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Still More on Sharp's Rule, Rob Bowman and Trinitarianism
Part Three: Understanding the Restrictive Force and Semantic Significance of a Proper Name in GS Constructions

By Greg Stafford


Rob Bowman's comments on the matter of semantic versus referential significance not only fail to support his arguments for Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, but they actually add support to the position I have advocated all along, which is that the context and the author's habitual use of language is essential for a proper understanding of these issues. Also, the restrictive force of certain nouns and noun phrases must be carefully evaluated.

Bowman fails to properly weigh and consider all of these factors, and, apparently (see below), does not even attempt to use his own arguments about semantic and referential significance to strengthen his position. Of course, even if he did, they would not, as I have demonstrated in previous posts. It is possible that he now understands this, and this is one reason why he claims that some of his arguments were not intended to be used to support his view of Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1. In this light, I have to ask, as I do below, Rob, what are you doing? Why are you telling us things we already know, which, when applied to this discussion, do not support your view?

To appreciate why I ask these questions, consider the following discussion:



Posted by Rob Bowman on August 14, 1998 at 04:43:13:

BOWMAN:
In Part Two of my previous series of posts replying to Greg Stafford on Sharp's rule, I argued that Stafford had failed to take into account a distinction between two concepts relating to Sharp's rule. The first of these concepts is that of the referential significance of a noun or noun phrase. Specifically, one question that may be asked about an expression is whether it could have several referents or is restricted to a single referent.



STAFFORD:
Of course, as I pointed out in previous reply, I did not fail to take this into account. In fact, it is a key aspect of my argument! But, Bowman has a few exercises he would like to walk us through. Please join me:



BOWMAN:
Let me illustrate this concept with some simple examples. On the left are expressions that may have multiple referents. On the right are expressions that can have only a single referent.



STAFFORD:
I will add one observation to Bowman's characterizations of the expressions on the left, and that is this: In certain contexts the expressions on the left can be used in such a way that they are just as restrictive as the expressions on the right.



BOWMAN:
PLURAL REFERENTS SINGULAR REFERENT
President Sixteenth President of the United States of America
Academy Award winner The 1997 Best Actor Academy Award winner
Queen Queen Elizabeth II of England
Jesus Lord Jesus Christ

In these easiest to understand examples, the expressions on the right are such that each can have one and only one referent. The designations are not and could never be transferable to another referent. Furthermore, speaker (or writer), context, subject matter, grammar, and the theological beliefs of the speaker are irrelevant as to the referent of the expressions on the right.



STAFFORD:
On this point, I agree, and it is PRECISELY this point that I made in reference to the expression "the great God" and "Savior Jesus Christ." See below and Parts Four and Five for additional details on each of these expressions, and how Bowman is selectively deciding what is restrictive and what is not.



BOWMAN:
Now, then there are expressions that may have different referents depending on who the speaker or writer happens to be, but for a certain individual or group may have only one referent. For example, "my daughter" potentially has a multitude of referents but only one (we think!) if the speaker is President Bill Clinton. "Our school" could refer to any of a large number of institutions, but if these words are used in a speech at Fuller Theological Seminary, the number of possible referents is one.

Furthermore, an expression may have many potential referents but may be limited by the subject matter in the immediate context to a single referent. For example, "the author" could refer to any of a large number of individuals but must refer to John Steinbeck if in the immediate context the book that is being discussed is The Grapes of Wrath.

An expression may also be limited or restricted to a single referent by the grammar of the sentence in which it appears. For example, in the sentence, "John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda," the word "book" could refer to several different writings (since Steinbeck wrote more than one book) but grammatically is specified to have the single referent The Grapes of Wrath.

Now, all I have been trying to explain here is what is meant when we speak of an expression being referentially restricted. We mean that the expression is in some way limited to or restricted to a specific referent.



STAFFORD:
Yes, I understand that, Rob. But you are missing my point, I believe (see below). I am only going to quote Bowman's examples and conclusions on a few points below, since I believe his point has been made, and I don't think he is focused on my particular argument. Also, I can do without the disrespectful references to political figures.



