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Rejoinder to Stafford's Response to Hartley

By Don Hartley, Th. M. (Ph.D student Dallas Theological Seminary)

This is a belated (approximately 6 months) reply to Stafford. It is a follow up to his response to my comments made over his remarks on the WEB about my article published at the Biblical Studies Foundation web cite. For the reader's benefit he might first consult my article, "Revisiting the Colwell Construction in Light of Mass/Count Nouns" then the initial comments Stafford makes about the article (originally publicly posted at the Trinity Discussion Board but subsequently archived and deleted), followed by my response to these initial comments , then Stafford's rebuttal of these comments and finally this rejoinder to his response .

Below several issues are repeatedly revisited: (1) My methodology of categorizing mass/count nouns, (2) The issue of lexical tagging and semantic signaling supposedly circumventing the semantic category of Q-d, (3) The treatment of Harner and his abuse suffered at the hands of Stafford, (4) The accusation of reading of later theology into the text, (4) Language and reality, and (5) Other incidentals related to Stafford's mishandling of John 1:1.

This response is long in coming. Most of the comments below are simply an attempt to untangle some misunderstandings that continue to surface as I read Stafford's reply to what I have written. I did not deem his rebuttal as particularly striking or detrimental in any way to my article on Colwell's construction. Although I do believe that Stafford has put forth his best attempt in arguing an Arian view of John 1:1 it nevertheless fails miserably to convince. Beyond this I am continually baffled at his evasive attempts to get around the semantic understanding of the mass noun. I guess I can understand his fear in conceding to this in the light of putting to rest his particular view of John 1:1. I am also mystified at how my study is perceived or rather framed by him as dependent on "later theology" for its strength. Stafford needs to be reminded that it is Arianism which began subsequent the first century and which the church rightly rejected as heresy. It is quite an anachronistic undertaking to suppose one can read out of the NT documents rather than into the text these Arian ideas.

Hartley apparently did not gather from my brief remarks that I am writing a response to his article, which, to be honest, contains a number of misunderstandings, particularly as they relate to the classification of count nouns, as well as his treatment of John 1:1.

I eagerly await a response without ad hominem. But let me assert something at the outset of this rejoinder-and this is key. As I understand Stafford, he essentially has two major problems with my article as it relates to John 1:1. The first issue relates directly to the semantics of the mass noun-is it purely or exclusively qualitative or does it always intrinsically entail indefiniteness as well? The second relates to the application of this sense to the singular count noun in John 1:1c. Two subsidiary but related problems concern semantic categories Q without I, and to a lesser degree I without Q.

Now he mentions these issues below, and I will treat them accordingly. But the reader should keep these two issues in mind as he (or she) proceeds through the response.

Now Stafford indicates that my methodology of classifying mass/count nouns are incorrect or inadequate. But my method is clearly spelled out in the article, and is based on lexemic rather than contextual factors. The distinction Stafford makes in "lexical tagging" and "semantic signaling" (to avoid the implications of both the semantics of mass nouns and the transferal to singular count nouns [John 1:1, 14]) is his way of denying the semantic category of Q-d (Q). In other words that John 1:14 indubitably points to the idea that Jesus is a human being is an inference based on the passage. But the passage does not state it in those terms. It simply states Jesus became "flesh" or "human." The fact that the noun is mass, the construction is Colwell's, and that it is discourse related chiastically to John 1:1c, all converge to indicate a purely qualitative semantic to both nouns ("God" and "flesh"). To state Jesus is "a man" because "flesh" signals this direction is a fair deduction in the long run-but that is an extralingual inference. The only reason we know Jesus was "a man" from "flesh" is simply because we know of an existing group having that characteristic. We know there are other men or humans. Thus if Jesus is human, he must necessarily be a human. But Stafford goes further and insists that the noun is to be regarded as I-Q (Q-I) because of this semantic signaling. This kind of maneuver runs into problems and cannot be worked out practically with all mass nouns. For example, "God is love" would signal "God is a love." This is absurd. But it is not simply the fact that this procedure cannot be applied universally to all mass nouns so much as it is a methodologically flawed adventure.

