A Response to Don Hartley on the Matter of the Colwell Construction, Luke 7:39, and the Use of Theology in Grammatical Studies
by Greg Stafford
I will get right to the heart of the issues that have been the focus of my discussion with Don Hartley for several months, by focusing squarely on each and every single point made by him in his last response, to me. Hartley's words will be indented with smaller type, as are the occasional quotes from other sources, which are clearly identifiable as such. Don Hartley has made numerous claims with respect to my views of John 1:1, the Trinity, his treatment of Luke 7:39, and other related subjects. These will be presented and discussed in detail as we proceed, and their relationship to the title of this response will, I believe, become manifest. Let us begin.
On 11/15/99 Greg sent me (along with Dave Sherrill) an e-mail disputing a clear instance of a qualitative sense to a particular singular count noun in Luke's Gospel. He questions both the rendering of the passage and the sense I give to it claiming, among other things, that I misquote and mistranslate Luke 7:39, ignore the indefinite pronoun (TIS, "who") and by doing so I obfuscate "this point so that [I] can continue to promote a Q sense for singular preverbal PNs, by omitting relevant portions of the text from [my] translation." In his words this is "alarming, to say the least."
A point of clarification needs to made here: What Don Hartley means by "a clear instance of a qualitative sense to a particular singular count noun in Luke's Gospel" is that the noun (in this case hAMARTWLOS ["a sinner"]) does not have an indefinite sense at all, but is only used in this text (Luke 7:39) to emphasize the subject's "qualities." It should also be noted that Hartley assumes that this is a "clear instance" of hAMARTWLOS used with a Q sense. There is, then, good reason why we should expect little else but undisputable facts to be given in support of his contention.
In January I was subsequently sent an e-mail which clipped a discussion of his, including an extended portion of his recent edition, concerning my lack of response and supposed misquotation of Luke 7:39. Among the predictable ad hominems he accuses me of several inaccuracies.
Hartley's sloppy wording in his above comments (notably his ambiguous use of "he") gives the impression that I am the one who sent this second email, in January. That is not true, regardless of whether he meant to indicate as much, or not. Shortly after Hartley posted his reply on the matter of his misuse of Luke 7:39, I sent him and David Sherrill an email explaining that his comments on this point were misleading. Hartley did not reply, and no change has been made to his response. Fortunately, David Sherrill has been most gracious in adding a brief reply to his presentation of this debate, which adds some clarity to Hartley's presentation.
Also, for someone whose writings are filled with ad hominem after ad hominem, I don't think Hartley is in a position to complain about alleged attacks against him, from anyone. His concept of ad hominem-free debates is well illustrated in what he writes in every single one of his contributions to this discussion. If the reader would like me to point to a number of examples where this is the case, please send me an email. Otherwise, I am confident you will meet with quite a few examples below. As it is, I am not interested in playing the ad hominem game with Hartley. I will instead try to deal with the important issues, and his attempts to justify his faulty analyses and conclusions. This does not mean that I will be easy on him when he commits what I consider unacceptable errors in relation to what I wrote, or in his handling of the Bible text. I will not hold back from calling things as I see them.
Below I will deal first of all with Stafford’s own inaccuracies concerning what I have actually said and/or written on the subject and second, I will present a defense for understanding the singular count noun in Luke 7:39 (HAMARTOLOS) as Q. I maintain that this is not an unclear but rather clear instance of the Q (= Q-d) sense. Stafford, as shall be revealed below, is staunchly opposed to this rendering to any singular count noun because it damages his theological view of THEOS in John 1:1c.
Let me make several observations of my own, here: 1) The reader will see, in just a moment in fact, that Hartley has once again failed to understand my objections to his view, even though I have stated them in plain language several times already. 2) Am I staunchly opposed to any singular count noun being given a "Q" sense? This is an utter misrepresentation of the facts, as we will see further, below. My theological view of John 1:1c. is just what the clause says, "the Word was a god." This is not a circular argument, for the grammar most readily lends itself to this understanding, more so than any other and I will argue this point in relation to Hartley's preferred view of Q for THEOS in 1:1c., below.
But Hartley's and other Trinitarians' attempts aside, John 1:1c. uses a singular noun in the predicate position, for a singular personalistic subject. It is a count noun, and as such rather appropriately yields an indefinite sense, especially when predicated of one who is revealed as distinct from ("with") another being (not "person") identified as hO THEOS in a context where the Word is called THEOS. The importance of this point and Hartley's failure to grasp it will be further explained, below. The burden rests squarely on the shoulders of Trinitarians to prove that in such a context the grammar and vocabulary of John 1:1 can result in any other meaning.
Thus, I do object to an attempt by him and others to insert Trinitarianism into the Scriptures. Again, the grammar of John 1:1 is not complicated, and hardly unclear. There is no legitimate objection that can be made against the rendering of the NWT. One might offer other renderings, but there is no iron-clad way of shutting down the "a god" rendering, which Trinitarians are forced to do, since such a translation is at odds with their preferred view of God. That is precisely why Hartley contorts the examples of singular, anarthrous, PN count nouns preceding the verb, in his thesis, online article and in his discussions with me, in such a way that they come out looking like just what the Dr. ordered, in order to give biblical sanction to the post-biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
Stafford’s Incorrect Inferences
When I refer to errors in Stafford's book, I am largely referring to how he treats the Colwell construction and now my thesis. I will clearly demonstrate below that he has completely misunderstood the nature of my statements, and because of that basic misunderstanding, has gone to great lengths in attempting to substantiate a conspiratorial purpose behind my findings. The nature of his errors will be made quite plain below in this section. I will follow with another section showing why I understand the passage in Luke as I do, and attempt to illustrate why Stafford fails to comprehend the syntactical structuring of the passage.
Once again Hartley's confidence is supreme: "I will clearly demonstrate"; "because of that basic misunderstanding"; "The nature of his errors will be made quite plain"; "Stafford fails to comprehend the syntactical structuring of the passage." We should, then, expect nothing less to be clearly demonstrated.
Let me state what I think is the most salient failure on Stafford's part in this particular matter. Simply put, he misses the syntactical function of the OTI-clause in Luke 7:39 and consequently fails to understand my rendering of this passage in the thesis. If he had simply attempted to comprehend this one factor, the charges from his vantage would have evaporated very quickly. Stafford's fuming is a good example of heat without much light and much ado about nothing. Let me now lay out the presuppositional errors promulgated in his correspondence and address them squarely.
Frankly, I see a lot more "heat" than "light" in the above paragraph, and in Hartley's replies as a whole. But I leave his hypocritical rhetoric to him, as it is issues of far greater importance that I am after. Incidentally, my objection had nothing to do with "heat," but was based soundly on a particular misuse and omission of a key grammatical term, by Hartley in his thesis. Let me here repeat my charge against Hartley, regarding his misuse of Luke 7:39. On pages 341-342 of the second edition of my book, and also in a private email to Don Hartley, I argued:
Another example where Hartley’s preferred view for PN-V texts overrides good judgement is Luke 7:39. Here 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."
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 [tiv", tis] and what kind of woman [kaiV potaphV h& gunhV, kai potape he gune] is touching him, that she is a sinner." Because Hartley ignores the reference to who she is 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.
 Hartley, "Criteria for Determining Qualitative Nouns," 62.
 There are no variants that omit tis.
Just so there is no misunderstanding as to what I 'failed to understand' and what Hartley is going to demonstrate, it is Hartley's contention that he rightly (and knowingly?) chose not to translate TIS (an omission which has significant consequences for how one views the PN hAMARTWLOS [see below]) because of "the syntactical function of the OTI-clause." Before he attempts to demonstrates this, we must clear away his terrible misunderstanding and subsequent misrepresentation of my arguments:
False premise #1: I argue that all singular count nouns are Q.
Stafford writes, "There is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that singular count nouns placed before a copulative verb convey ONLY the idea of qualitativeness."
Now I would like Stafford (or anyone else) to produce the data on this one! Where do I ever write/convey/infer such a thing? This premise is flatly untrue and an example of a careless reading and uncritical caricature of my position. I hold that a singular count noun can exude several semantic nuances among which are I (indefinite), D (definite), D-Q (definite-qualitative), I-Q (indefinite-qualitative) and Q (qualitative). All of these semantic options are found in the Colwell construction and equally true of its post-copulative counter part. I have consistently maintained this position and have never stated anywhere otherwise. Stafford knows this and thus one finds no quotes from me accompany his charge. I have stated this fact so many times and in so many ways as to be absolutely certain as to the nature of Stafford's action here. He is simply lying. It is that simple.