BOWMAN:
The second concept, which must be distinguished from the first even though it is related to it, is that of semantic significance. Here the question of concern in the Sharp's rule debate is not over the referent of a particular noun or noun phrase, but the semantic place of that expression in the sentence of which it is a part. Specifically, we may ask whether a particular expression is semantically distinguished from or equated with the referent of another expression. This may help us identify the referent of a particular expression, but it's a different question.

Let's start with some easy examples. The examples on the left have distinct referents because they are semantically distinguished from one another. The examples on the right present two expressions that are semantically identified as having the same referent.

PLURAL REFERENTS SINGULAR REFERENT
The President and First Lady The President and Commander-in-Chief
The President and Vice-President Her best friend and confidante
The winner and runner-up The winner and world champion

. . .

I am simply trying to illustrate the concept here of semantic relationships between terms.

. . .

Now, the main point I was attempting to make in Part 2 of my previous response to Stafford on Sharp's rule is that we need to distinguish referential significance from semantic significance. Specifically, in a pair of expressions linked together in some way, to whom they refer is a different question, though it may be a related one, than the question of how the two expressions are related semantically.



STAFFORD:
And I addressed both issues. You have not shown such semantic "pairing" for the nouns in any of the texts under discussion (See below and Part Four and Five).



BOWMAN:
For example, in a sentence using the expression "the winner and champion," semantically the two nouns must refer to a single referent, but of course which referent will depend on the context.



STAFFORD:
Did anybody have a problem understanding this? I doubt it. Why, then, are you going on and on about this matter? In view of the nouns and the context of the verses under discussion the above example has almost nothing to offer in terms of contributing to this discussion. It LOOKS like a smoke screen, to me.



BOWMAN:
To apply this distinction to Titus 2:13 again, the question of the referent of "the great God" is a different question than the question of whether "the great God" has the same referent as "our Savior."



STAFFORD:
No it is not. Here is where the close relationship between semantic and referential significance comes into play. For if the referent of "the great God" is the Father, the one in whose glory Jesus is said to appear, then there is a semantic distinction between "the great God" and "Savior Jesus Christ."



BOWMAN:
This is because the second question is a semantic question concerning the relationship between the two noun expressions, whereas the first is not. If we have good grounds for answering the semantic question in the affirmative (they do have the same referent), this will have to be taken into account in answering the first question.



STAFFORD:
Again, you are not properly handling the relationship between the two. To you, the way you present it, the point in your first sentence is true. But that is only because you will take "the great God" as a reference to Jehovah, Whom YOU see as a tri-personal being that is capable of being applied to the Father and the Son. BUT the Bible identifies Jehovah as the Father, the God of the Son, so we have a semantic distinction between "the great God" (if taken as an OT reference-see below) from "Jesus Christ." But you will not understand this until you refrain from reading post-biblical distinctions into the text.



BOWMAN:
I doubt a point-by-point response to Stafford's comments on my previous discussion will add much to what I have just said here. But let's see what can be done to further clarify matters.



STAFFORD:
I will simply add that you have neglected a LARGE portion of my reply, and I think that is part of the problem.



BOWMAN:
>>>Stafford---Now notice, Bowman agrees that I am correct in saying that a descriptive phrase ("the first woman prime Minister of Great Britain") is more restrictive than a proper name ("Margaret Thatcher") in this instance. But he then says that this has "NOTHING to do with the issue at hand"! This is his way of trying to minimize the impact of his concession. Of course, the restrictive force or a particular noun of noun phrase has EVERYTHING to do with the present issue, and Bowman goes to great lengths to confuse everybody about the real issue, in my opinion.>>>



BOWMAN:
This comment really mystifies me. I have made no concession to any point at odds with or in tension with my own position.



