Logos and Memra


The word is Greek, and according to Berg’s Greek dictionary, it has a wide range of meanings. Generally speaking it has the meaning of ‘word’ or ‘speech,’ often with a stress on the subject matter of speech.

As understood, logos is a word with many connotations, and some of them have been imported into English and other European languages. We find it as a derivation in the word ‘logic’ and as a part of words like ‘theology,’ ‘logistics,’ and ‘logarithm.’ Generally, though, the word logos has the connotations of various mental activities or the expression of these.


The Greek Philosophers

Early in the history of science and learning we find a logos concept with the Ionian philosopher Heraclitus who was living in Ephesus on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor (d. ca. 475 BC). With him logos was “an ordering principle of the world.”[1] To quote Geschichte der Philosophie: “Against [the anthropomorphic description of the gods] Heraclitus put forth the ground-breaking idea of a divine world reason – the lógos – that is behind all what happens in the world.[2]

Also Plato (d. ca. 347 b.c.e.), quoting Socrates, kept the logos concept within the human sphere of experience. On Theaetetus of Plato, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy writes: “Now, turning to the fourth definition of knowledge as true judgment accompanied by Logos, Socrates wishes to examine the meaning of the term Logos, and comes up with three possible definitions. First, giving an account of something is ‘making one’s thought apparent vocally by means of words and verbal expressions’ (206c). The problem with this definition is that Logos becomes ‘a thing that everyone is able to do more or less readily,’ unless one is deaf or dumb, so that anyone with a true opinion would have knowledge as well.”[3]

Aristotle (d. 322 b.c.e.) kept the logos concept within man’s social framework: “For Aristotle, lógos is something more refined than the capacity to make private feelings public: it enables the human being to perform as no other animal can; it makes it possible for him to perceive and make clear to others through reasoned discourse the difference between what is advantageous and what is harmful, between what is just and what is unjust, and between what is good and what is evil.”[4]

However, the Stoic philosophers had a different idea of logos: “The centerpiece of Stoic philosophy was the concept of the logos. The universe is ordered by God and this order is the logos , which means ‘rational order’ or ‘meaning’ of the universe… Logos is a linguistic term; it refers particularly to the meanings of words. The meaning of an individual word all by itself is semeion ; the meaning of an individual word in the context of a sentence is logos . For the Stoic, the meaning (logos ) of each individual life, action, and situation is determined by its place in a larger whole, which is, of course, the whole course of history. In this view, history becomes a kind of speech by God.”[5]


The Hellenized Jews

In time, this logos model was taken up by some Jews. Especially the Greek speaking Jews in Alexandria, who were influenced by Hellenistic philosophy, found the idea interesting. At some time between 220 and 115 B.C. a book called the Book of Wisdom was written. The Catholic Encyclopedia has the following observation: “Whoever examines attentively the Book of Wisdom can readily see that its unknown author was not a Palestinian Jew, but an Alexandrian Jew. Monotheistic as the writer is throughout his work, he evinces an acquaintance with Greek thought and philosophical terms (he calls God ‘the Author of beauty’: 13:3; styles Providence pronoia: 14:3; 17:2; speaks of oule amorphos, ‘the formless material’ of the universe, after Plato’s manner: 11:17; numbers four cardinal virtues in accordance with Aristotle’s school: 8:7; etc.), which is superior to anything found in Palestine.”[6]

In the Book of Wisdom we find both God’s wisdom and His word active at creation. In chapter 9 verses 1 and 2 we read: “God of our fathers, merciful Lord, who hast made all things by thy word, and in thy wisdom hast fashioned man, to be master of thy whole creation.”[7] In chapter 18 verse 15 we find Gods word personified in connection with the death of the firstborn of Egypt: “All things were lying in peace and silence, and night in her swift course was half spent, when thy almighty Word leapt from thy royal throne in heaven into the midst of that doomed land like a relentless warrior, bearing the sharp sword of thy inflexible decree, and stood and filled it all with death, his head touching heavens, feet on earth.”[8]