Hartley has so badly misunderstood and misrepresented my position that it is hard to imagine he could possibly come to grips with the more serious errors of his thesis and theology. I do not, in the above quote, or anywhere else, claim that Hartley believes ALL singular count PNs preceding the copula are Q. My comments, as quoted by Hartley above, are referring to the possibility that evidence exists for any singular count noun PN preceding the verb to convey only the idea of qualitativeness. Let us make a simple comparison:
Quote: "There is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that singular count nouns placed before a copulative verb convey ONLY the idea of qualitativeness."
Hartley's understanding: "There is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that all singular count nouns placed before a copulative verb convey ONLY the idea of qualitativeness."
True meaning: "There is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that any singular count noun placed before a copulative verb conveys ONLY the idea of qualitativeness."
My statement is rather clear, in fact. The only real claim one could extrapolate from what I said was that singular count nouns placed before the copulative verb do not convey a Q-only sense. (NOTE: my claim is made in reference to what sense singular count nouns cannot have; it is not a restatement of Hartley's view!) In fact, in my Surrejoinder to Don Hartley: Q-Class Count Nouns, John 1:1c, and Other Related Matters I specifically referred to Hartley's claim:
"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)."
I have frequently made it known that if Trinitarian apologists like Rob Bowman or Don Hartley have any questions about what I wrote then they should ask for clarification before advancing a convoluted form of the argument, which I would gladly clarify, even though what I have on such issues is quite clear, in context. Indeed, in this example clarification is not needed, but if he had any doubts and, given the significance of his claim about what I had said, he should have emailed me and made sure before embarrassing himself further by showing an utter and unacceptable failure to appreciate a very basic observation, one which I have repeated time and time again in my writings on this subject, namely, there is no hard evidence for any singular count noun preceding the copulative verb to be given a Q-only sense. But apparently Hartley is more concerned about trying to get mileage out his horrible mischaracterization of the situation. Note the rhetoric:
1) "This premise is flatly untrue and an example of a careless reading and uncritical caricature of my position."
2) "Stafford knows this and thus one finds no quotes from me accompany his charge."
3) "He is simply lying. It is that simple."
1) As I said, I do not advance the premise he claims I advance; 2) of course I know what Hartley's contentions are, as I repeated them in my replies, giving quotes from him for his very own position (not the one Hartley imagines I advance); 3) it is much simpler than that, for I do not even claim what he claims I lied about. Of course, the above is a startling example of how Hartley is far more interested in "heat" than "light," contrary to what he would have us believe. I have nothing further to say about Hartley's unbelievably "hot" misrepresentation. If he chooses to apologize, fine. At this point, though, the "light" he claims to embrace is really only "darkness" (Matthew 6:23).
False premise #2: I force singular count nouns into the Q category to support Trinitarian notions in John 1:1.
Stafford writes, "This [above] is a forced view that is predicated on salvaging an unbiblical view of God and the Word in John 1:1."
Once again, Stafford fails to understand the methodology of my endeavor as well as its non-dogmatic nature. Nothing in my study is "forced" to fit anything and Stafford has continually floundered in this regard to substantiate that predictable but false claim of his.
Hartley apparently does not understand the very simple fact that I am challenging his claim that he is not, ultimately, trying to force a preferred theology into the text of John 1:1c. He does this, not only with regard to the PN in this text, but elsewhere in reference to God's alleged omnipresence. This last point was discussed in my Surrejoinder and Hartley was exposed for reading his theology into the text yet again. But do we really expect Hartley to come clean and say, "Yes, I am guilty of reading unbiblical theology into the Bible, and my thesis is a vehicle through which I hope to accomplish this aim"?
Hartley is doing the only thing he can do at this point, and that is obfuscate and deny like there is no tomorrow. The truth is, I understand Hartley's "methodology" all too well, and that is precisely why his games do not work, here. Hartley is reduced to his predictable rhetoric, "Stafford has continually floundered," etc. It is also worth noting that Hartley here claims a "non-dogmatic nature" for his methodology, and yet elsewhere he tells us how "clear" his reasoning and conclusions are, with respect to a variety of examples in his thesis.
The fallacious nature of this premise is based upon the previous false premise above, namely that I hold that all singular count nouns in a pre-verbal anarthrous construction (Colwell construction) are Q.
Since this allegedly "fallacious nature of this premise" is, according to Hartley, based on a "previous false premise" that I have never claimed, and that Hartley simply invented out of thin air in contradiction to what I have clearly stated on the matter, is it not evident to all, even to staunch Trinitarian supporters, that Hartley's contentions are a mass of a horribly misunderstood and convoluted beliefs? What is more, what he considers a "premise" is really not a "premise" at all, that is one used to support a follow-up conclusion; rather, what Hartley calls my "premise (namely, my argument that he is forcing a preferred view into the text) is the conclusion of premises given elsewhere, premises that are made up of clear examples of Hartley's manipulation of the Bible text. Let me try to make this point more clear: In his above comments Hartley takes a conclusion of mine and claims that it is a premise that is based on a previous premise, a premise that I have never advanced!
He then goes further and indicates that (1) this is a forced view (a view I don't even hold), and (2) based on Trinitarianism, which he calls an "unbiblical view of God." Again, he fails to admit that my study was based on linguistic science, not the dogma of the church--right or wrong they are (and they are right on the nature of God).
I have already shown where and how you have convicted yourself of asininity by misrepresenting conclusions as premises and claiming that I advanced premises that I do not advance. What is more, your views with respect to the PN in John 1:1c. are not based on "linguistic science," at all. That is your claim. You are wrong, and I have shown this by pointing out critical flaws in your presentation of the data. I do not know what "church" you are claiming has the "right" view of the nature of God, but any church that advances a Trinitarian view of God is guilty of promoting false worship.
Of course, what should we expect from Hartley on this point? If anyone thinks he is going to own up to the flaws in his thesis and admit that he is forcing his view of God into the Bible, that is not going to happen. It would take a significant amount of humility for that to occur, and based on what I have seen from Don Hartley thus far (his attitude, misrepresentations, and evolving attempts to obfuscate), unfortunately, I am not sure he has it, yet. Of course, worshipers of the true God and followers of the true Jesus Christ should continue to pray for clarity and that a more honest, soul-searching disposition be given to Don, in hopes that someday he might come to accept God and Christ as they are revealed in Scripture, rather than how they are revealed in the Creeds of post-biblical times.
The study was conducted from a lexical-grammatical-syntactical-semantical grid, is statistical, independent of theology as a governing criterion, and in the end detrimental to Watchtower theology.
That is not true. Your study is driven by your commitment to a particular theology, for a thesis prepared at a school that will accept nothing detrimental to Trinitarian theology by their students or faculty. You can make all of the claims about what you believe was the true driving force behind your thesis, but the facts contradict you. If you choose to deny it, well, that is really no surprise.
It is unfortunate that he has to reject what he pejoratively calls "research" when that is exactly what it is. Again, to understand JWs rendering of John1:1c as I-Q is not impossible, but is statistically quite improbable. That is a statement from probabilistic science, not dogmatic theology.
Did I ever say you claimed that an I-Q rendering of THEOS in John 1:1c. was "impossible"? Then why bring it up as if I did? In my book and in my Surrejoinder I make it very clear that you may have had some admirable motivations for your research. But we are talking about very specific issues and problems in your thesis, and these problems take away from other credible aspects of your research. Your continual denial of the very obvious flaws and your outright manipulation of certain texts only serves to bring your stated objectives into more question and doubt.
The fact is, there is not one clear example of an anarthrous count noun PN preceding the verb, in the NT, where the resulting sense is Q. There is always either an indefinite or definite semantic involved, and the fronting of the PN is what conveys, in many cases, an emphasis on the qualities of the substantive. In the case of John 1:1c., it is not only possible that I or I-Q is the intended sense, nor even probable, but practically undeniable in view of what is stated in clause B. But when your theology tells you to deny what the text says to accept, unfortunately, for many, theology often wins out, as it has in your case.
False premise #3: Harner taught a qualitative sense but it can be understood legitimately as I-Q.
