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There were some Greek communities that worship logos as some form of universal rules that govern the universe.

I wonder if John 1:1 is a direct quotation of that?

I think I read that the Pantheists think a bit like that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panentheism

Logos is God in Panentheism

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    Could you supply a link to support your comments about "some Greek communities" and the Pantheists?
    – agarza
    Jun 12, 2023 at 16:30
  • I think I read that somewhere I forget. In the beginning was logos. Logos is God or something. And not John. So i wonder if John 1:1 is a direct quotation of something else
    – user4951
    Jun 22, 2023 at 7:46

2 Answers 2

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John 1:1-5 is a brilliant allusion to both Hebrew and Greek ideas.

Greek Ideas

The Greek concept of the Logos as the primeval creative source of thought and matter is well-known. Note the comments of Albert Barnes:

The term [Logos] was used by the followers of Plato among the Greeks, to denote the Second Person of the Trinity. The Greek term νοῦς nous or "mind," was commonly given to this second person, but it was said that this nous was "the word" or "reason" of the First Person of the Trinity. The term was therefore extensively in use among the Jews and Gentiles before John wrote his Gospel, and it was certain that it would be applied to the Second Person of the Trinity by Christians. whether converted from Judaism or Paganism. It was important, therefore, that the meaning of the term should be settled by an inspired man, and accordingly John, in the commencement of his Gospel, is at much pains to state clearly what is the true doctrine respecting the λόγος Logos, or Word. It is possible, also, that the doctrines of the Gnostics had begun to spread in the time of John. They were an Oriental sect, and held that the λόγος Logos or "Word" was one of the "Aeones" that had been created, and that this one had been united to the man Jesus. If that doctrine had begun then to prevail, it was of the more importance for John to settle the truth in regard to the rank of the Logos or Word. This he has done in such a way that there need be no doubt about its meaning.

Hebrew Ideas

It is also well-known that John 1:1-5 is either a midrash of Gen 1:1-4 or a strong verbal parallel to it because it contains all the same elements of:

  • beginning
  • word/spoken
  • God
  • creation
  • light and shining
  • darkness

Thus, John's inspired prologue was ingeniously designed to appeal to both Hebrews/Jews and Greeks alike.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Biblical Hermeneutics Meta, or in Biblical Hermeneutics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Jesse
    Nov 14, 2023 at 8:52
  • Thank you, Dottard, for the quote from Albert Barnes! I wish I knew where he got his information, whether there is any manuscript evidence for his assertions. Here's why I ask. In following up with the statements from 19th-century theologians, I've found that a number of their claims were simply fabricated. I'm not suggesting that this is the case here with Albert Barnes, but expressions such as "commonly" and "extensively in use" make me suspicious.
    – Dieter
    Nov 19, 2023 at 17:52
  • Also relevant is what I found here: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/17053/…
    – Dieter
    Nov 19, 2023 at 18:24
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Portions of John 1 indeed might have been a quote.

Rabbi David H. Stern in his translation, Complete Jewish Bible, formatted the first part of John 1 in couplets as follows:

• Verses 1-5 is indented as a quoted hymn (or possibly a creed).

• Verses 6-8 is the author's commentary.

• Verses 9-11 is again indented as a quote.

• Verses 12-13 is additional commentary.

• Verse 14 is indented as a quote.

• Verse 15 is commentary.

• Verses 16-17 is a quote.

• Verse 18 is commentary.

Thus, the original text might have read as follows:

In the beginning was the Word, / and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. / He was with God in the beginning.

All things came to be through him, / and without him nothing made had being.

In him was life, / and the life was the light of mankind.

The light shines in the darkness, / and the darkness has not suppressed it.

This was the true light, / which gives light to everyone entering the world.

He was in the world — the world came to be through him, / yet the world did not know him.

He came to his own homeland, / yet his own people did not receive him.

The Word became a human being and lived with us, / and we saw his Sh’khinah,

the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son, / full of grace and truth.

We have all received from his fullness, / yes, grace upon grace.

For the Torah was given through Moshe; / grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.

This is a beautiful description of the Messiah and clearly personifies the Logos (Word) of God made flesh. And when the Son was taken up to be with the Father, he made a promise to his disciples in John 14:15-17 (ESV):

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

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