On Sat, Dec 04, 2004 at 05:01:55PM +0000, Ray Brown wrote:
> > E.g. the initial portion of the gospel of John reads:
> >
> >	en arxe: e:n ho logos. kai ho logos e:n pros ton theon. kai theos e:n
> >	ho logos.
> >
> >In the last clause, _theos_ (God) appears without a definite article.
> Indeed it does. _theos_ is the *complement* of _e:n_ "was". It would be
> incorrect Greek to have the definite article before the complement. The
> presence of the article before _logos_ and not before _theos_ makes it
> clear which noun is subject and which is the complement - the word order
> certainly does not.

Ah, so that's why the article is omitted. Fascinating.

> >Although most orthodox Christians understand that it refers to (the)
> >God,
> If it is _a god_ then we have polytheism.


> It is just plain silly to say that if the noun does not have the definite
> article we must translate it with the indefinite. It would mean in the
> same chapter we must translate:
> verse 6: "There was a man, sent from a god....."
> verse 12: "He [the Word] gave them a power to become children of a god..."
> verse 13: "..who are born not from bloods nor from a will of a flesh nor
> from a will of a man but from a god."
> verse 14: "And the word became a flesh..."
> etc., etc., etc.

And I thought that as a supposedly linguistically-informed group, we'd
be aware of the fallacies in doing this.

> >Also keep in mind that the Greek definite article does not always
> >behave like the English definite article;
> Exactly! As I said, it is being uncritically anglocentric to assume that.
> In fact the Greek use of the article reminds me far more of French usage.
> Good grief! Aren't we to suppose to be linguistically aware on this list!

As well as having the ability to evaluate things objectively without
taking (uninformed and unfounded) pot shots at what one does not
personally agree with. I should've thought we've learned from the
flamewars in the past. But who am I kidding, this is the internet
after all... Still, it was a hopeful thought.

> On Saturday, December 4, 2004, at 01:55 , caeruleancentaur wrote:
> [snip]
> >BTW (not to you, Ph.D.), neither the Matthean annunciation story
> >(1:24) nor the Lucan (1:35) mention The Holy Spirit/Ghost.  In those
> >verses the definite article is not used, so the translation would
> >be "a holy spirit."
> That IMNSHO is a dogmatic statement and contrary to linguistic evidence -
> see above.

If the translation of _pneuma hagion_ were "a holy spirit", then one
would be compelled to ask, how many holy spirits are there? (No, don't
answer. I am NOT trying to start another flamewar here, but just
pointing out the logical conclusion of adopting such an
interpretation.  It is up to the reader to decide which route he
wishes to take.)

> I have been on this list for many years and during that time have got to
> know the religious persuasion or otherwise of several members. Even tho I
> do not agree with all their views, I respect them and would never use this
> list to offend them.

Besides the fact that this list is not the place for such discussions.
Aren't we supposed to be talking about constructed languages??!

> This discussion, if it is to be done properly, requires a serious
> *non-partisan* consideration both of the use of "(God's) holy breath"
> thoughout the Jewish scriptures and of the patristic writings on the
> Trinity. These are both certainly interesting (and deep) topics but I feel
> there are more appropriate fora on the Internet for such discussions than
> the 'Constructed Languages List'. Superficial and/or partisan discussion
> is bound to cause to offense.

Personally, I believe in standing for what I regard to be true in
spite of offense. But I also believe that there is an appropriate
forum for every discussion, and that this particular discussion is
inappropriate on this list. Especially not if people are going to
start taking potshots at each other.

> As Andreas so recently said of another thread: "But I think this thread
> would better die; it's OT, and potentially inflammable."

Yes, please let it die.


Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that
leads to himself. -- Herman Hesse