Stafford writes, "Indeed, even if we accepted a qualitative-only sense for THEOS in John 1:1c (and that is what the Society argues for in their Appendix in the 1984 Reference Bible, based on the studies of Harner and others [though the sense in which they view the qualitativeness of THEOS is different from Harner, of course]), then that would mean that the Word is "with God" (thus he is not the God he is "with" [not simply "the person"]), and is himself an owner of divine nature."
This is a subject that captured my interests from the beginning and which treatment earned the label the abuse of Harner's research. Anyone interested can go back and re-read what I have said on this matter. It is clear that Harner's article (1) never implied I-Q from Q--although he included (and created?) the category of I-Q,
I, too, encourage those interested to go back and reread what Hartley wrote about this in his previous communications, but there you will only find the same misrepresentation of what I have actually claimed, as you can plainly see here. From Hartley's words above one would think that I am in some sense claiming that it is legitimate to say that Harner "implied I-Q from Q." Hartley has again failed to understand the very plain language and observations in what I wrote. Please reread his quotation above, just below the bolded False premise #3 heading.
Now, what did I there say? That Harner accepted an implication of I-Q from Q? Absolutely not. My words are clear: We could accept, as did the Society, a Q-only sense for the PN in John 1:1c., based on Harner's conclusions (many of which are very subjective, and, hence, questionable), but that the preceding clause demands an indefinite sense in addition to a potential Q sense for the PN in 1:1c! I am not appealing to Harner for the indefinite semantic, but to the immediate context, the very sentence in which the clause under consideration is introduced! I even make it known that the Q sense which Jehovah's Witnesses or myself might accept for THEOS in John 1:1c. is different from how Harner views it, since his view relates to a Trinitarian concept of God. He is not going to accept anything but a qualitative sense in which the LOGOS shares equally in the nature of the one triune God. That is certainly a theological construct, and has nothing to do with the grammar of the clause itself.
As for who created the category of I-Q or even Q-I (which is in my view merely a shift in emphasis), while they did not give a technical label to the term, Jehovah's Witnesses are the ones who argued that the use of THEOS in John 1:1c. conveyed the qualities of the noun (a view shared by other commentators and grammarians of that time) but that it also had an indefinite sense, hence their translation "a god." It is Jehovah's Witnesses who first accepted and advanced an I-Q or Q-I sense, at least in our modern times. (I would argue that early theologians like Origin [see below] came close to this very same semantic, though for reasons other than syntax, namely, the absence of the Greek article.) Thus, once again we find considerable misrepresentation and a significant lack of insight in Hartley's attempts to highlight alleged false premises in my arguments.
(2) never implied (nor can it be inferred) partial characteristics, qualities or essence to Q,
Since no Jehovah's Witness that I know, and certainly not I myself, claim that a resulting qualitativeness equates in this case to "partial characteristics, qualities or essence" this is nothing more than another misrepresentation of the facts, and attempt to obfuscate. Quite frankly, I have had about enough of it.
and (3) never made the determination as to the sense of THEOS in John 1:1 from theology.
We know from his JBL article that Harner studied the anarthrous PN preceding the verb in a variety of texts, and drew subjective conclusions about the sense of the PN involved. When it comes to his understanding of the qualitative sense he attributed to the PN in John 1:1c., Harner makes the driving force behind his understanding quite clear. He refers to R. E. Brown who regards the translation "the Word was God" as correct "for a modern Christian reader whose Trinitarian background has accustomed him to thinking of ‘God’ as a larger concept than ‘God the Father’" (Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns," 86 [emphasis added]).
On pages 86 and 87 of his article Harner also states: "In terms of the analysis that we have proposed, a recognition of the qualitative significance of THEOS would remove any ambiguity in his [Bultmann’s] interpretation by differentiating between THEOS, as the nature that the Logos shared with God, and hO THEOS as the ‘person’ to whom the Logos stood in relation. Only when this distinction is made clear can we say of the Logos that ‘he was God.’"
Then, after referring to the translations of John 1:1c in the RSV and The Jerusalem Bible ("the Word was God"), NEB ("what God was, the Word was"), and the translation offered in the Good News for Modern Man ([TEV] "he was the same as God"), Harner makes it clear just what "problem" he is attempting to solve:
The problem with all of these translations is that they could represent clause A [which, according to Harner and others, would identify the Father and Son as the same "person"], in our analysis above, as well as B. This does not mean, of course, that the translators where not aware of the issues involved, nor does it necessarily mean that they regarded the anarthrous theos as definite because it precedes the verb. But in all of these cases the English reader might not understand what John was trying to express. Perhaps the clause could be translated, "the Word had the same nature as God." This would be one way of representing John’s thought, which is, as I understand it, that ho logos [the Word], no less than ho theos [the God], had the nature of theos [Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns," 87 (emphasis added)].
It is very obvious, then, that Harner is against the translation "the Word was God" because it might not clearly convey the Trinitarian, "personal" distinction between the Word and the God with whom he existed. Harner prefers a translation which allows for a Trinitarian distinction between the two, which also expresses an equal sharing of the nature of God between the two "persons." Thus, it is disingenuous for Hartley, or anyone else, to claim that Harner does not have a clearly expressed desire to bring the sense of the PN in John 1:1c. into harmony with a Trinitarian concept of God. At least Harner is more upfront and obvious about his aim, and does not hide behind the guise of a strictly scientific/linguistic approach to the issue.
Hartley has, to this point, failed in each of his attempts to express a comprehension of my arguments, my understanding and use of Harner's material, and has grossly mischaracterized my position to the point where he claims that I advance notions with respect to his thesis which I do not, and yet he uses his misguided attack as a basis for calling into question my honesty. All of this, of course, is viewed as "light," not "heat," by Hartley. Unfortunately, it only gets worse. He writes:
The problem with Stafford's view is that he cannot sustain a linguistically viable solution to understanding THEOS in John 1:1c as characteristically different than that of John 1:1b. The differences lie in the personal referents (Father, Word) and the nature of the propositions involved. Sadly, I don't think Stafford has ever really understood this crucial point.
The truth of the matter is, I have presented a linguistic and historical analysis of the issues pertaining to the grammar, vocabulary and historical background of John 1:1.Hartley does not even acknowledge the arguments I have advanced, let alone dent their viability. If he had taken any kind of notice of my arguments, he would know that his very words above, concerning the "personal referents" in John 1:1, is a circular argument. John 1:1 does not mention the persons of either the Father or the Word. In fact, no direct mention is made of the Father, at all! This is precisely the kind of eisegesis that informs just about every single Trinitarian attempt to make sense of this text. It is precisely this kind of circular argument that is addressed, explained and refuted in Chapter 2 and Chapter 6 of my second edition.
Hartley has no idea what he is talking about when he says, "Sadly, I don't think Stafford has ever really understood this crucial point." If he would take the time to read what I wrote then he would know that I do understand this very important point, and that is precisely why it is so easy spot and refute his Trinitarian assumptions. The text of John 1:1 could not be clearer: The Word is distinguished from the God (not the "person") he is "with," and is himself "a god." This is easily supported by the grammar of the passage. I do not have to switch an ontological term ("God") with a personal term ("the Father") which is itself colored by assumptions informing a Trinitarian concept of the Father as the "first person of the Trinity," nor do I have to give a count use of THEOS a non-count sense. As I have explained time, and time, and time again: In Trinitarianism there is only one God, the Trinity. Jesus is "with" God, but since he cannot be "with" the Trinity, then Trinitarians have to substitute "God" for "the Father," and assume Trinitarianism as the outset of their interpretation, which is then the only conclusion they can possibly reach! It is and always will be nothing more than a circular argument, one that involves the ripping apart of the text and the putting of it back together with their preferred pieces.
Now his understanding of John 1:1b as a separate God than 1:1c ("thus he is not the God he is 'with'"), is an example of reading his Watchtower theology into the text, a failure to understand the nature of the article before THEOS (1:1b) as a personal referent (which cannot be denied), and case of falling victim to his own referential fallacy--THEOS when it refers to YHWH can only be the Father.
