Thursday, April 12, 2012

Enter the Word...or Logos?

Hello my dear reader.  :)

An icon of St John the Evangelist
As some of you already know, I lead a bible study group at the Wesley Foundation called "Holy Heretics". We look not only at "heresies" and people that have been called "heretics" in the history of the Church, but we also look at some of the documents/books that some of these thinkers/movements used to either transmit their ideas or to support them. For our next meeting, my research is focusing in coming up with a comparison between the canonical Gospel according to St. John and the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas. I started to reread both gospels to find similarities and differences. As I picked up the first gospel, I once again read the first verse that I have read so many times I have lost count. Some of you probably know this verse as well:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
(John 1:1 NRSV)

While this is a familiar translation of this verse, I found out years ago (and to some of you this is old news) that "Word" is not quite the exact English translation for the particular Greek term that is translated as such; the same goes for the Spanish translation to "Palabra".

Here is the same verse with the original Greek term:

In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.

When I was younger, I would hear "Logos" and think of the funny drawing on my shoes or the half bitten apple of a certain computer company, and there is a heavy metal band that uses this name. But the word "Logos" refers to something else in both Christianity and Philosophy and depending on who (and the 'when') you talk to, it means something different. And this is another occasion when the theology/philosophy geek in me gets excited.

What is the Logos?
What does it mean?
Where does it come from?
Is this an original Christian concept or was it taken from somewhere else?
Why did the writers of the Gospel according to St. John use this Greek term?

With the help a few friends, along with what  I have learned so far during classes, reading, more reading, asking questions, and hours of thinking and staring at nothing in particular (or the coffee-shop wall) I will be sharing with you some of my views and thoughts on the Logos.

Stay tuned...



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