Applying this procedure to other mass nouns illustrates its absurdity. "The stone became bread" does not mean "The stone became a bread." Neither would it be correct to infer that if several stones became bread that therefore one cannot have bread but breads. "The man became silver" does not mean "The man became a silver." Nor would it be correct to infer that if several men became silver that therefore we are left with silvers. "The chair is furniture" does not mean "The chair is a furniture." It would be a silly notion to infer from a room full of chairs, tables and foot stools that we have a room full of furnitures or that each one demands an indefinite article-a furniture." The liquid is coffee" does not mean "The liquid is a coffee." Nor would it be sound at a dinner party with a room full of different blends or brands of coffee for the guests to refer to the room as "a room full of coffees" but simply as the coffee room or the room with all sorts of coffee. The latter idea is an example of limiting a mass noun by an ammassive. "The house is concrete" does not mean "The house is a concrete." Nor would several homes made of concrete demand that we understand the homes are concretes. By concrete we mean "made of concrete." No amount of "semantic signaling" changes the fact of the semantic notion of mass nouns.

Furthermore, referring to the category of Q as I-Q (Q-I) is to completely ignore the differences between these two semantic ideas and thus to miss what the author had in mind. Certainly there is a difference between saying "John is human" (Q) and "John is a man" (I-Q or I). Qualities alone are emphasized (Q), qualities as well as individual within the group (Q-I) or simply an individual among a group with qualities in the background (I). It is an illegitimate totality transfer of the oddest sort to jump to the first sense (Q-d) through semantic signaling a Q-I (I-Q) category.

Of course, if you ask Hartley he does not need to read my reply, for he has already made up his mind and foretold the type of reply that I would give. He wrote:

"I am aware that this subsequent critique will be met with the often yet meaningless phrases, "He has completely misunderstood . . . ." or "He is totally confused . . . ." et al. But the truth of the matter is quite to the contrary."

Now, the facade Stafford wishes to advance is the notion that he remains open minded and others who disagree with him, if they have reached conclusions opposite from his own, are somehow recalcitrant or reading later theology into the text. It is ironic how this later theology is always Trinitarian rather than Arian. So much of Stafford's response is given to this type of argumentation, albeit irrelevant to either my study or the issues at hand. My study, on the contrary, was one of induction and probabilities. Disputed passages (like John 1:1) were excluded from the tabulations and were determined by them later. The probabilities that the singular count noun theos in John 1:1c is Q or I-Q is mentioned in the article. The semantic category Stafford wishes for is simply statistically improbable for singular count nouns in John's Gospel (56%Q, 17% I, 17% I-Q, and 11% D). Now this study has been met by Stafford with the predictable statements mentioned above. But how this is to be related to my mental well-being or my willingness to read what Stafford says is beyond me. I read what he says per chance there is something between these types of statements worth considering.

Obviously Hartley is not going to acknowledge his glaring shortcomings, but they are quite obvious, and I can assure you that the remarks I made, in passing, are far from meaningless" (see below); rather, they are entirely accurate in terms of describing Hartley's treatment of the issues under consideration. But, again, Hartley's immature disposition is one that cannot be taken seriously, especially when he characterizes an eventual reply based on a few passing remarks, that were not even spoken to him. But, as you will see, there is little else for him to grasp onto in hopes of reading his view into the text, and when it comes to explaining his misrepresentation of my material.

There are no doubt shortcomings in my article that need working over. The problem is that Stafford pretends to have identified the nature of these shortcomings. But from what I have read of his comments, there seems to be a tremendous ellipsis, on the one hand, between those "glaring shortcomings" that are reportedly "quite obvious" and on the other hand his criticisms of the article found in his response. The connection between the glaring shortcomings and the actual data is conspicuously absent.

I was made aware of Stafford's comments on-line. I found them and responded. For some reason he finds this strange since it was supposedly personal, being addressed to an individual other than myself. All well and good if it is truly personal (e-mail). But if it is addressed to an individual on the WEB it is in the public domain. The fact that others made me aware of the posting and I was able to subsequently access it is proof enough of its public character. It is irrelevant, therefore, that it was "not even spoken" to me. In fact I find his response here a bit immature.

Now I am accused of reading my "view" into the text-an oft repeated theme of his. If anything should be clear from my article, it would be the opposite. No one with my theological convictions would deliberately construct a study where the generic whole of the NT regarding singular count nouns is I-Q-a fact still misrepresented by Stafford. This fact alone indicates that the statistics were compiled quite independent of theology. The paper sought to follow a linguistic method of grammatical study, not judge whether it was legitimate only if it conformed to a so-called later theology (Arian or otherwise). It will be left to scholars to judge whether that has been faithfully and soundly executed. As for me, all I can say is that I proceeded with objectivity to the best of my ability quite apart from and at times nearly detrimental to the historic faith. My results are the expression of grammar not theology. Since I used the former and only appealed to the latter in assessing John 1:1 it can hardly be used as the cause of my findings.