There are several rather ridiculous claims made here: 1) It is not my understanding or that of the Watchtower which holds that we have two separate beings called THEOS in John 1:1, that is what the text says. There is absolutely nothing about any personal referent in the text, and I have stated quite plainly the fact that the distinction is made in terms of THEOS, not "person." Now, can we agree that the THEOS (!) the Word is "with" is the Father? Yes. But Hartley apparently does not understand his own view, namely, that the "Father" to him is the first person of the consubstantial Trinity. There is absolutely nothing about such a meaning attached to the term "Father," in the Bible. This is simply an attempt to read his post-biblical theology into the text. Neither myself, nor any other Jehovah's Witness, can rightly be accused of doing that, for we are not attaching some unusual, biblically unarticulated meaning to the term "Father," as are Trinitarians. The Father is, in Scripture, the "only true God," the "one God," the "Most High God," "the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob" in distinction to "his servant Jesus," and He is "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (John 17:3; 1Co 8:4-6; Luke 1:32; Acts 3:13; 2Co 11:31; Rev 3:12).
Hartley's argument is just one big circle: He assumes Trinitarianism at the outset, rips out the ontological distinction between the Word and the God he is with from the text , and then claims that a personal distinction is so obvious it "cannot be denied"! Also, further evidence that he really has a fractured understanding of my position comes from his claim that I allegedly commit some referential fallacy (this from someone who claims that the true referent for hO THEOS in 1:1b. is the first "person" of the Trinity, and that it "cannot be denied"!) by asserting that "THEOS when it refers to YHWH can only be the Father." My question to Hartley, or any other Trinitarian, is: Where does "THEOS when it refers to YHWH" refer to anyone else? More to the point, where does "THEOS when it refers to YHWH" ever refer to the Trinity?
Returning to my alleged "failure to understand the nature of the article before THEOS (1:1b)," let us hear from one who is much closer in time to the writing of John's Gospel, Origen:
God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Savior says in His prayer to the Father, "That they may know Thee the only true God;" but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (without the article), but rather God (with the article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods besides Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, "The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth" [Psalm 136:2]. It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for they drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to his own bounty. The true God, then, is "The God," and those who are formed after him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype (Commentary on John, Book 2 [ANF10 p. 365]).
Of course, Origen was probably just trying to protect Watchtower theology, and should be dismissed as a heretic. Strange, though, how he came to roughly the same conclusion as the Watchtower now does, when it comes to the use of the article creating a marked distinction between the God the Word is with, and the divine prototype he is, being the first to "attract to Himself divinity" before others did the same through him. The point, though, is that the article is significant in a context where two different beings ("God" and the "Word") are distinguished in terms of THEOS; only one of them is considered hO THEOS in such a context.
As we have already seen, however, a Trinitarian is not bound by such salient facts. Some quick reinterpretation based on word and concept substitution, mixed in with a pile of absurd claims belittling others who actually interpret the words of the text apart from any such substitute theology, and the problem is solved. It is sad, but true, as Hartley has so aptly demonstrated.
Additionally, Hartley's repeated failure to come to grips with Trinitarians' consistent abuse of the biblical terms for "G-god," as explained in detail in Chapter 2 of my second edition, is nothing short of remarkable and unacceptable for someone in his position, especially when you consider what has to say, next:
I have attempted to demonstrate this fallacy several times and it is clear that he is unable or unwilling to acquiesce to the most salient points on this matter (John 4:24 for example where O THEOS refers to God the Father, yet understood by him to mean O THEOS = the Father only).
I believe it is painfully obvious that Hartley has long ago disconnected from meaningful consideration of the issues. As I just explained, there is no fallacy being committed here, except that which Hartley continues to unabashedly promote, all the while having no idea what he is actually saying. His only objection is that I will not grant his assumption of a Trinitarian distinction between the Word and the God he is "with." Why would I choose not to grant his request? Because such a distinction is not anywhere stated or even implied in the text, and he himself has to excise and then replace the terms in the text with terms agreeable to his own theology. The use of hO THEOS in John 4:24 is a good example: Because the referent is clearly the Father (both Hartley and I admit to that [though his understanding of the term "Father" is colored by post-biblical theology as noted above"]), and yet because I see absolutely nothing in the text that should make me even consider thinking of a multi-personal referent for hO THEOS in this (or any other) text, I am the one who "is unable or unwilling to acquiesce to the most salient points on this matter"!
We are somehow supposed to believe that because Hartley can take a use of hO THEOS that is clearly used in reference to the Father, and accept that it may be inclusive of more than one "person" (as understood by Trinitarians) when only one person is in view ( = special pleading based on theological assumptions), then he is the logical one. He is involved in non-fallacious reasoning. What, may I ask, are you willing (or 'able,' to use Hartley's "heat"-filled language) to "acquiesce?
Indeed, as remarkable as it may seem, what Hartley is saying is that my point (about the use of hO THEOS in John 4:24 referring only to the Father) is not "salient," but that his point (namely, that hO THEOS can be inclusive of more "persons" than the Father in John 4:24) is salient! I am not sure it could get any worse for the Trinitarian party, than this. If anyone can read John 4:21-24 and conclude that my assertion is somehow illogical and non-salient, while Hartley's is both logical and salient, then I admit to being at a complete loss of words as to how to explain this most impressive and unfortunate phenomenon.
Stafford's arguments here and elsewhere are based squarely on his theology, an ignoring of the grammar and linguistic information, as well as an exhibition of a great deal of naiveté. The underlying cause is a logical inferential blunder squarely attributed to his protectionism of WT theology.
More heat vented in what I can now say is truly a cave of spiritual and intellectual darkness. My arguments are not as Hartley has portrayed them, and in fact it is his arguments that are based on unbiblical theology. I have nothing further to add in response to such an impotent series of false claims and ad hominems, as given by Hartley above. Sadly, though, he is not finished:
Let me illustrate the problem logically since I have already done so grammatically in previous responses. The classical syllogism states, If A then B; A, therefore B. The fallacy to this syllogism is, If A then B; B, therefore, A. Lets give the typical illustration to this syllogism and then apply this to Stafford's claim. A = It is raining; B = There are clouds in the sky. If it is raining, then there are clouds in the sky. This is a necessary and valid inference. The false inference (affirming of the consequent) is stated, If there are clouds in the sky, then it is raining. This is an unnecessary and invalid inference as well as empirically false on many occasions (cloudy but rainless days). Now let me apply it to Stafford's view of God. A = The referent is the Father; B = the nature of the referent is YHWH. If the referent is the Father, then the nature of the referent is YHWH. This is a necessary and valid conclusion. But the converse is not necessarily true. If the nature of the referent is YHWH, then the referent is the Father. This is the exact type of invalid reasoning that Stafford commits with impunity--it is his theological a priori about the nature of God that compels him to commit such logical blunders and make such infelicitous accusations against me.
It can be demonstrated by observation that clouds in the sky do not necessarily mean that it is raining. Where is the evidence that if the nature of the referent is YHWH, then the referent is not the Father alone, but may involve some other(s)? Hartley presents nothing but assumptions (= circular arguments based on his theological a priori concerning the Trinity)!
But what exactly is my argument with respect to John 1:1? It has nothing to do with the false syllogism Hartley presents, let alone with clouds and rain. My point, which I have published and repeated, is that Jesus is not the "God" he is with. There is nothing in the text about a distinction between the persons of a triune Godhead. The text simply says that the Word was "with" hO THEOS and that he himself was THEOS. So, whatever or whoever the Word is, be he YHWH or some other (the "only-begotten" [John 1:18]) G-god, he is not the God he is "with." That is all there is to it. It cannot be made simpler, it cannot be further broken down, it is very straightforward. But since Hartley cannot face this point squarely he convolutes the argument and sidesteps the issues.
Nowhere have I said that the predication of the Word as THEOS means that he cannot be YHWH. Nowhere have I said that the Word cannot be equal in every possible respect to the God he is with, even to the same degree! (I do not believe this is true, of course, but this is because of what is said elsewhere in the Prologue and in the whole of Scripture, not because of what is said in John 1:1.) What I have said and what I will continue to say is that he cannot be the God he is "with." Trinitarians have misused this text so badly over the years that in their minds they automatically substitute "Father" (= first person of the Trinity) for "God," and thereby assume their belief at the outset. That is precisely why they cannot understand, let alone refute, the point I am making. There is no other way I can express the facts so as to help them out of this situation.
Simply put, when O THEOS refers to the Father this does not mean that O THEOS is the Father only.
