Monday, March 09, 2015

John 1 (again)

The next clause [of John 1:1] places θεός in position P2 for the sake of emphasis. The omission of the article serves to disambiguate whether θεός is the subject or direct object [sic]. Since both λόγος and θεός are established and known, the article is omitted to identify it as the predicate nominative and not the subject, since it is fronted. Including the article would have created ambiguity as to whether ὁ θεός was in a topical frame or being emphasized.[note] Since λόγος is the topic of v. 1c, the switch in v. 2 to a pronoun (the near demonstrative) is possible. The anarthrous reference to θεός indicates that it is part of the predicate, not a topic of this pericope.—Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page 211

[Note: Mistaking a definite ὁ θεός as the subject would have been very likely, since the object of one clause often becomes the subject of the following clause—for example, vv. 4–5 switch from life > light > darkness in succession. Furthermore, since both θεός and λόγος are established, the omission of the definite article serves to portray θεός as though it were new information. The choice to emphasize θεός virtually precludes the possibility of including a definite article with this noun. To do so would introduce all kinds of problems from a discourse point of view as to the identification of the topic.]

See the preceding post for the explanation of P2.

<idle musing>
Yet another reason the Arian/Jehovah's Witness reading of John 1 is beat a dead horse—again.
</idle musing>

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