The Theological, Political, and Social Dangers of (a mistranslation of) John 1.1-3

Last week, I posted a link to this article, which was a different take on the prologue of John. I really thought that I would get harangued for such a link, noting being the KJV first, and not respecting the true meaning of John’s prologue.

I debate the nature of the Logos, rather, John’s use of the Logos, from a post-4th Century (and Western) standpoint – yet I have mentioned my doubts that John used it in such a deep and theological manner has often ascribed to him by the Platonists among us (Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen). I am working on something – still in the thought process – of John’s Prologue, but until then, I am filling in the blanks with various authors, fellow bloggers, such as Suzanne McCarthy. (Her posts are here and here.)

In the beginning was the word, and that word was with God: and God was that word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and without it, was made no thing, that made was. In it was life; And life was the light of men; And the light shineth in the darkness, and darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:1-5 WTNT)

While Suzanne (I hope she doesn’t mind me calling her that – call me Joel!) uses the Matthew’s Bible, I’ll refer to the first translation of the Bible from Hebrew/Greek to English – made by one sainted fellow, killed for not using the Latin Vulgate, named William Tyndale. It was not until the KJV-1611 that the pronoun associated with the Logos was made male. While this is reassuring to some, it might not be theologically correct, especially since John’s prologue is pulled directly from the Wisdom Literature of the Jews, namely Proverbs, Wisdom (of Salomon), Sirach, and Baruch.

In all of the Wisdom Literature, Wisdom (Sophia) is seen as feminine, and while this may too be a translator’s choice, never once is Wisdom seen as ‘male.’ Let us not forget that Paul assigns the title of Wisdom to Christ (1st Cor. 1.24) (I personally prefer to remove the genders of both Sophia and Logos, and simply, as Suzanne says, worship the Living God.)

(Another thought – which I know has been covered, but I know not where – is the application of gender to the pronouns of the Spirit.)

What then, if we allow simply the word of God to speak for itself? What of ourselves will it condemn?

(Peter Kirk as an interesting response to Suzanne as well and Dr. Gayle provides us a post for thought as well. And since I am collecting posts, here is another one from a while ago.)

You Might Also Like

9 Replies to “The Theological, Political, and Social Dangers of (a mistranslation of) John 1.1-3”

  1. Sophia again today. This is another fine post of yours! I love your connection of John's prologue to other works. Are you assuming the LXX for each as the most direct impact? Or do you think the Proverbs in Hebrew and the original (Hebrew) Sirach and Baruch might also have been John's sources?

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.