[B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7

Leonard Jayawardena leonardj at live.com
Tue Dec 28 04:49:57 EST 2010


> From: nebarry at verizon.net
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 08:43:45 -0500
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
> ?
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Leonard Jayawardena" <leonardj at live.com>
> To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, December 27, 2010 3:26 AM
> Subject: [B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
> >
> >
> >
> > All the translations I have been able to check except Moffat take IHSOUN 
> > CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUTOTA as the object of hOMOLOGEW in 1 John 4:2 and 
> > IHSOUN CRISTON ERCOMENON EN SARKI as the object of hMOLOGEW in 2 John 7, 
> > resulting in the following translations:
> These are simply indirect statements.

LJ: My point is that these translations take the entire phrase as the single object of hOMOLOGEW. In 1 John 4:2, the phrase IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUTOTA in its entirety is taken as the single object of the verb.
> > In commentaries that adopt the above interpretations of these two verses, 
> > it is customary to call such denial an error of "docetic Gnosticism." But 
> > the actual issue involved is simply the denial on the part of some that 
> > Jesus is the Christ (cf. 1 John 2:22; 5:1); therefore it is best to 
> > translate these verses as follows, taking IHSOUN CRISTON in both cases as 
> > an object-complement double accusative.
> I have trouble with this category understood with participles. 
> "Object-complement double accusatives" are normally taken of substantives. 
> Do you want to argue here that the particples are used substantively rather 
> than as predicates? There are different ways of conceptualizing, of 
> grammaticalizing (neologism?) the syntax at this point, but it pretty much 
> amounts to what all the translations have.

LJ: I clearly stated above that it is IHSOUN CRISTON which is taken as an object-complement double accusative construction in the way I understand these two verses. IHSOUN is the direct object of hOMOLOGEW and CRISTON is its complement, with EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA qualifying the latter.

> > 1 John 4:2: And every spirit that confesses that Jesus is Christ come in 
> > the flesh is of God.
> >
> > 2 John 7: For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who deny 
> > that Jesus is Christ coming in the flesh ....
> The difference in English between what you have rendered and the KJV above 
> is minimal.

LJ: There is a significant difference of meaning. In 1 John 4:2 the KJV has "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." This would mean that in the time of the writer some held the view that Jesus Christ did not have a body of flesh, but had a phantom body, as docetists are thought to have taught; and the purpose of this statement then would be to counter that false teaching. But as I translate this verse, "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus is Christ come in the flesh is of God," the writer basically says exactly what he has repeatedly stated elsewhere in the epistle, i.e., that Jesus is the Christ. The words EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA, which follow CRISTON and qualify it, add to the basic affirmation of the writer--that is Jesus is the Christ--by saying that Jesus is Christ in incarnate form, focusing attention on the historical Jesus. The OT scriptures spoke of the coming of the Christ and this Jesus is that Christ incarnate. Prior to being enfleshed in the historical Jesus, Christ existed in the minds of the people of God as the much awaited saviour and in their scriptures, and that Christ has now "come" in the form of Jesus.
It is instructive to compare this with John 1:14: KAI hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO KAI ESKHNWSEN IN hHMIN, a statement thought to have been penned by the same writer as 1 John. According to the writer, the LOGOS pre-existed the historical Jesus and it (or he, depending on your theological views) became incarnate in Jesus.       

> > In both verses the idea is that the flesh and blood human being known to 
> > the world as Jesus is the Christ.
> This strikes me as a theological conclusion that ignores the verbal idea in 

LJ: I hope that my preceding comment clarifies my position.

> > In John 9:22, we have the same verb hOMOLOGEW used with an 
> > object-complement construction: EAN TIS AUTON hOMOLOGHSHi CRISTON--"if any 
> > one confessed him [Jesus] to be Christ."
> If you examine the 26 uses of hOMOLOGEW in the NT, you'll see it used with a 
> variety of constructions, depending on the precise meaning of the word in 
> that context.

LJ: The purpose of citing John 9:22 is to provide support for the particular translations I have advocated, not to exclude other possibilities of translation with hOMOLOGEW. 

> > Moffat, the only exception I have noted, translates 1 John 4:2 as "every 
> > spirit that confesses Jesus as Christ incarnate comes from God."
> In the Greek text as it stands, this is not possible, since the participle 
> is ELHLUQOTA, masculine singular to agree with CRISTON. You would need 
> ELHLUQOS here. In NA, the only significant variant listed is the 
> infinitive, ELHLUQENAI, which would mean the same thing as ELHLUQOTA.

LJ: I noted this problem too, but didn't comment on it because it may be that "comes from God" in Moffat's translation corresponds only to EK TOU QEOU ESTIN. It may be that Moffat's "Christ incarnate" renders the entire phrase EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA. Moffat's translation has a reputation for being highly colloquial.
If "comes" in Moffat's translation renders ELHLUQOTA, then, as you correctly pointed out, the grammar does not support that part of his translation. Anyway, subject to this defect, if "comes" is related to ELHLUQOTA in Moffat, then he must have contrued ELHLUQOTA with ESTIN as a periphrastic construction (periphrastic perfect)--"has come".

> > I checked with Wallace and was happy to see that he agrees with me on the 
> > translation of the subject verses (see note 41 on p. 188).
> With all due respect to Wallace, I don't think that "object complement" is 
> the best way of conceptualizing the grammar at these verses. The variant 
> listed above shows that at least one ancient scribe saw the construction as 
> equivalent to the accusative-infinitive. But then again, Wallace sometimes 
> does odd things with grammatical categories.

> N.E. Barry Hofstetter, semper melius Latine sonat...

LJ: If ELHLUQENAI stood in the original, then the reading would be KAI PAN PNEUMA hO hOMOLEGEI IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI LHLUQENAI EK TOU QEOU ESTIN and the meaning would be "And every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ to have come in the flesh is from God." 
In this context, it is interesting to note the various variant readings that exist for 1 John 4:3, KAI PAN PNEUMA hO MH hOMOLOGEI TON IHSOUN EK TOU QEOU OUK ESTIN, ranging from IHSOUN CRISTON in the place of just TON IHSOUN to IHSOUN KURION EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA.  Obviously, some scribes had a problem accepting the simple TON IHSOUN, which is the original reading.  A note in the NET Bible says, "The author's failure to repeat ... [CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA] in the negative repetition in 4:3a actually suggests that the stress is on Jesus as the confession the opponents could not or would not take." Judging from the various variant readings in the UBS GNT, the scribe/s who introduced  ELHLUQENAI in v. 2 had been at work here too!
With regard to 2 John 7, the difference between this and 1 John 4:2 is only the form of the verb ERCOMAI. In the former, it is ERCOMENON whereas it is the participle ELHLUQOTA in the latter.
Leonard Jayawardena 		 	   		  

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