This is nothing more than an assumption based on Hartley's a priori. Where does any text or usage of hO THEOS in the NT or LXX imply that more than one personal referent is meant? We note that while Hartley continues to assume that more than one such Trinitarian referent can be envisioned, he gives absolutely no examples. On the other hand, I can have provided texts where the referent is in fact said to be one person without any indication at all that any other can be or is to be included. All we are getting from Hartley at this point, as previously, are repeated pleas for special consideration that are based on his theology, not on any use of hO THEOS or THEOS, in Scripture.
Secondly, when THEOS refers to the Logos (John 1:1c) it is linguistically proven and logically implied that the Logos is THEOS in the same way the Father (1:1b) is. Linguistics (my study) and logic are unequivocally contrary to Stafford's position (Watchtower theology).
No such linguistic or logical proof has been given. Still, in any event, again, has anyone suggested that the Word is THEOS in some other way than the Father? They are both divine spirits, but Hartley's unsolvable problem is that they are "with" each other as separate G-gods, one being the "only begotten god" and the other the God of the only-begotten god. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that the THEOI in John 10:34 or the ELOHIM of Psalm 8:5 are gods in some other way than the Father, either, for they, too, are divine spirits who exercise divine authority.
The difference, which is regularly expressed in Scripture, has to do with their relationship to one another and the degree to which the same attributes are possessed and expressed. God the Father is the God of the only-begotten god and the God of the gods mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, who are His sons and who belong to His heavenly court (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Psalm 136:2; 138:1; John 20:17; Rev 3:12). The degree to which He possesses and can choose to express the attributes of divinity are infinite, while the other gods who serve Him are finite, dependent on the Most High, the Father. A good example of this is the the dependence that the "life-giving spirit" (1Co 15:45) Jesus has on the Father for divine knowledge, having received the revelation from "God." Also, Jesus and the other angels are commissioned by God and seek to do His will, not their own, being "taught" by God (John 8:28). If Hartley and other Trinitarians would just let the Bible speak and stop forcing their theology and terminology into the text, they would see these very plain and clearly articulated points.
Incidentally, Stafford makes the same unsound inference when he refers to Hebrews 1:8 and asks, "How will Trinitarians get a qualitative-only sense out of its use . . ?" Hebrews 1:8 reads, "Thy throne O God is forever and ever . . . ." Here he fails to understand that it is God the Father (O THEOS, Heb. 1:1) talking to the Son as O THEOS (nom. for voc.). Thus the referent of O THEOS here is the Son and essentially can be rendered "God the Son." Thus it is YHWH the Father talking to YHWH the Son. Only an arm chair linguist could squeeze anything other than this sense and resultant meaning as even remotely probable--and I'm also referring equally to the article in the nominative used for the vocative (O THEOS). Even here, a specific referent to THEOS does not invalidate other members being inferred. Thus there is an elliptical yet implied appositional phrase following the use of O THEOS here for the Son as with the Father in John 1:1b. Stafford misses clear cases like these, where context demands such, and blindly follows his irrational a priori as demonstrated earlier. Worse yet, he bids others to follow him in this nefarious venture.
If anyone ever needed a clear and unambiguous example of exactly what I was talking about when I asked the very question Hartley here answers, you have it. Not only does he reveal a highly defective grasp of the grammar and Hebrew Vorlage of this text (or even the potential for an originally Hebrew book of Hebrews [see my book, second edition, pages 164-169]), but he basically does the very thing I said Trinitarians have to do when faced with a reference to "God" without qualification. What did Hartley do? He qualified it. How did he qualify it? With Trinitarianism!
The "God" who is speaking with the "God" who is allegedly addressed as such, is "the Father, the first person of the consubstantial Trinity." The "person" whom He allegedly calls "God" is "God the Son, the second person of the consubstantial Trinity." It is, as Hartley states, simply a matter of "YHWH the Father talking to YHWH the Son"!
This is not just a probable reading of the passage, mind you. No, "only an arm chair linguist could squeeze anything other than this sense and resultant meaning as even remotely probable," for the "context demands such," and those who ignore it are 'blindly following Stafford's irrational a priori.' But none of this is true of Hartley. He assumes nothing, everything is linguistically provable, contextually demanded, and (did you note this point?) "even here [in the alleged use of hO THEOS for the Son] a specific referent to THEOS does not invalidate other members being inferred"! In other words, even though Hartley rips apart the text and qualified the use of hO THEOS with Trinitarianism (as a reference to "God the Son") this could still be viewed as a multi-personal reference!
This admission and Hartley's overall handling of the use of THEOS for the Son is more damaging even than a direct reference to the one who is allegedly addressed as "O God" in 1:8, as one who has another existing as God over him, which is precisely what is done in 1:9! But there is an easy fix for this: Simply replace "your God" with "your God the Father, the first person of the Trinity," and allow this "person" of (the triune) God to be God of the Son's human nature, even though there is absolutely no change in reference from allegedly calling the Son THEOS (if this is so, then the use of the article is not necessarily significant, as vocative uses of the nominative regularly take the article), to making it plain that this same THEOS has one who is THEOS to him (that is, they are, as in John 1:1, not the same THEOS). The change in reference to a particular nature (human or divine) is simply added to the text, as were the other Trinitarian concepts which we previously noted.
Fallacy #4: Trinitarians are forced to view THEOS in John 1:1c as Q simply based on their theology.
Stafford writes, "while Trinitarians for years misled each other and the scholarly community about the meaning of THEOS (considering it a definite noun per Colwell's thesis), they are now doing everything in their power to force a qualitative-only sense onto a singular count noun used of a personalistic subject (the Word), because they now see that that view (the qualitative-only view) is the only one they can possibly attempt to associate with the assumed truth of Trinitarianism, which cannot survive a definite or indefinite semantic for THEOS in John 1:1, or elsewhere."
First, let me clear the air on Trinitarians supposedly misleading each other on the "meaning" of THEOS. The position of Colwell on John 1:1c (sense is D), is not to be equated with misleading others in regard to the meaning of THEOS. Colwell and others had a meaning of THEOS that was correct, but the sense of the noun they attributed to it (D) was incorrect. It appears obvious that this sense contradicted their meaning of THEOS, yet both were maintained simultaneously by both Colwell and his followers--and that is the problem. The sense attributed to THEOS turns the statement into a convertible proposition resulting in the inference that the Father = the Word. I and others have pointed this fallacy out on numerous occasions. But Stafford, because he misunderstands linguistic science, confuses the meaning of the term with the semantic sense applied to it by either D or Q (as well as the referent involved), simply pulls out his well-worn accusations rather than deals with the facts. Furthermore, he seems utterly unable to understand the resulting proposition these different senses demand.
The sense that was given to THEOS is precisely the point, and is entirely related to its meaning. The meaning they gave to THEOS ultimately was construed to be in harmony with Trinitarianism, but for different reasons. That is simply one of the many points you do not understand. Saying that the "Word was God" (= THEOS as a definite noun) is different than saying the "Word shares the same nature as God" or some other, similar convolution. To say that THEOS in 1:1c. is definite is to mislead people about both the meaning and sense of the term, as the two are related. But that did not stop them from maintaining a Trinitarian view of God; they simply did a variation of the same abuse in which you and other Trinitarians are engaged. Colwell and others either knowingly or unknowingly misled people about the sense and hence the meaning of THEOS, because it was entirely better than the more obvious indefinite sense with which they were faced. The main difference between you and Colwell is the sense and resulting meaning of THEOS in 1:1c., by which you are trying to mislead others into accepting a Trinitarian view of God. That you fail to understand my rather simple and accurate observation with respect to the misleading sense and meaning Trinitarians have in the past tried to use against an indefinite sense and resulting meaning, is not surprising. In fact, nothing you say at this point would surprise me, based on what I have read thus far.
Second, although I would understand the D sense as incompatible with Trinitarianism (never mind the statistical pool against it),
Which is precisely my point in relation to the meaning of THEOS in 1:1c. when it is given a D sense. However, we note again that the criteria for your selection of a particular sense for THEOS is governed not only by your highly inaccurate, subjective, and theologically motivated statistical analysis, but by its ultimate agreement with Trinitarianism, the assumed truth you use in reinterpreting texts of the Bible. This is further revealed by your next claim:
the I-Q sense could be used quite well with the Trinitarian notion intact--although it too is statistically improbable in John. If one keeps in mind that THEOS (1:1c) has the same qualities as O THEOS (1:1b), then the Word is a God in the same sense as the Father is a God. The indefinite sense is simply a marker of their joint membership in the same class with the same attributes (THEOS). They would be distinct personally but united essentially.