The term was taken up by the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (d. ca. 40 AD) who tried to harmonize Greek philosophy with the Old Testament. After his death, he was to exert a heavy influence on certain Christian thinkers. Philo, influenced by Plato’s philosophy of ideas, makes the following comment in connection with the ritual dress of the Israelite high priest: “But this seal is an idea of ideas, according to which God fashioned the world, being an incorporeal idea, comprehensible only by the intellect.”[9] In other words: “In his doctrine of God Philo interprets the Logos, which is the Divine Mind, as the Form of Forms (Platonic), the Idea of Ideas or the sum total of Forms or Ideas. Logos is the indestructible Form of wisdom comprehensible only by the intellect.”[10]

Without using the term logos, Philo also speaks of a ‘firstborn son’: “For the Father of the universe has caused him to spring up as the eldest son, whom ,in another passage, he calls the firstborn; and he who is thus born, imitating the ways of his father, has formed such and such species, looking to his archetypal patterns.”[11]

In his Questions and Answers on Genesis II, Philo is more direct:

“Why is it that he speaks of some other god, saying that he made man after the image of God, and not that he made him after his own image?

“Very appropriately and without any falsehood was this oracular sentence uttered by God, for no mortal being could have been formed on the similitude of the supreme Father of the universe, but only after the pattern of the second deity, who is the Word of the supreme Being; since it is fitting that the rational soul of man should bear it the type of the divine Word; since in his first Word God is superior to the most rational possible nature. But he who is superior to the Word holds his rank in a better and most singular pre-eminence and how could the creature possibly exhibit a likeness of him in himself?”[12]

All this may sound both similar and dissimilar to people with a Christian background. Let us not forget, though, that the idea of a secondary agent at the creation of the world was not foreign to pre-Christian Jews. In Genesis chapter 2 verse 26 God says: “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” (Italics ours). Also the Greek Septuagint version, which was very likely the translation used by Philo, used plural, saying: “Ποιησωμεν αθρωπον κατ’ εικονα ͑ημετεραν και καθ’ ͑ομοιωσιν.”[13] One may claim that the plural used in this verse is the plural of majesty. It should be remembered, though, that when God the Almighty appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, he did not use any plural pronoun but only first person singular.[14] It is therefore safe to conclude that in Genesis God speak to somebody else.

Here the Bible book of Proverbs chapter 8 comes to mind. There the verses 22 to 31 read:

“The LORD [Hebrew: YHWH] created me the beginning of his works, before all else that he made, long ago. Alone, I was fashioned in times long past, at the beginning, long before earth itself. When there was yet no ocean I was born, no springs brimming with water. Before the mountains were settled in their place, long before the hills I was born, when as yet he had made neither land nor lake nor the first clod of earth. When he set heavens in their place I was there, when he girded the oceans with the horizon, when he fixed the canopy of clouds overhead and set the springs of ocean firm in their place, when he prescribed its limits for the sea and knit together earth’s foundations. Then I was at his side each day, his darling and delight, playing in his presence continually, playing on the earth, when he had finished it, while my delight was in mankind.”[15]

In these verses the quality of wisdom is personified. As the gender of wisdom [in Hebrew: ח֗כְמַה: ḥoḵmah] is feminine, some claim that the agent I question is a feminine being. However, it should be remembered that there is a difference between sex and gender. This is also the case in other Semitic languages that Hebrew. For instance, the Arabic word for Caliph (خليفة: alīfe) is a word in the feminine gender although it always refers to a male.[16]


Hellenized Christians

With the second century Christians the wisdom personified in Proverbs chapter eight was believed to be Jesus in his pre-human existence. In his book The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15, Bruce K. Waltke writes: “Beginning at least as early as the apologist Justin Martyr (A.D. 125), Christians, almost without exception, identified Sophia (the Greek equivalent of Heb. ḥoḵ) in Proverbs 8 with Jesus Christ.”[17]

Of Justin Martyr, who is famous for his logos-theology, the theologian Henry Chadwick writes:

“Justin’s debt to Platonic philosophy is important for his theology in one respect of far-reaching importance. He uses the concept of the divine Logos or Reason both to explain how the transcendent Father of all deals with the inferior, created order of things, and to justify his faith in the revelation made by God through the prophets and in Christ… It is implicit in Justin’s thesis that the distinction between ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ corresponds to the distinction between God transcendent and God immanent.”[18]