STAFFORD:
Yes, you have. Let me help you out here:



BOWMAN:
As I have stated all along, I absolutely insist, more consistently even than Greg Stafford does, that "the great God" must refer to Jehovah, the only true God. It helps, not hurts, my position to hold that "the great God" is so restrictive in force that it cannot be fairly applied to a deity inferior to the Almighty Creator. Stafford never explains how my so-called "concession" works to my disadvantage.



STAFFORD:
Ah, here is the problem. You seem to think that every "point" I make has to somehow work to your disadvantage or to my advantage. I can see how a person who is selective in what he reveals might view things that way, but it is NOT always my intention to make arguments that support my views. I make investigative inquiries that are simply designed to present the facts. But, on this particular point, let me remind you of the context of my reply:



<<FROM More on Sharp's Rule, Trinitarianism and Rob Bowman
Part Three: Descriptive Phrases and Their Restrictive Force
By Greg Stafford>>

BOWMAN:
The issue with regard to the applicability of Sharp's rule to Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 is this: Do either or both of the nouns or noun phrases connected by KAI have the character of a separate semantic unit which by its semantic nature must refer to a separate referent? I imagine this question may be unclear to some, so I will explain it.
Let's start with Greg's first example, taken from John Lyons. The noun phrase "Margaret Thatcher" is indisputably a proper name. The noun phrase "the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain" is indisputably NOT a proper name. Still, the second noun phrase has the same REFERENT as the first. Indeed, one may well suppose that there are likely other women in history who have had the name "Margaret Thatcher," but only one woman in history ever has and ever could be designated using the noun phrase "the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain." As Greg says, this second expression is possibly even more "restrictive" than the proper name. But this has NOTHING to do with the issue at hand. Remember, the question is whether the two nouns or noun phrases joined by KAI and governed by only one definite article refer to two objects or one. (In discussing examples in the English language such as this one, we are of course for the time being ignoring the differences between Greek and English. Fortunately, those differences do not significantly affect the point at hand.)

STAFFORD:
Now notice, Bowman agrees that I am correct in saying that a descriptive phrase ("the first woman prime Minister of Great Britain") is more restrictive than a proper name ("Margaret Thatcher") in this instance. But he then says that this has "NOTHING to do with the issue at hand"! This is his way of trying to minimize the impact of his concession. Of course, the restrictive force or a particular noun of noun phrase has EVERYTHING to do with the present issue, and Bowman goes to great lengths to confuse everybody about the real issue, in my opinion. You'll see what I mean as we consider his examples:

<<END OF QUOTE-RETURN TO PRESENT DISCUSSION>>



STAFFORD:
Bowman has taken the position that "God," when used alone, in some/most (?), is the equivalent to a proper name, but that when used with accompanying modifiers it is not to be taken as such. He apparently fails to realize that the restrictive force of a proper name is precisely why it does not conform to Sharp's rule. Well, then, when we have an expression that is even MORE restrictive than a proper name, how is it that he can he say "this has NOTHING to do with the issue at hand"? Understanding the restrictive force and limited application of certain nouns and noun phrases is a KEY point in the Sharp's rule discussion. This is directly related to the issue of semantic significance.

In the end, Bowman concedes that "the great God" "must refer to Jehovah." This would seem to mean, according to Bowman, that Sharp's rule is no longer applicable to this verse. Remember, he claimed:



<<FROM BOWMAN'S ARTICLE ON SHARP'S RULE, PAGE 8>>

Martyrdom of Polycarp 22:1. . . . For Sharp's rule to be inapplicable it is necessary only that one of the two nouns joined by kai be a proper name. Thus, even if "God the Father" was not being used in Polycarp as a proper name, Sharp's rule would not apply because of the use of "Holy Spirit" as such.

<<END OF QUOTE-RETURN TO PREVIOUS DISCUSSION>>



STAFFORD:
Well now, does everyone understand why I made my point, and why it creates problems for Bowman's position?
First he states that "the great God" is not the equivalent to a proper name, and then he agrees that it is, but refers exclusively to Jehovah, Whom Bowman defines as a tri-personal being. But by admitting that "the great God" is as restrictive as a proper name (indeed, even more so) he collides with his own position on proper names and Sharp's rule.

