An example of 'blatant ignorance'?
In the book "Sixty Questions Every Jehovah's Witness Should Be Asked- a penetrating examination of the Errors and Evils of The Watchtower,"* by Ian Brown, p.23, we read:
"The Person of Christ. ...N.B. In translating John 1:1 the way they[NWT]do, the JW's display another BLATANT INCONSISTENCY. While they are quick to slip in the indefinite article in John 1:1, in a mischievous effort to back up their own false teaching, why, when the word "God" does not have the article IN OTHER VERSES in the same chapter(vs 6,12,13 & 18), do they NOT bother to supply the indefinite article ("a") in ANY of these verses?"
As any reader of the pages on this site which are devoted to discussing the renderings of John 1:1c can see, the above could only have been written by some one who is not only un-schooled in the Greek of the N.T. but has not "bother[ed] to "examine" the basis for the rendering as found in the NWT at this place. Instead of the NWT editor's being guilty of "BLATANT INCONSISTENCY" it is rather the case that Ian Brown is guilty of blantant ignorance! It is the case that he is the "mischievous" one by not understanding that not only were the NWT editors NOT following a 'hard and fast rule' here, but that we also have a unique situation in John 1:1,2 where one QEOS is said to be with another QEOS and only one QEOS is 'THE' QEOS. In none of the places where Brown cites is this the case. Also, Brown seems completely oblivious of the NWT Reference appendix on John 1:1c which discusses singular predicate nominatives which precede the verb and without the definite article which we have here in John 1:1c. Again, in none of the places Brown cites is this the case! We would like Brown to inform us what worth there is in comparing genitive uses of QEOS, such as those he cites, with predicate nominatives, such as we have at John 1:1c, even if both are anarthrous. Do not genitive contructs have a certain definiteness about them, whereas predicate nominatives do not? Still, here, he appears to be another one who is just relying upon and repeating the groundless arguements of others. We wonder then why Brown decided to write the book he did. If he was advised to he was ill advised.
Brown even says on the same page that to put an "a" in "front of "god"" is a "blatant breach of the rules of Greek grammar." But what Greek "rule" he is referring to no one can tell as he does not inform us! Again, it readily appears that Brown is very eager to use the word "blatant" when referring to the JW's New World Translation yet he is only showing that he himself is "blatantly" ignorant of the fact that grammatically the rendering of KAI QEOS EN HO LOGOS can be either "and the Word was God," or "and the Word was a god."(and other renderings are acceptable grammatically too).
Following the above belief that the New World Translation is in "blatant breach" of Greek grammar he than states in brackets that "experts in the Greek language maintain that QEOS EN HO LOGOS can only be rendered as, "The Word was God". Again, this is wholly incorrect. There may have been scholars who in the past have come out staunchly against such a rendering but these scholar's opinions were usually based upon a flawed understanding of Colwell's rule! Also, Brown is of course wrong again in stating that according to "experts" in Biblical Greek John 1:1c can "only" be rendered as "and the Word was God." Perhaps Brown should make himself familiar with those on this site whom have been quoted to show that grammatically the rendering "and the Word was a god" is a possible/legitimate one.(see M.J. Harris "Jesus as God," p.60)
So who really is in "error" here, or even "evil," to use Ian Brown's own term? The reader of this will readily be able to see it is he himself! There can be no excuses for Brown's position and others like him who write and speak similarly .
We will endeavour to contact 'Reverend' Ian Brown so that he can either retract and apologise for his "blatant" mis-representations* of his neighbour- the Jehovah's Witnesses, or allow him to try to defend what we believe is an indefensible position.# Watch this space!
(*Another such misrepresentation that can be mentioned, that Brown's book is, sadly, _steeped_ in, is found on page 28 where he devotes 7 short paragraphs regarding the NWT and Hebrews 1:6. In the 5th paragraph Brown states that the "Watchtower _condemned_ translations that render this verse as "worship" in an article in WT, 15th January, 1992, p.23. Of course they omit the fact that they[NWT] translated it like this for many years." However, on that page 23 of the above cited Watchtower issue there is absolutely _no_ "condemnation" of any Bible version in how they have rendered Hebrews 1:6! To read what The Watchtower actually said click here.)
(created March 2nd, 2001)
*Ian Brown's book was published in 1999 and so is a very recent publication. There are many other "blatant" errors regarding the NWT which he, sadly, makes. On the back cover of his book we are told: "Ian brown, MA Mth, is a minister with the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and has pastored a congregation in Northern Ireland's 'Maiden City', Londonderry, since 1987..."
# We do not insist that Brown has to accept the NWT's "and the Word was a god." What we have pointed out is the wholly fallaciousness of his criticisms of it. He ought to be able to admit that such a rendering is grammatically correct even though he feels it disagrees with what he believes is the Bible's teaching about the nature and person of the Son, Jesus Christ.That is his right and we will have no trouble allowing him that right. Are we guilty of using the 'ad hominem fallacy' when calling Brown an example of "blatant ignorance"? What is a ' ad hominem'? It is "appealing to ones prejudices rather than to reason, as by attacking ones opponent rather than debating the issue." We feel that we have dealt with the issues that Brown raises.When we use his own terms against him it is in relation to that which he written- not in regard to who or what Brown is. We are sure he has his own quota of intelligence and can be fair-minded. It is just that he himself is guilty of being ignorant of the very issues he tries to discuss. This may be self evident but which we have the right to make explicitly clear to any or all of our readers.This cannot be construed as an 'ad hominem' attack upon the person of Brown.#
October 13th 2002. We believe that Mr Brown is aware of this page as we sent emails out to those who would necessarily contact him about its existence. As yet we have recieved no reply to our e-mails. Hence, we feel justified in being 'hard' upon Mr Brown on this page.
April 17th 2004. We have written to the Rev. Ian Brown directly at the following address: Rev.Ian Brown, 1 Richill Park, Londonderry, Co.Londonderry. BT47 1QX. We will await his response if any.
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