This was an idea inspired by Greek philosophy. In Hellenistic Greek the primary meaning of the word logos is the intelligent order of or reason displayed in the universe while certain philosophers regarded it is as a sort of person, the ‘world soul.’ This philosophical approach was taken up by later Christian writers, where some, such as Theophilus of Antioch (d. 181), preferred to regard the logos as God’s thoughts.[19] “ In Stoic thought the Word is reason expressed in voice or word, and in Theophilus we find a distinction between the Word of God residing in the Deity and the Word of God uttered or expressed in divine activity.”[20] Others, such as Origen (d. 234) regarded the logos as a sort of mediator between a transcendent God and the physical universe.[21] Interestingly, most of the Christian writers of the second and third centuries did not regard the logos as equal to God.[22]

But Hellenized Christian writers were not the only ones who took up the philosophical denotation of the word logos. So did the Gnostics.

The Gnostics were “a number of unorthodox sects that flourished in the Roman empire and western Asia in the first few centuries of the Christian era. Its chief diffusion centre was Alexandria.”[23] Unlike the early Christians, the Gnostics were rabid dualists. According to them, the world was split up in two opposites: the good and the bad. The good was all what is spiritual and the bad all what is physical, the visible world and everything related to it. They believed that this world originally was created, not by God Almighty, the loving Father, but by some malevolent demiurge. Consequently some of them believed that Jesus was the logos, but not with a human body. He just looked like a man, they said.[24]


First century Christians

In early Christian writings, we find a logos concept in the Gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1: “εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος.” A litteral translation would be: ‘In the beginning was the word and the word was with the god and the word was a god.’

Please notice that in the first instance the word ‘god’ has the definite article in accusative (τον θεον). In the second instance the definite article is missing (θεος). Thus, the writer made a distinction between ‘the god’ and ‘god.’ As people back they did not spell the word ‘god’ with capital letter when referring to the Creator, they often used the definite article instead. We therefore see that ‘ὁ θεος’ is used for God (the god) and ’θεος’ for a god.

Some claim that that the inverted word order of John 1:1b makes the definite article of ’θεος’ implicit. While it may be true that the article in certain cases of inversion may be omitted, this does not mean that it is automatically implicit. Please consider the following sentences from the Gospel of John:

  • John 4:19: Κύριε, θεωρῶ ὅτι προφήτης εἶ σύ: “Lord, I see that you are a prophet.” In spite of inversion, translators do not write ‘the prophet’ as if the definite article was implicit.
  • John 4:24: πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός: “God is spirit” (NEB). Inversion, but ‘spirit’ has no article.
  • John 18:37: οὐκοῦν βασιλεὺς εἶ σύ: “You are a king, then?” (NEB) Inversion without any implicit article before ‘king.’


The context of John 1 verse 1 reveals that the logos mentioned is Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the chapter shows us that the writer believed that Jesus had a prehumen existence with God and that he was divine. In verse 18 we read according to the King James Version: “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Interestingly, some of the oldest Greek manuscripts (such as Sinaiticus from the fourth century, Vaticanus from the fourth century, Ephraemi Rescriptus from the fifth century) do not say “only-begotten son” but “only-begotten god.” That the logos was regarded as having divine nature should not surprise us. After all, according to the first letter ascribed to the Apostle Peter, even the early Christians expected to “be partakers of divine nature,” (KJV) or, as The New English Bible puts it, “to share in the very being of God.” (The Greek text has “γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως.”)[25]

Consequently, we understand from the Gospel of John that the early Christians believed that Jesus Christ had had a pre-human existence with God and that he had had divine nature. But why did they call him logos or the Word?