Bowman believes "for Sharp's rule to be inapplicable it is necessary only that one of the two nouns joined by kai be a proper name." So, then, since he now takes "the great God" as the equivalent to a proper name, he is implying that Sharp's rule is not applicable to Titus 2:13. Of course, he also fails to realize that "the great God" is restricted to Jehovah, not a tri-personal being, but a single person, the Father, the God of Jesus. (Micah 5:4; Rev. 3:12) This creates a semantic distinction between the two, which, if correct (that is, if the OT is in fact the source of the expression "the great God") is enough to show that Sharp's rule does not apply in this verse. This view is reinforced when you consider other aspects of the context, particularly the Synoptic background to the teaching concerning Christ's appearing in his FATHER'S glory. Again, this is the FATHER'S glory, not that of a tri-personal being.



BOWMAN:
I had written:
>>>Suppose we read the following sentence:
S1. I'm waiting for my wife and Margaret Thatcher.
In (S1) there is very little reason to doubt that the speaker's wife is someone other than Margaret Thatcher. This is a good example of a proper name being linked with another noun phrase by "and" where it is clear that two persons are meant.>>>

Stafford replied:
>>>In English this is true, and it is also true, to some degree, in Greek. But the English word for "and" has a much stronger tendency to separate two (or more) nouns than does the Greek word KAI. For example, if we were to put Bowman's example in Greek, it would be hE GUNE MOU KAI [proper name]. In Greek this example does not distinguish between "my wife" and the person denoted by the proper name as much as the English example does. KAI can imply apposition, and if in our Greek example it could be established that the person's "wife" is also known by the name that follows KAI, then there is nothing to keep us from taking the proper name in apposition to hE GUNE MOU ("my wife"). In English, however, the use of "and" in Bowman's example would almost always (probably always!) be understood as a reference to two persons, unless it could be shown that the speaker did in fact have the same person in mind, but simply chose a poorly worded sentence. So Bowman has not properly explained the differences between the English "and" and the Greek KAI, which gives the false impression that his example is somehow relevant to our discussion. Please keep in mind that proper names and proper name equivalents all have a certain degree of restrictive force. But the English "and" and the Greek KAI are not always used in the same way.

We recall, of course, that Bowman prefaced his examples by saying that he would `for the time being ignore the differences between Greek and English. Fortunately, those differences do not significantly affect the point at hand.' But they do "significantly affect the point at hand," at least with regard to S1.>>>



BOWMAN:
This is all very interesting, but completely irrelevant, since all I was trying to do was to illustrate the difference between referential and semantic significance.



STAFFORD:
That is all very interesting, but you completely miss my point, which is in direct response to your illustration, and your claim that "there is very little reason to doubt that the speaker's wife is someone other than Margaret Thatcher. This is a good example of a proper name being linked with another noun phrase by `and' where it is clear that two persons are meant." Please try to stay focused on what I am saying, not what you THINK I'm saying.



BOWMAN:
The purpose of giving (S1) was to compare it to (S2) in order to illustrate that distinction. I did not claim that (S1) was grammatically equivalent to Titus 2:13. This is a fundamental misreading of the way I was developing my argument, and it vitiates Stafford's entire response. For example, regarding (S2), Stafford asserted:

>>>Of course, in the long run Bowman wants us to see this sentence (S2) as a grammatical parallel to Titus 2:13.>>>

No, although it is partially parallel, it is not intended to function as a grammatically precise parallel to Titus 2:13 in order to warrant my interpretation of Titus 2:13 by such a parallel. This was not my intent, nor my claim. Stafford is reading that intent into my paper - which is why he had to qualify his assertion with the expression "in the long run." But I don't make this claim in the short or long run.



