).



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