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Literary and conceptual parallels discovered in the literature of Ugarit, however, have provided a more coherent explanation for the number seventy in Deuteronomy 32:8 and have furnished support for textual scholars who argue against the "sons of Israel" reading.
Michael S. Heiser is an American biblical scholar and Christian who has criticized ancient alien astronaut theorists.
Heiser has spoken out critically against proponents of ancient astronauts theories, especially Zechariah Sitchin. Heiser was featured in Ancient Aliens Debunked as an expert on the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern texts.
originally posted by: whereislogic
Coptic John 1:1 -- Ambiguous?
According to Dr. Jason D. BeDuhn, the Greek text of John 1:1 is, grammatically, not a difficult verse to translate. "It follows familiar, ordinary structures of Greek expression." (Truth in Translation, 2003, p. 132) Dr. BeDuhn would render the Greek of John 1:1c literally as "and the Word was a god," or in "a slightly polished" variant carrying the same meaning, "and the Word was divine." According to BeDuhn, the traditional, Latin Vulgate-inspired reading formalized by the King James Version, "and the Word was God," is the least accurate rendering of the Greek text, a reading that violates the grammar and syntax.
The same conclusion can be readily drawn about the Sahidic Coptic translation of John 1:1c. This is a fairly literal translation of the Greek, made in the 2nd or 3rd century of our Common Era, at a time and place where the Koine Greek of the New Testament was still a living language and widely understood in Egypt.
In regular Coptic syntax, auw neunoute pe pSaje means, straightforwardly, "and the Word was a god." And just as the Greek sentence at John 1:1c may express a qualitative force, the Coptic syntactical unit which corresponds to that Greek sentence may express an adjectival force. In other words, both may also be rendered as "and the Word was divine." (Cf. Bentley Layton, Coptic in 20 Lessons, 2006/7, pp. 7, 34) But is this ambiguity? No, for as Dr. BeDuhn states, both translations carry "the same basic meaning."
Still, some scholars are not satisfied with even their preferred "qualitative" meaning for John 1:1c, unless they can define "qualitative" as synonymous with "definite." For example, Daniel B. Wallace, in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (1996, p. 269) prefers a qualitative rendering for John 1:1c, but then goes on to say that "and the Word was God" is the simplest, most straightforward translation. That is a non sequitur.
John 1:1c is not carrying on a Greek philosophical dissertation about "persons" or "essences." But it is making an important distinction between "God" (Greek, ho theos; Coptic, p.noute) and another entity whom John describes simply with the Greek word theos (Coptic, ou.noute). The noun theos in the Greek of John 1:1c is pre-verbal and anarthrous. The noun noute in the Coptic of John 1:1c is in a regular indefinite syntactical unit. The force in both cases is the same: the Word is being distinguished from God, not identified as being God.
Further, John 1:1b emphasizes that this Word is "with" (Greek) or "in the presence of" (Coptic) God.
If, as some Trinitarian scholars assert, the idea of a qualitative rendering highlights the "nature" or "characteristics" of the Word rather than his identity, but this Word shared all the attributes and qualities that God (= the Father) has, then logically, the Word would be the Father. Yet, mainstream Trinitarians deride that idea as Sabellianism or modalism, "heresies" condemned by the church.
Is Coptic John 1:1 ambiguous? Not at all. But to be sure, it is the Trinitarian scholars who are forcing John 1:1 to be "ambiguous," not the Greek nor the Coptic text. The Greek text is not definite ("the Word was God") and neither is the Coptic text. Both the Greek and the Coptic texts agree that "the Word was a god" or "the Word was divine," which mean essentially the same thing.
Source: John 1:1 and the Coptic Versions
Non sequitur (logic) - Wikipedia:
"A non sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow"), in formal logic, is an invalid argument. In a non sequitur, the conclusion could be either true or false (because there is a disconnect between the premises and the conclusion), but the argument nonetheless asserts the conclusion to be true and is thus fallacious."
"What's Athanasius Got to Do With It?
Another of the basically irrelevant Trinitarian objections against translating the Sahidic Coptic of John 1:1c as "and the Word was a god" -- which is clearly what it literally says -- is that the Coptic translators could not possibly have "meant" to say that.
The reason given is that the dynamic 4th century Coptic scholar, theologian, bishop and "saint" Athanasius was the staunch adherent of Trinitarianism. And the Coptic Church itself is Trinitarian.
That argument may be of some value in refuting the inaccurate charge that everything Coptic must, by definition, also be Gnostic.
But it has no bearing on positively identifying the theology of the 2nd or 3rd century Sahidic Coptic translators, and no bearing on identifying their possible theological presuppositions while translating John 1:1.
Coptic scholar and translator George W. Horner, in his classic Coptic New Testament English translation, postulates a 2nd century date for the Coptic New Testament. Other scholars, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary give a 3rd century date.
Coptic Church tradition also dates the Coptic New Testament to the 2nd century, "under the supervision of St. Pantaenus [late second century] and St. Clement [160-215]." Therefore, it is quite possible that the Sahidic Coptic translation of the Gospel of John predated Athanasius [300-373] by a couple of generations.
So, what's Athanasius got to do with it?
And as for the Coptic Church, it has not always been a Trinitarian church. Its tradition ascribes its founding to the Gospel writer "Saint" Mark, and there is nothing Trinitarian in Mark's Gospel.
Besides, there was another famous (or infamous, according to one's view) presbyter and theologian in 4th century Alexandria, Egypt. His name was Arius, the noted opponent of Trinitarianism, whose doctrine "was once at least as popular as the doctine that Jesus is God." (Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, p. 7). Before Nicea (325 CE) many Coptic and other bishops considered Arius' theology to be "orthodox."
So, IF a case could be made for Athanasian Trinitarian influence upon the Sahidic Coptic translators, a similar case could be made for Arian, non-Trinitarian influence.
In point of fact, however, the Sahidic Coptic translators are anonymous. We don't know who they were. Therefore, it is impossible to state dogmatically what their theological presuppositions were, or even if their theological presuppositions influenced their translation of John 1:1.
It is just as likely that they simply made a fair, honest, and accurate translation of John's Greek as they understood it: ne.u.noute pe p.shaje, "And the Word was a god."
Attempts to link Athanasian Trinitarianism to the Sahidic Coptic translators is shown to be just another smokescreen put up by apologists for whom Coptic John 1:1 is extremely unsettling and inconvenient."
No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.