STAFFORD:
Then what is your point in making these comparisons? Where did I say that you intended it as a "grammatically precise parallel"? Stop reading things into my replies, please. Tell us, Rob, what is your point of making these comparisons if not to eventually make a point concerning our subject texts? In fact, consider the paragraph that my above paragraph, the one where I discuss the disjunctive and connective force of KAI, is in response to:



<<FROM More on Sharp's Rule, Trinitarianism and Rob Bowman
Part Three: Descriptive Phrases and Their Restrictive Force
By Greg Stafford>>

BOWMAN:
Let me show why I say the "restrictive force" of a noun phrase has nothing to do with the applicability of Sharp's rule with a series of examples.
Suppose we read the following sentence:
S1. I'm waiting for my wife and Margaret Thatcher.
In (S1) there is very little reason to doubt that the speaker's wife is someone other than Margaret Thatcher. This is a good example of a proper name being linked with another noun phrase by "and" where it is clear that two persons are meant. Now consider this sentence:

<<END OF QUOTE-RETURN TO PRESENT DISCUSSION>>

STAFFORD:
As you can see, Bowman makes an unfounded claim regarding the restrictive force of a noun and Sharp's rule, and my reply shows why his examples do not support his position. Instead of dealing with my point, he simply brushes it aside as "interesting" and claims that I misunderstood him. Another smoke screen. Again, a noun's restrictive force has a direct relationship with the issue of semantic distinction.



BOWMAN:
Stafford makes the same mistake with regard to (S3), about which he wrote:
>>>Of course, the above example is not at all parallel to Titus 2:13, which has a descriptive phrase followed by KAI, followed by a noun, followed by a proper name.>>>
Regarding (S4):

>>>Now, to more closely parallel Titus 2:13 Bowman should have said, "the Commander-in-chief and President Bill Clinton.">>>

This misunderstanding is implicit throughout his response, but is made explicit again on (S11):



STAFFORD:
Again, there is no misunderstanding. I am simply making a point, which I feel is warranted, so that people reading our discussion don't get the impression that you are making a credible point about our subject texts.

Bowman failed to give my complete reply, so I will give it plus another section he ignored:



<<FROM More on Sharp's Rule, Trinitarianism and Rob Bowman
Part Three: Descriptive Phrases and Their Restrictive Force
By Greg Stafford >>

BOWMAN:
S4. We're waiting for the President and Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton.
I suppose we might imagine a situation in which the speaker of (S4) is a company executive and he is referring to the immanent arrival of the company CEO along with Bill Clinton. However, anyone who tried to communicate this idea using (S4) would have expressed himself very poorly. That the two nouns both refer to Bill Clinton is confirmed not only by the fact that both titles commonly refer to him (or to anyone holding the office) but that they are governed by the single definite article "the." Indeed, I have trouble conceiving of a context in which someone might say (S4) and be reasonably construed as referring to two persons. Again, that one person is meant would be clear with or without the addition of the proper name "Bill Clinton."

STAFFORD:
I don't think such a sentence is as awkward as S1 or S2 above, and it is certainly more grammatically acceptable than either of Bowman's first two examples. Bowman's statement "That the two nouns both refer to Bill Clinton is confirmed not only by the fact that both titles commonly refer to him (or to anyone holding the office) but that they are governed by the single definite article `the,'" is begging the question. The context would have to reveal just whom the speaker/writer is talking about. Grammatically, the English "and" is quite capable of distinguishing the two nouns.

Now, to more closely parallel Titus 2:13 Bowman should have said, "the Commander-in-chief and President Bill Clinton." But we would, of course, understand this as a reference to Bill Clinton, because the nouns used, at this time, are restricted to Mr. Clinton. But if we were to say, "the California Governor and President Bill Clinton" we would rightly recognize a reference to Pete Wilson and Bill Clinton, because the concepts associated with these two descriptions are, at this time, only properly to be understood of these two persons. Or if, in response to a person's inquiry about the speakers at today's corporate meeting, I said the speakers would include "the President of the United States and coach Pat Riley," who would doubt that two persons are in view, and that the proper name "Pat Riley" was in apposition only to "coach"? Consider Bowman's next example:

BOWMAN"
Here's another example:
S5. We're waiting for the sixteenth President of the United States and author of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

Here the two designations "sixteenth President of the United States" and "author of the Emancipation Proclamation" are equally "restrictive," that is, each designation can refer to one and only one referent, Abraham Lincoln. Yet, obviously, both designations refer to the same referent. Thus, the fact that "sixteenth President of the United States" is rigidly descriptive of one person does not have anything to do with whether the subsequent designation "author of the Emancipation Proclamation" refers to the same individual.

