Robert Bridges, ed. (18441930). The Spirit of Man: An Anthology. 1916.
|Opening of Gospel of St. John|
|IN 1 the beginning was MIND,|
| and that Mind was with God,|
| and the Mind was God.|
|The same was in the beginning with God.|
|All things were made by it:|| 5|
| and without it was not anything made that was made.|
|In it was life,|
| and the life was the light of men.|
|And the light shineth in the darkness,|
| and the darkness overpowered it not
|Note 1. S. John. Opening of Gospel. In the beginning was the Word. In the original Greek this name for the second Person of the Trinity is LOGOS, a masculine word, which, like our old English word Discourse, had two significations, namely Reason and Speech. It is thus found in Aristotle, and passed from him to the Stoics and thence to Philo: and its adoption by theologians was no doubt encouraged by its double signification, which allowed it to cover much ground; for, indicating both Mind and the expression of Mind, it served to convey the idea of Mind expressing God in the world, and acting thus as a Mediator between God and man. A contemporary rival term was SOFIA, that is Wisdom, a feminine noun, which is seen in the preceding quotation [and see Augustine in 32]. This theological Logos came to be represented in Latin sometimes by Sermo, but eventually by Verbum, a neuter noun, which our translators rendered literally by THE WORD. In the Vulgate the passage is continued by a neuter pronoun, and Tyndale followed, translating all thynges were made by it. The gender of Logos must have aided its adoption. In the Italian gospel THE WORD is feminine.|
Translation of Logos being impossible, it is apparent that there is an advantage in the orthodox THE WORD, because that term has no applicable meaning, and cannot therefore be mistaken for a definition: the disadvantage of mistranslating Logos by Mind is that in suggesting meaning it may cause misunderstanding. But it does suggest the main underlying meaning and sets a plain man on the right track of ideas, which is essential to the context in this book. It removes a veil from the fundamental truth of the theological terms, and that truth is of the greatest value to common thought.
Theologians worked the metaphor of human speech in the creative Fiat of Genesis to connect Logos through Verbum with the creation of the world. And this is helped by S. Johns Gospel beginning with the same words as Genesis. [back]