maqhth at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 24 01:59:00 EST 1999
Roger Hutchinson wrote--
>>Would there be a strategic purpose for a
>>writer to construct John 1:1-2 to read--
>>....hO LOGOS KAI hO LOGOS.....QEON KAI QEOS.....hO LOGOS hOUTOS...
>Since various endings are added to the stems of nouns and verbs in the
>to denote the role of the word in the sentence, it is possible to place
>anywhere in the sentence without respect to the verb or other parts of
>and still express a coherent thought.
>Consequently, there is no grammatical difference between--
>hO LOGOS AN PROS TON QEON
>PROS TON QEON AN hO LOGOS.
>Each of the above sentences basically say the same thing.
>However, the person who writes in Greek seems to have the ability to
>manipulate word order in a sentence to enhance the point he desires to
>Strategically, the writer may place the noun at the beginning or end of
>sentence in hopes of creating a certain effect. In John 1:1-2, it
>that the writer purposely constructed a series of sentences in a
>pattern in order to promote or enhance the idea he sought to convey.
>My questions were whether this was so.
>I am vaguely familiar with the chiastic form but have not had the
>reading of its application to John 1:1-2.
I think I understand your focus ~ It has to do with Greek word order and
in particular the word order of the opening of John. So I invite you to
check out the following chiastic pattern.
A EN ARCH HN hO LOGOS
B KAI hO LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON
B' KAI QEON HN hO LOGOS
A' hOUTOS HN EN ARCH
PROS TON QEON
The couplets A and A' mirror each other ~ As also do B and B' ~ PROS TON
QEON is 'left over', so to speak, at least in terms of the mirroring
pattern of the couplets.
There are also 3 nouns and a pronoun in this opening. To illustrate the
pattern, call ARCH [A], LOGOS [B], and QEOS [C]. hOUTOS technically
refers to LOGOS, so it also is [B]. So we havew the following:
Or [A][B][C][B][A] [C]
Next observe the progressive pattern of modifiers.
EN is locational
PROS is directional/orientational
QEOS HN is simple identity
As I read this passage, hOUTOS refers to the QEOS HN hO LOGOS identity,
and not only to hO LOGOS. Were is not, the author would have used hO
LOGOS. Instead he used "THIS one" [hOUTOS], referring to the identity
The 'left over' PROS TON QEON emphatically stresses its importance
[through repetition] as the center of the chiastic parallel structure.
It is the Johannine formulaic statement of the quintessential
relationship of hO LOGOS to hO QEOS that is summarized in the identity
couplet [QEOS HN hO LOGOS].
Observe as well the literary tension established between the QEOS with
an article and the one without an article. [This is a subject of vast
controversy on this list, and is best left alone!! The nature of that
identity is WAY off limits!!] The whole of the book of John can be seen
as an elaboration of the relationship of hO LOGOS to hO QEOS, which
results in the hO LOGOS-QEOS identity, through the PROS TON QEON
And all this from the simple chiastic word order of this passage.
Everything 'turns' on the center two couplets [B-B'], which are framed
or located by the outer two [A-A']. And the feature of the center that
is stressed is stressed by repetition following the last couplet.
And all in marvelous [chiastic] balance!
Now with all that, I hope and pray that I have not crossed the line from
the meaning of the Greek into the hinterlands of theology! And I hope
as well that I have addressed your focus!
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