STAFFORD:
I almost cannot believe that Bowman is employing this kind of reasoning to try and refute my arguments. In the above example the first descriptive phrase is limited in reference to the same individual referred to in the second part of the sentence, who is also identified by the proper name "Abraham Lincoln." As I stated earlier, I don't think Bowman understands my objection, or he is simply unable to produce any semblance of a worthy rejoinder. If the first descriptive phrase were "the Supreme Court chief justice" then we would naturally understand two persons to be in view because Abraham Lincoln was not a Supreme Court chief justice. The descriptive phrase would apply to the person who occupied that position at the time indicated by the statement. Again, context and habitual use of language are more important in terms of identifying the referent in these examples.

<<END OF QUOTE-RETURN TO PRESENT DISCUSSION>>

BOWMAN:
>>>Stafford--Bowman is using terms that are much more distinct, as if this somehow parallels Titus 2:13 or 2 Peter 1:1.>>>



BOWMAN:
This misunderstanding is so fatal to a proper assessment of my argument that further critique of Stafford's reply to this part would be pointless. All I will take the time to do here is to reply to a couple more assertions by Stafford that, while not germane to my argument, should be answered somewhere.



STAFFORD:
How convenient. We all understand your point about semantic and referential significance. But I am pointing out that nothing you have said thus far in any way supports your argument about the texts we are SUPPOSED to be discussing. Obviously you agree with me, since you make no attempt at all to discredit my arguments.

Bowman completely ignored this and other portions of my reply:

<<FROM More on Sharp's Rule, Trinitarianism and Rob Bowman
Part Three: Descriptive Phrases and Their Restrictive Force
By Greg Stafford >>

BOWMAN:
S2. I'm waiting for the first woman prime minister of England and my wife, Margaret Thatcher.
Given that the speaker is Denis Thatcher, both noun phrases "the first woman prime minister" and "my wife" are equally "restrictive." However, without question both refer to one person. This would be true, in fact, even if the proper name "Margaret Thatcher" were not added. The fact that the expression "the first woman prime minister of England" is just as restrictive, if not more so, than "Margaret Thatcher" DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER THE SECOND NOUN PHRASE REFERS TO THE SAME PERSON.

STAFFORD:
Notice that Bowman has to appeal to elements OUTSIDE the grammar of the sentence, namely, the presupposition pool of Denis Thatcher and those familiar with him and family. Bowman also uses an example that one would most likely NEVER hear from the mouth of Denis Thatcher! Again, I cannot think of anyone, in any context, that would use the English "and" in the way Bowman has given in his example. Well, actually I can think of one: If Denis Thatcher were introducing his wife before a live audience he might say, "I present to you, the first woman prime minister of England and my wife, Margaret Thatchter." But I think that in most other contexts the more likely expression would be, "I am waiting for my wife, Margaret Thatcher, the first woman prime minister of England"; or, " I am waiting for the first woman prime minister of England, my wife, Margaret Thatcher"; or, "I am waiting for the first woman prime minister of England, Margaret Thatcher, my wife."