Many claim that the term had been borrowed from Greek philosophy. After all, the Stoics had a logos concept although they (following Heraclitus) thought that logos is fire. [26] Furthermore, the (Middle) Platonist philosopher Philo of Alexandria had identified the logos with the personified Wisdom in Proverbs chapter 8:

“God freely willed the creation of the cosmos, first in a purely intellectual manner, and then, through the agency of His Logos (Philo’s philosophical term for the Wisdom figure of Proverbs 8:22) He brought forth the physical cosmos. Philo describes the Logos in a two-fold manner, first as the sum total of the thoughts of God, and then as a hypostatization of those thoughts for the purpose of physical creation. Thus we see Philo linking the cosmos to the intellectual realm by way of a mediating figure rather like the Platonic World-Soul. Borrowing a term from Stoic philosophy, Philo calls the thoughts of the Logos “rational seeds” (logoi spermatikoi), and describes them as having a role in the production of the cosmos which, he insists, was brought into being out of non-being by the agency of God.”[27]

Therefore the question is: What did early Christians think when they heard the Greek word logos?

We have to remember that various groups or interpretative communities may use the same word on different concepts, or about concepts with different connotations. An example of this is the word Allah. To an Arab member of the Maronite Church, this word refers to a triune God consisting of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To a Muslim the same word refers to the Supreme Being who can be neither a father nor a son. To Greek philosophers in the first century the word soul (ψυχη) refers to something spiritual, while the Christian Apostle Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians chapter 15 regards it as material, contrasting the concept of soul to something spiritual.[28] The reason is that Paul, although born and raised in Tarsus, a center of Stoicism, had his connotations of the word soul (ψυχη) from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint.

As seen from the New Testament, the early Christians were not much influenced by Greek philosophy. Contrary to the Platonists and the Stoics, they believed in a very personal God who had created the physical world. They were monists, that is, they did not subscribe to the idea of dualism. They did not believe in some immortal soul within man.[29] They had their vocabulary and concepts, not from the writings of philosophers, but from their Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.



Apart from this, the Jews in Aramaic speaking countries had a logos concept different from that of philosophically minded Jews in Egypt. The article “In the beginning was λόγος …” in Bible Researcher has this observation:

“After the Babylonish captivity the Jewish doctors combined into one view the theophanies, prophetic revelations and manifestations of Jehovah generally, and united them in one single conception, that of a permanent agent of Jehovah in the sensible world, whom they designated by the name Memra (word, λόγος) of Jehovah. The learned Jews introduced the idea into the Targums, or Aramæan paraphrases of the Old Testament, which were publicly read in the synagogues, substituting the name the word of Jehovah for that of Jehovah, each time that God manifested himself. Thus in Genesis 39:91, they paraphrase, “The Memra was with Joseph in prison.” In Psalms 110 Jehovah addresses the first verse to the Memra. The Memra is the angel that destroyed the first-born of Egypt, and it was the Memra that led the Israelites in the cloudy pillar.”[30]

In the Septuagint version the word logos is often used, but mostly in connection with the content of a message and in many places similarly to the use of Memra, as mentioned above.

The Jewish Encyclopedia writes:

“‘The Word,’ in the sense of the creative or directive word or speech of God manifesting His power in the world of matter or mind; a term used especially in the Targum as a substitute for “the Lord” when an anthropomorphic expression is to be avoided…

“In the Targum the Memra figures constantly as the manifestation of the divine power, or as God’s messenger in place of God Himself, wherever the predicate is not in conformity with the dignity or the spirituality of the Deity.” [31]

Some scholars claim that in the Jewish scriptures the memra cannot be regarded as personal, but this is contradicted by others.[32] Whatever the case, as we have seen above, terms such as wisdom and logos have been personified in the Bible although not originally personal beings.

The question therefore is: did John, who evidently had Aramaic as his mother tongue,[33] use the word logos because of its connotations in Greek philosophy or were the connotations of John’s logos similar to those of the Aramaic memra?[34]


The Septuagint

It is interesting to consider how the Greek word logos is used in the Septuagint Version. In the first chapters of Genesis of the Septuagint, the word logos is not used in connection with the creation of this world. In the sentences beginning with “And God said …” the word used for ‘said’ is not the verb λεγω, which is related to logos, but the word ειπεν. It is true this word is only used in present and imperfect tenses, and that it is therefore ειπεν is used. Still, by using ειπεν the immediate connotations of logos are lost.

