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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Note (15.) to "DEFinite John 1:1c - DEF"

15.  A correspondent asked me about the earliest manuscripts and also asked: "Do we know if the original writers understood, or used, the proper rules of composition?" My response:

It really doesn't matter. In the investigation of John 1:1c, for example, I am interested in the grammar, syntax and usage of John only (see note 17). If the original writer did not fully understand the "rules," it does not matter since I am looking for parallel usages by him to see what he intended by them.

I am not talking about the 1000 year old (and later) manuscripts (used for the TR), nor even manuscripts made 500 years after the originals. I am speaking of those made from about 50 years after the original and up to about 300 years after the original. And yes, even the 4th century manuscripts were still in the NT (Koine) Greek, as a comparison with the older papyri show.

Copies of the NT Greek (Koine) manuscripts were copied to follow the original. The copyists of the first three or four centuries, at least, were made by those who understood the language. And the copies thereafter, when copied with the care we should expect for such work, should have also retained the grammar and syntax of the original in most cases.

Origen, 185-254 A.D., not only had access to extremely early manuscripts (possibly even originals), but actually spoke the NT Greek language and even taught it professionally.

He wrote a "Commentary on John" in which he quotes the Greek of John 1:1 (and more) just as we have it in all early manuscripts still existing today. And, moreover, he tells us in this same Commentary that the language of John 1:1 shows Jesus to be a god, not God (as the parallel constructions by John in a proper study also prove)!
The papyrus manuscript of ca. 150 A.D. (p66) shows the syntax of John 1:1c, and other parallel examples I have used, to be as we have it in our modern texts.
The papyrus manuscript of ca. 175 A.D. (p75), "the best of all the early Christian scribes" agrees.

The earliest complete "letter uncials" manuscripts of the 4th and 5th centuries show the same.

If an error has been made in John 1:1c (or any of its parallels in John's writings), it is very strange that it hasn't shown up in any of these very early manuscripts! The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the text we have of John's writings matching the original (at least in the places which parallel his usage at John 1:1c)! And that is all we need for an examination of this important scripture.

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