The I-Q sense utterly destroys Trinitarianism unless you simply give it the label but not the sense of the label. In other words, you say what you do not mean and mean what you do not say. You simply concede a certain "label" that you do not accept with respect to the actual term used (THEOS), replace THEOS with a person of THEOS, insert a concept that THEOS is actually a "class," make a (Trinitarian) "personal distinction, and claim that the Word is God the Son the second person of the Trinity, and that he is "with" the Father, the first person of the Trinity, and that they are "united essentially."
If ever there was a better example of ripping apart a text and replacing it with one's theology, all the while claiming that you can accept a label (I-Q) for the PN that you do not give it to begin with (that is, you do not give THEOS an I-Q sense even in your above hypothetical presentation!), I have never seen it. But, as before, it gets worse:
This does create problems for it implies two Gods, an illogical and unbiblical point of view. This rendition is at least linguistically defensible (THEOS doesn't change meanings in the passage but only referents), but would inevitably force one to reckon with the nature of the one God (YHWH). Thus, contrary to Stafford's insistence above, linguistically the I-Q is not as problematic, but logically it would be forced into the Trinitarian scheme due to more precise language elsewhere. In other words, since there is only one God, these indefinite senses would only be indefinite with reference to something other than being. They would have to be personal distinctions rather than ontologically distinct distinctions.
I do not know how many times this point has to be made: The distinction made in the text of John 1:1 is between hO THEOS and THEOS. There is nothing, anywhere, about "persons." When you say, "They would have to be personal distinctions rather than ontologically distinct distinctions," all you are doing is ignoring what the text says and substituting one word (THEOS) for theologically preferred expressions ("personal distinctions," "class," "essentially united," etc.) so that you can, as you admit, force the text "into the Trinitarian scheme due to more precise language elsewhere"! Where is this language for any such "personal distinctions" given in the Bible? It is not! Unless you are referring to the articulation of the Trinity by post-biblical writers, and using their language to force your view into the text (which is precisely what you are doing), your failure to present any such "language" or "personal distinctions" made elsewhere in the Bible, makes the very point you seek to avoid, but cannot.
Any indefinite sense truly (not some mirage acceptance, as by you above) attributed to THEOS in 1:1c is an admission that he is a separate G-god from the God the Word is "with." He is not "with" the "Father, the first person of the Trinity," nor with the "class" known as "God," namely, the triune being. You are, as before, simply reading your theology into the text. You continue to justify my original claim that your whole approach to this and other, related subjects is predicated on your preferred theology. In fact, you are not even doing a credible job of hiding what you are doing. The "one God" of the Bible is readily identified (1Co 8:6), and I have explained quite clearly how Trinitarian monotheism has nothing to do with biblical monotheism in Chapter 2 of my second edition. If you would take the time to read before you write, you might learn something about Trinitarians' fallacious use of "one God."
In concluding this section I have denied, in contradiction to Stafford's assertions, that (1) I hold all singular count nouns are Q,
You denied something I never claimed, thereby misrepresenting my position, and you also used your misrepresentation to launch a series of ad hominems against me, which you somehow construe as "light." You also, in the process, wasted significant time and clouded the real issues.
(2) I force singular count nouns into the Q category to support Trinitarian notions in John 1:1,
There is no doubt that you have and continue to do this very thing. That you would fail to admit this, and instead obscure the issues through misrepresentation, ad hominems, and other unprofessional means is not at all surprising.
(3) Harner taught a qualitative sense but it can be understood legitimately as I-Q, and that
You also misrepresented this issue, with respect to my use of Harner's article and his use of the categories Q and I-Q.
(4) Trinitarians are forced to view THEOS in John 1:1c as Q simply based on their theology.
Precisely. Of course, they can, as you in fact did, give the false impression that even an indefinite (!) sense for THEOS in John 1:1c. is somehow agreeable to Trinitarianism, but that is simply more exegetical and semantic sleight of hand, which Christians should have little difficulty identifying.
These accusations continue undeterred by the evidence I have marshaled forth in previous replies, but each one remains categorically untrue. I expect that these unfounded and unproven caricatures will continue to flow from Stafford's keyboard, but I remain optimistic in the ability of the critically minded to distinguish between fantasy and the facts.
I have nothing further to say about this, except that I agree whole-heartedly that the reader should have absolutely no trouble recognizing whose mind is in the clouds, and whose is based squarely on the linguistic, grammatical, historical, and theological evidence presented in Scripture.
And now, after we have cleared away the giant dust clouds kicked up by Hartley, we come to the key issue before us: Hartley's abuse of the grammar of Luke 7:39 in an attempt to skew the results of his thesis due to his theological commitments.
A Re-examination of Luke 7:39
This section deals with my initial comments in the thesis regarding Luke 7:39, the consequent misunderstanding of Stafford, and provides a validation of my initial rendering. It will be obvious from my thesis that I considered the nuance of the noun HAMARTOLOS an open and shut case. I omitted a detailed discussion of it only to have Stafford give his spurious rendition of how I arrived at the conclusion. Below, the pertinent passage in my thesis will be quoted and a few observations will be made before Stafford's comments are reproduced and critiqued as well.
Like a significant portion of what Hartley has said elsewhere, the above is not clear at all. He points to the fact that in his thesis he "considered the nuance of the noun HAMARTOLOS an open and shut case." But then he says, "I omitted a detailed discussion of it only to have Stafford give his spurious rendition of how I arrived at the conclusion." From this we are supposed to believe that an example of an "open and shut case" was purposefully kept from detailed analysis of this issue, "only to have Stafford give his spurious rendition of how I arrived at the conclusion," a conclusion that Hartley did not even know existed until several years after he mishandled Luke 7:39 in his thesis! Does anybody really believe this?
Now let us focus on his attempt to justify his handling of Luke 7:39:
Thesis Vs. JWD
Of the clearly qualitative occurrences include Luke 7:39b which reads, OTI HAMARTOLOS ESTIN. That she is sinful. 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, "Criteria for Determining Qualitative Nouns," pg. 62).
A few observations are necessary and to which further validation will make plain. First, the focus is on the phrase "OTI HAMARTOLOS ESTIN" as it further explicates the adjective. Second, the passage is giving the sense of this phrase only as it further explains the adjective what kind [POTAPH] rather than who [TIS] or "who and what kind." Third, the italics represent the sense rather than a strict translation of the entire passage, so to accuse of mistranslating is beyond the intent of the italics. Fourth, the translation (not given here) would actually read, "Now the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for [or that, or namely] she is sinful." Fifth, it is obvious that I refer to the adjective in the thesis as the explanation for the OTI-clause because I state that the predicate construction answers the question as to the kind of woman she is, not "who and what kind" of woman she is. The who she is is answered by "who is touching me" not the OTI-clause.
There are a host of major errors in what Hartley uses as justification for his misuse of Luke 7:39. First, he refers to hAMARTWLOS as an "adjective," when in fact it is used as both an adjective and as a substantive in the NT and in the LXX. (This is important for it again reveals Hartley's tendency to skew the facts, and it is significant in relation to the text's use and Hartley's omission of TIS, which I will explain further, below.) See BAGD, s.v., hAMARTWLOS (page 44) or just about any other lexical source for ancient Greek. Second, Hartley begs the question when he says "the passage is giving the sense of this phrase only as it further explains the adjective what kind [POTAPH] rather than who [TIS] or "who and what kind." This is a self-serving reaction intended to bring some sort of justification after the fact. Had Hartley made this claim in his thesis, and then proceeded to mistranslate Luke 7:39, at least then we could only argue that he was ignorant of the significance of the grammar, and presented a misguided "fix" to the indefinite sense demanded by TIS. But he did not; he just doctored the text, mistranslated the passage, and claimed that it was a 'clear' example of a Q-only sense. Of course, if hAMARTWOLOS is an adjective here, then such a sense is fine. But it is not, as TIS makes plain; that is why Hartley omitted the very term that makes trouble for his view.
Third, Hartley now claims that in his thesis he is not translating Luke 7:39, but just giving the sense of the text. Of course, if this is the case then the charge remains that he purposefully gave a false sense of the passage by omitting TIS. This does nothing to lessen the significance of his misuse of the passage, and the very use of this argument makes his actions further suspect. Fourth, there is yet another attempt to falsify the data, for Hartley claims:
Fifth, it is obvious that I refer to the adjective in the thesis as the explanation for the OTI-clause because I state that the predicate construction answers the question as to the kind of woman she is, not "who and what kind" of woman she is. The who she is is answered by "who is touching me" not the OTI-clause.