The first time logos occurs in the Pentateuch is in Exodus 33:17 where it is used in the sense of subject matter: “I will do this thing [logon] that you have asked.”[35] Apart from this, the word mostly has the meaning of ”das Wort, im logishen, nicht i. grammatischen Sinne.”[36] Consequently, we often find logos with the connotations of ’message,’ such as in Judges 3:19, 20 and 2 Samuel 1:4. It may also be used with the connotations of ‘action’ such as in Judges 18:28 and 21:11. In Psalm 33:6 logos is used in connection with creation: “τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν“ (By the word of the LORD were the heavens made. KJV) [37]

The word logos is repeatedly used in the prophetic books of the Bible. To quote a couple of examples:

Jeremiah 35:1: “The word [λόγος] which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD.” Jeremiah 35:12: “Then came the word [λόγος] of the LORD unto Jeremiah.” Jeremiah 36:1: “This word [λόγος] came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying.” Hezekiel 1:3: “The word [λόγος] of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel.” Hosea 1:1: “The word [λόγος] of the LORD that came unto Hosea.” Joel 1:1: “The word [λόγος] of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.” Jonah 1:1: “Now the word [λόγος] of the LORD came unto Jonah.” Micah 1:1: “The word [λόγος] of the LORD that came to Micah.” Zepheniah 1:1: “The word [λόγος] of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah.” Haggai 1:1: “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word [λόγος] of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah,.” Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word [λόγος] of the LORD unto Zechariah.” Malachi 1:1: “The burden of the word [λόγου] of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.” [38]

As seen from this, the word logos is mostly used in the sense of a communicated message. In some of the cases, as in Jeremiah 36:1, it could be interpreted as the name or the title of the one who communicated the message. When considering the usage of logos in the New Testament, one should bear in mind that this part of the Bible was written by people in an interpretative community[39] that was accustomed to the vocabulary of the Septuagint. Consequently, we would expect them to decode the terms which the Septuagint happened to have in common with Greek philosophy according to what they had read in their Greek Bible, not according to pagan philosopher they had never read.

With this in mind, let us take a look at the New Testament writings attributed to John.


Logos according to John

There is no doubt that first century Christian believed that Jesus had had a pre-human existence and had been active in the process of creation. This is clear from the writings of the Apostle Paul, who evidently died about AD 67 during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Nero. Therefore it is not surprising to find the same belief with John, who evidently died more than thirty years later. Does that mean, though, that John uses the term logos with the connotations of pagan philosophy?

If the writer of the Gospel According to John had been influenced by the Stoic concept of logos, it is peculiar that he lets the main character of the gospel act in a way quite contrary to the Stoic ideal of απαθεια or indifference. The Gospel of John shows us an angry Jesus, a crying Jesus, and an annoyed Jesus. The Alexandrian theologian Origen (d. ca. 254) regarded these incidences as allegoric or anagogic, partly because this was his general method of interpretation in Alexandria, partly, no doubt, because he found it difficult to imagine that the divine logos could have human emotions.

Also the way God is described in the Gospel is different from the Stoic idea of God: “The Stoics also understand God as identical with the cosmos. They conceive of the cosmos, defined as the totality of all entities, as if it were a single entity, or subject, that has predicates. This ultimately allows the Stoics to deify the cosmos, a view that is commonly known as pantheism.”[40] This approach is rather different from what we find for instance at John 3:31-35. Naturally, explanations for this may be found. However, it is evident that the writer did not try to squeeze Jesus into a Stoic mold.

So if logos in John 1:1 is not a Stoic concept, what is it?

The word logos is used quite often in the writings ascribed to John: 39 times in the Gospel, 7 times in the First letter of John and 1 time in the Third letter of John. In the Book of Revelation, which has also been ascribed to John, we find the word 17 times. Interestingly, the only place where the word logos may give Stoic connotations is John 1:1.

It should be noticed that the introduction to the Gospel of John is very similar to that of John’s first letter. It reads (verses 1-3): “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life [περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς]; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”[41]

Here we again meet the logos, but here its meaning is explained: It is the word (or the message) of salvation.



