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

Barry H. nebarry at verizon.net
Tue Dec 28 08:12:57 EST 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Leonard Jayawardena
To: nebarry at verizon.net
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:49 AM
Subject: RE: [B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7

Greetings, Leonard, commentaria infra:

>[BH] 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.

And there is a reason for that: indirect statements, whether 
accusative-infinitive, accusative-participle, or hOTI clauses, are normally 
considered direct objects of their verbs.

>[BH] 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.

Ok, well I didn't clearly read it that way, obviously.  I would then render, 
"Every Spirit which confesses that Jesus [the] Christ has come in the flesh 
is from God."

> > 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.

I think you are making much ado out of nothing.  You are making very subtle 
point based on a difference minor in both Greek and English.  By adding the 
words "EN SARKI" John also counters docetism, even if he didn't have that 
particular problem in mind.

> [BH]This strikes me as a theological conclusion that ignores the verbal 
> idea in

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

And see my revised response.

>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.

That's possible -- I hypothesized that Moffat may have emended the text 
differently, but this works too.  I somehow doubt that he simply misread the 
text.  Colloquial?  That's a kind word.

>[BH] 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.

>LJ: If ELHLUQENAI stood in the original, then the reading would be KAI PAN 
>the meaning would be "And every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ to have 
>come in the flesh is from God."

Which is apparently how the scribe in question understood the text, 
suggesting that he sees Jesus Christ as practically a name or name and 
closely associated title, and that the entire clause is simply indirect 
discourse (which I think is the natural way to read the text).

N.E. Barry Hofstetter, semper melius Latine sonat...
Classics and Bible Instructor, TAA
(2010 Salvatori Excellence in Education Winner)
V-P of Academic Affairs, TNARS
bhofstetter at tnars.net


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