Nowhere in his thesis does Hartley even mention the "who." Nowhere is the reader even made aware of the presence of TIS. We already know that Hartley thinks that "the predicate construction answers the question as to the kind of woman she is." What I am pointing out is that Hartley does not give the option of any other view by mentioning and honestly addressing the significance of TIS. He simply omits it! How is it that the predicate construction "answers the question as to the kind of woman she is, not 'who and what kind' of woman she is"? What is more, what gives Hartley the right to excise portions of the text because of what he thinks is obvious? Again, we already know what Hartley thinks. We are talking about his dishonest use of the text to promote what he thinks. Apparently he does not even understand the very basic and significant charge being leveled against his work at this point. Will this change? Let us find out:
Now let me quote from Stafford and his book to note where he went wrong in assuming he understood what was going on here. Below I list at least seven areas where he errs in drawing improper conclusions from my statements. Stafford writes,
[Quote from JWD2]
Another example where Hartley's preferred view for PN-V texts overrides good judgement (sic) is Luke 7:39. Here 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, "Criteria for Determining Qualitative Nouns," 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 (JWD, 2nd ed. pp. 341-42).
[End of quote; return to Hartley's comments]
Stafford's errors are multiple. First, he accuses me of misquoting Luke 7:39 but that is simply wrong-headed (see below).
In spite of Hartley's use of ad hominems in place of arguments here, he does misquote and misuse the text for reasons given above. See below for more on this point.
Second, I do not have the Pharisee thinking solely on what kind of woman in the passage is. This is an incorrect inference (one of several) on Stafford's part. Instead, I am focusing only on what the latter phrase is further explicating, not denying that the Pharisee is reflecting on both factors, i.e., who and what sort of woman she is. The goof on Stafford's part is failing to understand what the OTI-clause modifies here, not on what the Pharisee is thinking! In other words, although the Pharisee thinks of who and what kind of woman she is, it is the latter that occupies his attention at last with the final clause. Because the OTI-clause modifies only the latter part, Stafford thinks that I deny the whole of what is thought.
I am honestly not certain that Hartley is in possession of all his faculties at this point. Hartley says absolutely nothing about the "who" in the text, and, as he says here, "it is the latter [the 'what sort of'] that occupies his attention at last with the final clause." This is precisely the point to which I am objecting, and precisely why I am drawing people's attention to portions of the text omitted by Hartley in an attempt to obfuscate the meaning and skew the results of his thesis.
Hartley wants us to believe that he acknowledges (though he never does so in his thesis) that "the Pharisee is reflecting on both factors, i.e., who and what sort of woman she is," but that when it comes to the use of hAMARTWLOS as a predicate for the woman, "it is the latter that occupies his attention at last with the final clause." And, "Because the OTI-clause modifies only the latter part, Stafford thinks that I deny the whole of what is thought." This is nothing short of begging the question with respect to the Pharisee's "reflection," and merely underscores the very point I am making about Hartley's misuse of the text! We are not left guessing about what is on the Pharisee's mind. He tells us through John: "This man, if he were the prophet, he would know who [TIS] and what sort of [POTAPH] woman is touching him, that she is a sinner [hAMARTWLOS]."
The predicate hAMARTWLOS answers to both "who" and "what sort of," and therefore cannot be simply an adjective nor a Q-only substantive, for neither of these answers the question of "who" and that is precisely why Hartley omits TIS and its English equivalent from his translation! If I could make this any simpler I would. The facts are clear and require no further comment.
Third, Stafford fails to understand that I was not ignoring the indefinite pronoun TIS, but was instead pointing out the correct antecedent to OTI which is the adjective not the pronoun.
Hartley does ignore the indefinite pronoun TIS, omitting from his discussion and translation of the text in question. How else could one more effectively ignore it?
Hartley continues to beg the question about the correct antecedent to hOTI, with absolutely no justification for limiting the Pharisee's very clear reflection on both the "who" and the "what sort of" as expressed in the text itself. Hartley is clearly in a panic at this point. And I am not sure how much longer I will agree to help him with his problems. At some point the party in need has to show some signs of remorse or at least acknowledge the problem. Anything less is evidence that he really does not want help, and the compounding affect of his dishonest use of the text, coupled with his gross misrepresentation of my arguments and views, will likely only have a greater affect on his mental, moral, and spiritual fortitude. I truly hope he can avoid this eventuality.
Fourth, he argues that I arrive at my view based on an incorrect translation, when in fact I argue for the rendering based on the proper functioning of the OTI-clause.
As I said, Hartley is begging the question and only serving to further highlight the lack of reference to TIS in your thesis, which is the very point at issue. The proper view of the hOTI-clause and the predicate it contains is one that accepts both antecedents that are said to be part of the Pharisee's thought or at least recognize the connection between the implied subject ("she") of the copula verb and hH GUNH, which is syntactically related to TIS KAI POTAPH, not to excise the part of the text which destroys your preferred view.
Fifth, he assumes that I turn a noun into an adjective rather than give a qualitative sense to a noun--which he obviously denies here.
That is precisely what you do. "Sinful" is an adjective, not a noun. The predicate hAMARTWLOS cannot be viewed as an adjective here, for it answers the "who" question, also. For the same reason it cannot be viewed as a Q-only noun. When you come to accept the text as it stands, you will understand.
Sixth, he assumes the question is who she is rather than what kind of woman she is when the OTI phrase is cited.
You are again grossly misrepresenting my view. I do not pit "who" against "what sort of," so that one is to be preferred over the other. I accept both TIS and POTAPH, for that is what the text says. How you so regularly and so badly misunderstand my position is unclear. But I will not put up with it for much longer.
Finally, I omitted no relevant portion of the text nor did I obfuscate any point that the OTI-clause actually modified.
You omitted a relevant portion of the text (TIS), a term which directly refutes your preferred sense, and you obfuscate your omission by failing to refer to it at all in your treatment of Luke 7:39, and by omitting it from your translation of the text itself. It could not be any worse for you on both counts and unless those reading this are in the the twilight zone, they will no doubt be similarly convinced by the facts as discussed above.
Defense of Qualitative Rendering
Now permit me to fill in some of the grammatical gaps before I give the lexical and syntactical validation for my rendering. The Pharisee couches his expression (mental or otherwise is irrelevant) in a second class present contrary to fact condition (EI + impf. ind. in the protasis and AN + impf. ind. in the apodosis). The semantic relation is one of cause and effect—if he were a prophet [I-Q], then he would know such and such.
No, not "such and such," but "who and what kind of woman." Let us not forget that, please.
The reasoning of the Pharisee was that since Jesus does not exhibit prophetic abilities, that is by not knowing about this woman’s reputation and character, he must not be a prophet. So although the mental process was by way of evidence-inference, the statement took the form of cause and effect. It is difficult to determine what this represents pragmatically since it is not verbally articulated. It could be intended to mock, assert, rebuke, argue or even to lament. Most likely it is a mental mockery or assertion denying Jesus’ identity.
Whatever conclusion the Pharisee reached as a result of his observations, nothing in what you say above has anything to do with justifying your dishonest handling of the text. You omitted the one word that destroys your view of hAMARTWLOS, and you know it. You have no reason for doing so, other than a question-begging approach which claims that while TIS was part of the Pharisee's thought concerning the woman, we should not see it as relevant for the predication of hAMARTWLOS of the woman, only POTAPH. There is absolutely no basis for doing so. It is just as much part of the Pharisee's though as POTAPH, and, what is more, you mention absolutely nothing about your omission in your thesis. It was a dishonest move on your part, one that you no doubt thought might go undetected (being just one small word [TIS]), and it, together with other clear examples of abusing PNs in your thesis, makes your contribution to the study of this question practically useless, particularly when the whole issue relates to a subjective view of the PNs and is tailored to reach your theologically motivated conclusions, whether they be concerning God's alleged omnipresence or the Trinity.
The translation “she is sinful” rather than “she is a sinner” is reached through two primary factors--the first is lexical while the second is syntactical: (1) The use of the adjective POTAPOS emphasizes quality not class, and is modified by the noun HAMARTOLOS. BAGD state that the adjective refers to "what sort or kind" and translates this verse as "who and what kind of woman" she is (BAGD, 694-95).