While the Hellenistic philosophers two thousand years ago operated with a concept of logos or divine reason, this does not in itself prove that the writer of the Gospel of John took the concept from popular philosophy, even if his logos is described as having been active at the creation of the world. Also the Apostle Paul, who came from the city of Tarsus, known for its Stoic philosophers,[42] believed that Jesus in his prehumen existence was active at the creation of the world, but he did not use the word logos in this context. Evidently, first century Christians did not believe in a Stoic logos.

On the other hand, in the Septuagint Version (which was the Greek Bible of the early Christians) the word logos is mainly used as message. This is similar to how the word is used in the New Testament, beautifully illustrated by 1 John 1:1-3.

The parallel to logos the Aramaic speaking Jews after the captivity in Babylon used the word memra. This concept was at times personified and used on a sort of representative of God. As we have seen above, “In Psalms 110 Jehovah addresses the first verse to the Memra.”[43]

Consequently, when John uses the word logos on Jesus, it is either to say that this person, who was active at the creation the world, visible as well as invisible, is the embodiment of earlier prophecies and promises, or, even more likely, that he was called logos because he was the spokesman or representative of God.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if second and third century Christians had based their interpretation of John 1:1, not on the connotations of the Word in Greek philosophy, but on those of the Word in Jewish Aramaic tradition.



[1] “Heraclitus,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed June 8, 2014, http://www.iep.utm.edu/heraclit/.

[2] Christoph Helferich, Geschichte der Philosophie (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhaandlung, 1985) 77.

[3] “Plato: Thetaetus,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed June 8, 2014, http://www.iep.utm.edu/theatetu.

[4] Paul Anthony Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern: The Ancien Régime in Classical Greece (University of North Carolina Press, 1994) 21.

[5] “Ancient Roman Philosophy,” Crystalinks, accessed June 10, 2014, http://www.crystalinks.com/romephilosophy.html.

[6] Martin Vcelak, ed. Catholic Encyclopedia, “Book of Wisdom” (iPad edition 1.4:).

[7] The New English Bible (Harmonsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1974), 105, 106.

[8] Ibid. 115.

[9] Philo, “On the Migration of Abraham,” The Works of Philo (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993), 263.

[10] “Philo of Alexandria,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed June 10, 2014, http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/#SH11a.

[11] Philo, “On the Confusion of Tongues,” The Works of Philo, 240.

[12] Ibid., 834.

[13] The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (New York: Samuel Bagster and Sons Limited, (no year)), 2.

[14] Exodus chapters 3 to 6.

[15] The New English Bible (NEB)(Harmonsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1974), 756, 757.

[16] ”A few nouns ending in َة, and those verbal adjectives to which َة is added to intensify their signification, are masc., because they apply to males.” – W. Wright, A Grammar of the Arabic Language (Cambridge University Press, 1985), 179. (The Arabic ending َة equals the Hebrew feminine ending of ־ה in ח֗כְמַה.) Similar to this, the feminine word קהלת (koheleth: Ecclesiastes) refers to a male.

[17] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15 (Michigan: Wm. B. Erdmann Publishing Co., 2004), 127.

[18] Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books Ltd. 1971), 77.

[19] D. S. Wallace-Hadrill, Christian Antioch: A study of early Christian thought in the East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982) 44: “To Theophilus the Word is impersonal, an attribute of the Father analogous to his wisdom, strength and power, and only attends limited independence when it is emitted with his wisdom for the purpose of creation.”

[20] Ibid., 68.

[21] Jørgen Christensen-Ernst, Antioch on the Orontes: A History and a Guide (Lanham, Maryland: Hamilton Books, 2012), 167.

[22] J. Daniélou, A.H. Couratin & John Kent, The Pelican Guide to Modern Theology, Volume 2 (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1971), 79: ”The formulae which defined the relation of the Father and the Son in the Trinity continued to be characterized by the subordinationism which marks most of the Christian thinkers of the pre-Nicene period.”

[23] Benjamin Walker, Gnosticism – Its History and Influence (Wellingborough, England: Crucible, 1983), 11.