In any event, Bowman has simply created an English sentence using terms that could only be understood of one person, not because of the grammar, but because they are restricted to but one individual in the context of this statement, in view of Denis Thatcher's habitual use of language. Of course, in the long run Bowman wants us to see this sentence (S2) as a grammatical parallel to Titus 2:13. Remarkably, Bowman claims, "The fact that the expression `the first woman prime minister of England is just as restrictive, if not more so, than `Margaret Thatcher' DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER THE SECOND NOUN PHRASE REFERS TO THE SAME PERSON." It is hard to take Rob seriously when he uses reasoning like this, but I'll try! Of course, the fact that the first descriptive phrase "the first woman prime minister of England" could ONLY apply to the same person denoted in the second part of the sentence is the key. Bowman's statement is completely unfounded, however. Suppose Denis Thatcher had said: "I am waiting for the first woman President of the United States and my wife, Margaret Thatcher." The woman so described in the first part of the sentence would never be considered the same woman in the second part of the sentence, because the concepts created by the descriptive phrase in the first instance are not the same as those created by the proper name "Margaret Thatcher," in reference to the Denis Thatcher's wife.

BOWMAN:
Now, let's consider Greg's second example, the use of the title "President" to refer to a specific individual (currently Bill Clinton). What Greg says about this title is quite correct, but not to the point. For example, he is quite right in saying that the title "President" in certain contexts would refer unambiguously to Bill Clinton even though the word may be used in other contexts with other referents (e.g., Boris Yeltsin is the President of Russia). He is also correct in saying that the title may be made more "restrictive" with further modifiers. For example, we could speak of "the President of the United States" (which must refer to one of the U.S. presidents, though context must still tell us which one) or even "the sixteenth President of the United States" (which must refer to Abraham Lincoln). But any of these descriptive noun phrases might be used in a construction in which it is joined with the word "and" to another noun or noun phrase, with the whole expression referring to one person. For example:
S3. Bill Clinton is the President and Commander-in-Chief.

STAFFORD:
What Bowman says is true, "but not to the point." The construction of the above sentence is such that anyone would understand it to be an assertion about one person. In other words, the nouns used would in NO WAY change the fact that they are both restricted to Bill Clinton. So, if I said, "Bill Clinton is the President and the prime minister of England," anyone remotely familiar with English would realize that what I said is not true. Of course, the above example is not at all parallel to Titus 2:13, which has a descriptive phrase followed by KAI, followed by a noun, followed by a proper name.

BOWMAN:
Now, let's mix things up a bit. Suppose we read the following sentence:
S6. We're waiting for the President and First Lady to arrive.
Here, even though the noun "President" and noun phrase "First Lady" are governed by one definite article and are joined with "and," the two nouns refer unambiguously to two persons. Why? NOT because one or the other expression has a "restrictive force" equivalent to that of a proper name, as the preceding examples prove.



STAFFORD:
Whoops…Let's stop here for a moment. Bowman's examples did not prove anything in support of his point, so let's not proceed with the false impression that they did. Actually, his examples only served to further strengthen what I have been saying all along.



BOWMAN:
Rather, the two expressions unambiguously refer to two distinct referents because the two expressions are "paired" terms, i.e., two expressions that are commonly used to refer to a pair that belong together but are two distinct objects. We have lots of such expressions in English: salt and pepper, sun and moon, father and son, husband and wife, mother and daughter, President and Vice-President, king and queen, and many more. In Greek, as in English, the use of such paired expressions would indicate unambiguously that two terms are meant even in a Sharp's rule type of construction. Such paired terms should always be taken as denoting two referents unless explicitly stated otherwise.



STAFFORD:
There are examples where certain nouns or noun phrases are understood as distinct from one another because they are usually seen as pairs. But, again, the restrictive force of each noun is still very much a part of our shared presuppositions about such expressions, which we naturally associate with the semantic signs (words) that we hear or read.

<<END OF QUOTE-RETURN TO PRESENT DISCUSSION>>



STAFFORD:
I assume everyone understands why talking to Bowman is really a fruitless endeavor, for he consistently ignores HUGE sections of my reply, which results in an inaccurate transmission of my point.



