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

Leonard Jayawardena leonardj at live.com
Wed Dec 29 03:24:22 EST 2010


> From: nebarry at verizon.net
> To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 08:12:57 -0500
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7
> ?
> ----- 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."

LJ: Wrong again. If IHSOUN is the direct object of hOMOLOGEW, CRISTON is the complement of IHSOUN and EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA qualifies CRISTON, then the meaning can only be "Every spirit which confesses that Jesus is (or 'as') Christ 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.

LJ: The choices before us are quite clear and there is no room for "also" here. If you translate 1 John 4:2 as "Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is from God," then what the writer affirms is that Jesus had a body of flesh, as opposed to, say, a phantom body, as the docetists are said to have taught. On the other hand, if you translate this verse as I do, "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus is (or "to be," or "as") Christ come in the flesh (or "Christ incarnate"), is from God," then the focus is on the historical Jesus being the Christ.  

> >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...

LJ: You have ignored 1 John 4:3 and my comments thereon. "[T]he scribe in question" and his type, having problems in accepting the simple reading TON IHSOUN, which is the original reading, had also been busy interpolating words in 4:3 in an attempt to harmonize their erroneous understanding of 4:2 with 4:3. 
In the UBS GNT text, 4:3 reads: KAI PAN PNEUMA hO MH hOMOLOGEI TON IHSOUN EK TOU QEOU OUK ESTIN. The following variant readings are listed in the critical apparatus of the UBS GNT:
2. TON IHSOUN EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA (with some mss. in this group substituting ELHLUQENAI for ELHLUQOTA)

You can see from this that TON IHSOUN must have been the original reading that gave rise to the others. As the NET Bible note I reproduced in my last post 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." The shorter reading TON IHSOUN does not make any sense in 4:3 if 4:2 is understood as saying that "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is of God," which is why some scribes felt it necessary to add the words EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA to make 4:3 harmonise with their (erroneous) understanding of 4:2, with some wishing to further "improve" upon it by adding ELHLUQENAI, not content with just EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA. It must have been these same "culprits" who introduced ELHLUQENAI in 4:2 in the first place. One can imagine a time when docetism became a concern for these scribes, who saw in 4:2, as traditionally translated, an effective scriptural counter to that heresy.

At the same time there were some scribes who did understand IHSOUN CRISTON in 4:2 as an object-complement double accusative, as evidenced by the variant reading IHSOUN CRISTON for TON IHSOUN in 4:3.

Leonard Jayawardena 		 	   		  

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