John 1.. "with God" or "with the God"

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Jan 23 13:43:50 EST 2003

What is being raised here is a translation issue rather than an issue about
Biblical Greek usage. Nevertheless there are a couple issues here that do
bear on Biblical Greek usage. I don't know at what point, but it is clear
that hO QEOS is being used already in the LXX as a proper name, whereas in
polytheistic Greek usage hO QEOS could refer to any of a number of deities.
In the LXX one finds vocatives W QEE but more frequently the nominative hO
QEOS is used as a vocative. Inasmuch as hO QEOS is assumed to be used in a
monotheistic sense and as a proper name as used with the article in John 1,
it seems perfectly appropriate that it be Englished as "God." I think
that's pretty much the standard practice of English translators.

I am assuming, of course, that the question here concerns ONLY the usage of
hO		QEOS--the noun with the article.

At 12:56 PM -0500 1/23/03, Schmuel wrote:
>Hi b-greek,
>   A John 1:1 question ...
>John 1:1
>In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
>The decision not to translate
> " pros hO QEOS"   (correct this to the proper schema :-)
>as "with the God" but rather as "with God"
>Can there be some comment on that decision.. ?
>I notice that the KJB NT only uses "the God" in adjectival/descriptive
>phrases like
>"the God of Israel"  "the God of Abraham..." "the God of our father" "the
>God of glory"
>"the God of the Jews"  "the God of peace", the God of all comfort"
>And I *think* that there are many passages where an article is used with
>God, and similarly not translated ..
>Luke 1:30
>And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour
>with (the) God.
>My purpose is not to critique one way or another, but to understand the
>   1) Is the KJB usage consistent.. ?
>   2) Does it handle John 1:1 any differently than other passages ? (in
>this specific sense)
>   3) Your opinions whether a definite article *should* be translated into
>the English when
>       used with theos, or how should it effect the translation.
>Of course many other Bibles seem to do the same as the KJB on this..

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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