[24] Joan O’Grady, Heresy (Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element Books, 1985), 22, 23, and Benjamin Walker, Gnosticism – Its History and Influence (Wellingborough: Crucible, 1989) 76.

[25] For a discussion of the word GOD, please see https://antiochene.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-term-god-in-the-bible-2/ and https://antiochene.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/the-word-god-in-the-roman-empire/ .

[26] ”Stoicism,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed July 9, 2014, http://www.iep.utm.edu/stoicism/.

[27] ”Middle Platonism,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed July 9, 2014, http://www.iep.utm.edu/midplato/.

[28] Chapter 15 verse 44 reads in Greek: ”σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν, ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν. ἔστι σῶμα ψυχικόν, καὶ ἔστι σῶμα πνευματικόν.”

[29] This subject will be dealt with later.

[30] “In the beginning was λόγος …”, Bible Researcher, accessed July 14, 2014, http://www.bible-researcher.com/logos.html.

[31] ”Memra, ” JewishEncyclopedia.com, accessed July 29, 2014, July 29, 2014, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10618-memra.


[32] For a discussion on this subject, please see Daniel Boyarin, “The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to John, The Harvard Theological review, Vol. 94, no. 3 (Jul. 2001) 253-256 and George Foot Moore, “Intermediaries in Jewish Theology,” The Harvard Theological review, Vol. 15, no. 1 (Jan. 1922) 41-56.

[33] It seems that people living at the Sea of Galilee at the time of Jesus spoke Aramaic. When Jesus gave his disciple Simeon (Peter) a nickname, he called him Kephas (Kephas; Aramaic Kipha, rock).– “St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles,” Catholic Encyclopedia, accessed July 30, 2014, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm. John came from the same area as Peter.

[34] Some would claim that the Gospel of John was not written by John himself. However, the author of the Muratorian Fragment, which is believed to be from the second century, regards the gospel as authentic, and papyri written about 100 years after the death of John ascribe the gospel to him. The oldest fragment of the gospel we have (called p52) was written about 25 years after his death. The fact that its Greek text is well written does not disprove John’s authorship. He could have used a secretary as did Paul for other reasons. Whatever the case, even if the author would have been somebody else, the writings of Ignatius of Antioch, who died soon after John, show that the ideas presented in the gospel were widely accepted by the Christians in the East towards the end of the first century.

[35] NEB, 99.

[36] ”The word, not in its grammatical but its logical sense.” Erwin Preuschen, Volständiges Griechisch-Deutsches Handwörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neues Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur (Giessen: Verlag von Alfred Töpelmann, 1910), 666, 667.

[37] Translated from: בדבר יהוה שׁמים נעשׂו וברוח פיו כל־צבאם.

[38] The quotations are from KJV, the Greek part from LXX.

[39] Interpretative community: Those who share the same codes are members of the same ‘interpretative community’ – a term introduced by the literary theorist Stanley Fish to refer to both ‘writers’ and ‘readers’ of particular genres of texts (but which can be used more widely to refer to those who share any code). Linguists tend to use the logocentric term, ‘discourse community’. Thomas Kuhn used the term ‘textual community’ to refer to epistemic (or epistemological) communities with shared texts, interpretations and beliefs. Constructivists argue that interpretative communities are involved in the construction and maintenance of reality within the ontological domain which defines their concerns (see Discourse). The conventions within the codes employed by such communities become naturalized amongst its members. Individuals belong simultaneously to several interpretative communities. – Daniel Chandler, “Glossary of Key Terms,” Semiotics for Beginners, accessed July 28, 2014, http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem-gloss.html#I.

[40] Crandall University, ”2.2.3. God as identical to the Cosmos,” Stoicism, accessed July 28, 2014, http://www.mycrandall.ca/courses/grphil/stoic.htm#S223.

[41] KJV.

[42] Strabo, Strabo’s description of Tarsus, 14.5.14, Crandall University, accessed July 28, 2014, http://www.mycrandall.ca/courses/ntintro/Images/StraboTarsus.htm.

[43] “In the beginning was λόγος …”, Bible Researcher.


About Antiochene

Writer and translatorliving in Antioch on the Orontes (Antakya, Turkey) and Copenhagen.
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