BOWMAN:
I had written:
>>>Greg objected to this exception [paired nouns as having two referents even in article-noun-KAI-noun expressions] as question-begging since it would supposedly preclude an author applying both terms in such a noun pair to a single referent (for example, if someone held to the monarchian doctrine that Jesus was both the Father and the Son). But this is no problem at all. Any author who wants to make this idea clear can do so in a number of ways. For example:
S7. Jesus is the Father and Son.
S8. Jesus is the Father and the Son.
S9. The Father is the Son.
Any of these sentences unambiguously communicates the idea that the Father and the Son are two different designations for the same referent.>>>



Stafford replied:
<<And if Clement held to such a view then what he said would also unambiguously communicate his ideas concerning the Father and Son! Because we know that such views DID exist it is begging the question to appeal to what we SHOULD recognize as true, namely, that the terms are ALWAYS "paired" terms! Does everybody see the circle? It goes like this:

Clement uses the two terms in a construction that often refers to one person.
But the words "Father" and "Son" are always used as "paired" terms for two different persons.
Therefore, Clement's use of the words "Father" and "Son" are in reference to two different persons.
Bowman uses reasoning like this all the time, and I usually assume that most of you who are reading our discussion can detect it, but I had to make sure you understood the problem with this one.>>>



BOWMAN:
No, even if Clement held to monarchianism, his referring to "the Father and Son" would not "unambiguously communicate" a monarchian belief. For it to be unambiguous, there would have to be something explicit in the context to show that he was using the two titles of one person.



STAFFORD:
(!) First of all I am referring specifically to what Clement said, and then I make an assumption that if he held to the view that the Father and Son were the same person, then "what he said would also unambiguously communicate his ideas concerning the Father and Son." Since the grammar allows for such an understanding, IF that is his clearly stated position elsewhere in his writings, then your point about paired terms is begging the question in this instance. How you consistently fail to properly understand or address my point remains a mystery.



BOWMAN:
There's nothing wrong with my reasoning, which Stafford has misrepresented. It goes like this:
a. Paired nouns that normally refer to two referents, do so unless a single referent is made explicit.
b. Clement uses paired nouns without making a single referent explicit.
c. Therefore, Clement is using the paired nouns to refer to two referents.



STAFFORD:
Good, so now you recognize that explicit articulation of the relationship is necessary, and that what YOU might construe as paired nouns that are semantically distinct from each other, are not distinct unless the context and theology of the author say so. I am glad you are starting to accept this point, which I have maintained from the beginning.



BOWMAN:
Stafford wrote:
>>>Regarding the passages from NT that our the focus of our discussion, both the context and the author's habitual use of language restrict the phrase "the great God" and even "God" to the Father. I agree that the case is not certain either way, but the evidence points heavily in favor of a two-person translation.>>>



BOWMAN:
The author of Titus 2:13 is Paul, and he uses the expression "the great God" precisely one time: Titus 2:13. Thus, the author's habitual use of language tells us nothing about this expression.



STAFFORD:
If he nowhere else predicate "God" of Jesus, but reserves it for the Father (never for the triune God, though) then THAT habitual use of language is quite useable when it comes to establishing a likelihood that he would use the expression "the great God" for the One to whom he elsewhere restricts the term "God." Since the author's use of language does not offer any support for your view, I can understand your refusing to accept it.



BOWMAN:
I agree that Paul rarely uses the title "God" specifically with reference to the Son.



STAFFORD:
Let's rephrase that a bit: Paul NEVER unambiguously uses the term "God" for the Son.



BOWMAN:
However, since you acknowledge that Paul might use the title for the Son, you cannot then argue that the title is "restricted" to the Father. This is double-talk. If the title may be used of the Son, it is not restricted to the Father.



STAFFORD:
Obviously you have a problem understanding what a person MIGHT say and what they DO say. If we go by the author's use of language, that language restricts the term to the Father. But that does not mean the author could not break from his normal use of language, particularly if that use of language is taken from a different cultural and literary context, and make a true statement concerning Jesus' godhood, that is in harmony with biblical theology. This is not double-talk at all, but an observation based on the facts as given in the writings of Paul, and the theology which he shared with the other Bible writers, none of whom articulated anything commensurate with trinitarianism.

END OF PART THREE

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