Again, we are not dealing with POTAPH alone, but also with the word you purposefully omitted from your translation and study, TIS. This word demands more than an answer in the form of an adjective. Is anyone disputing the qualitative relation of POTAPH to hAMARTWLOS? No. Then what are you doing making it the focus of the issue when the point is more in reference to the word you continue to omit? Even in BAGD's reference to this verse under the term POTAPOS, they still have the presence of mind and honesty to quote and translate TIS KAI POTAPH hH GNH as "who and what kind of woman." You do not do this, so why you choose to quote BAGD as a source of support when it only serves to further condemn your dishonest handling of the text, is uncertain.
Compared with the papyri the NT never uses the local sense but only answers "of what sort?" M-M quote several sources among which is P Oxy XIV 167816 (iii/A.D), "Write me what sort (of purple) you wish me to bring" (M-M, 530). Thus this qualitative sense demands the same from the noun HAMARTOLOS in conformity to the principle of maximum redundancy. (2) The syntactical functioning of the clauses operate so as the relative clause "who is touching him" modifies TIS ("who") while the OTI-clause "she is sinful" modifies POTAPH (what sort or kind). Thus the first relative clause answers the who in the subject clause (both in a predicate position to the subject H GUNH with implied verb ESTIN) while the latter OTI-clause answers the what kind. So the clause "The woman is who and what sort" functions as the object of the verb EGINWSEN in the apodosis while "who is touching him" and "that she is sinful" each modify their respective predicates TIS and POTAPH. This is the syntactical structuring that Stafford misses entirely.
You give absolutely no examples of any such use of TIS KAI POTAPH with a following hOTI-clause where the predicate in the clause points back only to the use of POTAPH. Both TIS and POTAPH have syntactical relation to hH GUNH, and it is hH GUNH which is the implied subject of the copula verb ESTIN, and described by the predicate noun that answers to both the "who" (TIS) and the "what sort of" (POTAPH). All you are doing is begging the question and creating non-sensical reasons for continuing to excise TIS from the text, for theological reasons. But it will not work, and you should simply apologize and amend the percentages in your thesis. I realize this might be a difficult pill for you to swallow, but you should have thought about that before you took such liberties with the text.
Thus each clause (rel. pronoun/OTI-clause) functions appositionally to separate predicates which in turn modify the subject H GUNH "the woman." That is, they serve to further delineate/amplify aspects of the predicate. Who is the woman? She is the one who is touching him. What kind of woman is she? She is sinful.
The text says nothing of the sort. It is very clear. The grammar is unambiguous. From your words above, it is almost as if you are operating in some exegetical world of make believe. I explained the text and the very clear grammatical/syntactical points you fail to understand and accept, and I am not going to hold your hand through it again.
So when Stafford accuses me of mistranslating the passage, or supposedly obfuscating a point by omitting TIS, he illustrates his failure to recognize the underlying syntactical ordering of the passage and inability to recognize the proper antecedents of two grammatically disparate but semantically identical clauses. It is he who has omitted relevant factors in the text not I. It is his failure to properly analyze others with a dose of understanding combined with the deadly presuppositions of the Watchtower that make for the explosive ad hominem attack as represented in his treatment of my thesis.
The only ad hominem attacks that have been launched come directly from you, as illustrated in your above words. As I said (I guess I will walk you through it again), you give absolutely no examples of any such use of TIS KAI POTAPH with a following hOTI-clause where the predicate in the clause points back only to POTAPH. Both TIS and POTAPH have syntactical relation to hH GUNH, and it is hH GUNH which is the implied subject of the copula verb ESTIN, and described by the predicate noun that answers to both the "who" (TIS) and "what sort of" (POTAPH). All you are doing is begging the question and creating non-sensical reasons for continuing to excise TIS from the text, for theological reasons. But it will not work, and you should simply apologize and amend the percentages in your thesis. You might also consider issuing a public apology for your numerous misrepresentations of my work, and your personal attacks against both myself and the Watchtower.
Finally, one must wonder why Stafford chose this passage for treatment in his second edition. Did he think that it represented a case where a singular count noun pre-copulative anarthrous PN was not Q but rather say I-Q? Even if this were so, how would that discredit my view since I include plenty of these types of nouns with that semantic tag? Or, was he instead attempting to discredit my methodology by showing a clear case where he supposed I rushed to judgment on a particular text only to promote a view that PNs in this construction could be credited with this sense (Q = Q-d)? As shown above, he misrepresents my position in this matter stating that I hold all singular count nouns in the Colwell construction are Q, when I do not. Or was he simply trying to point out a prejudice on my part by the alleged omission of TIS?
As I pointed out earlier, the above claim with respect to my alleged claim that you hold "all singular count nouns in the Colwell construction are Q" is both a misreading of my very simple and clearly-stated arguments, and a terrible lie used by you as a personal attack against me.
If Hartley cannot determine why I discussed Luke 7:39, among many other passages, what can I say. The reasons for its citation are clearly given in my book, and in my online writings about this subject. Luke 7:39 points to a clear use of an I-Q PN preceding the copula, used of a singular personalistic subject, as in John 1:1c. Hartley not only fails to notice this sense, but he eliminates the one word that makes this sense absolute, TIS. This alters the theologically driven percentages in Hartley's thesis, and shows his propensity for altering the Word of God so as to safeguard his post-biblical theology.
Admittedly, there are probably cases where I considered passages as a clear instance of a particular sense that are indeed, after further study, not so clear after all. But this text is certainly not one of them and Stafford has been unsuccessful in providing any example where this possible scenario is in fact the case.
I will not repeat myself again, regarding the clear basis upon which one should conclude that hAMARTWLOS is in fact I-Q. I am glad, though, to see that you are open to a reconsideration of your conclusions. That is a start, and at this point I will grasp onto to any positive aspect of your disposition that will allow me to keep talking with you, in order to help you through this. But you need to come clean with respect to your mishandling of Luke 7:39, and acknowledge the governing power of your belief in the Trinity as a means of controlling the outcome of your presentation of the material. If it were not so obvious, I would not mind. Many Trinitarian scholars are quite capable, to a large extent, of just dealing with the material even if it does not come out 100% in harmony with their presuppositions. You, at this point, are not one of them.
This response has sought to dispel some of Stafford's false inferences and downright inaccurate depictions of my view on the Colwell construction, singular count nouns, and specifically Luke 7:39. It has also sought to validate the insistence on my part of a clear instance of the Q sense to a singular count noun from a lexical and syntactical position. In accordance with my initial comments in my thesis, I reaffirm the sense given there and maintain that HAMARTOLOS should be rendered (in accordance with its clausal function) as a clear instance of the Q sense to a singular count noun in Luke emphasizing and further modifying the kind of woman she is rather than who she is. Any other rendition or syntactic ordering of the phrase is unlikely given the additional feature of the pre-copulative anarthrous singular count PN, employed as a deliberate confirmation of this adjectival and semantic redundancy. Finally, in light of this validation, my comments in the thesis can be viewed for what they are--an explanation of the OTI-clause as it expands upon the adjective POTAPOS not TIS.
I have addressed each and every point of objection raised by you, and further exposed your mishandling of the text, misunderstanding of the issues involved, and misrepresentation of my views, as expressed in both my book and online discussions of this subject. If anyone believes that there is some point raised by Hartley, or related to the issues at hand, to which I have not given sufficient attention, please email me and I will gladly offer further comment.
At this point, I cannot see any reason why I should spend anymore time with Don Hartley on any of the subjects discussed above. He has lied about my views, altered the text of the Bible to fit with his thesis/theology, and consistently substituted ad hominems for legitimate argumentation. He claims to be more interested in "light" than "heat," and yet he succeeds only in radiating the latter, not the former.
Unless he offers an apology for at least two of the above problems (and there are others, such as his continued misunderstanding of my arguments [this is different from what I believe is a blatant lie concerning my position], which results in my having to repeat what I have said many times before), I will spend no more time with him. I appreciate the need to engage opposing views so that others can see what each side has to offer, but I think that our discussion has reached a point where it is no longer productive, unless Hartley's disposition and claims change radically. I am content to leave things as they are, with full confidence that those reading this discussion will recognize the problems with Hartley's views and thesis, as I have outlined them.