In regards to supposedly misrepresenting his material, what follows below will demonstrably prove the fallaciousness of that charge. But isn't this always the accusation Stafford labels on those who arrive at different conclusions than himself? And further, isn't this what I predicted would happen? Yet my prediction was ironically turned into a disposition on my part to be intractable or unwilling to even read his response. Although this response is six months behind, I read his rebuttal within days of its initial posting.

This is truly amazing. Hartley actually considers my brief comments on his article, which I gave after a casual reading of key sections since people were, for some reason, excited to find such an article that they thought had cast some doubt on something I said in my book, a "response." No wonder he calls it "feeble"! Hartley can feel free to wait until I actually give a response before he labels my response as "feeble." But, then again, since he has only succeeded in demonstrating the very point I made in my "feeble response" it probably does not matter that he jumped the gun here.

Now in regards to the article about casting doubt on his book. Only two footnotes mention Stafford. These notes were added to the article after it was written. Further, this article is a condensed version of the Thesis in 1996, two years before his book was published. The article (and Thesis) were written with the intent of finding out, as scientifically as possible, what the semantics of an anarthrous pre-copulative PN was. A key to the whole thesis is the understanding of the semantics of mass nouns-and I hate to repeat myself but here it is again-is that mass nouns cannot be indefinitized nor semantically pluralized. Thus the noun is always qualitative (Q) without the possibility of indefiniteness being included at all-thus labeled Q-d. And yes the result of this does cast considerable doubt if not completely dismantles the argument put forth in Stafford's book.

Now this alone indicates Stafford's real problem. He does not want to admit of such a semantic category beyond stating that it is "possible." But we have proved it is not just possible but actual. When confronted with this piece of evidence, as stated above, he denies it and tries to wrench out of a mass noun (John 1:14 SARX) an indefinite sense. Thus given the chance to acknowledge its actuality, he denies it. Now that is quite convenient, when one wants to protect a theology, but also quite misleading when evidence is produced giving actuality to his possibility and he then denies both it and its implications.

Below is the issue of Harner, Stafford's use (abuse) of him, and his anemic attempt to discredit the whole discussion.

I honestly cannot figure out how some of you trinitarians fail to understand the point so frequently and in so many respects. And then you marvel at and object to my highlighting of your careless handling of the material. At least this has proven true in the case of several others, and Hartley appears to be following suit. Let me show you what I mean:

Stafford claims to provide a refutation of my claim that Stafford gets Q = I-Q from an abuse of Harner's work. It would not be an abuse if he simply recognized the semantic category, but he goes much further than that. But the reader needs to keep in mind Stafford's real fear-the semantic nuance of mass nouns applied to count nouns. He invariably ties indefiniteness to qualitativeness in his headlong desire to deny the category of qualitativeness alone as existing.

Recall my objection to Hartley's comments: "The author [Hartley] is totally confused about what I have said on this matter, which has nothing to do with Harner's analysis." So, you would think that Hartley's response would contain a section from my book that shows that I state or imply that Harner suggested or implied that "qualitativeness [was] intrinsically or necessarily bound to this semantic tag."

I do have a section (which he cites later) on how Stafford uses Harner's study. It is clearly laid out in the article and in my first response. Stafford goes on to quote my response. Here is what I said:

The discussion surrounding Harner's study is the misuse Stafford makes of it as it is discussed in his book (JWD, 179-85) and practically worked out in his appendix by Al Kidd (341-43). I could have spent a lot of ink dealing with Stafford's misunderstanding of Colwell, Dixon and Harner to mention only a few but my purpose in discussing Harner was to appreciate the legitimate semantical perimeters that Harner's article would justifiably lead a reader to infer. In other words, Does Harner insist or suggest that Q = I-Q? The re-examination was necessary because Jehovah's Witnesses consistently cite him as confirming their understanding that qualitativeness (Q) = indefinite-qualitative(I-Q or Q-I).

Stafford comments on the above statement.

1) Where in my book do I claim or imply that Harner suggested or implied that "qualitativeness [was] intrinsically or necessarily bound to this semantic tag"? Note: I am, at this point, merely concentrating on the specific charge that I used Harner in this way. You may read the pages to which Hartley refers, but nowhere in my book will you find such a use of Harner, neither by myself or by Al Kidd.

I attempted to demonstrate in my first response that this is exactly what Stafford does with Harner's article. Of course Harner didn't infer this necessary connection between indefiniteness and qualitativeness, but Stafford always assumes it. To repeat, Harner stated that Q and indefiniteness were not inimical to each other which is a far cry from never being separate as Stafford insists! (see below)-that is THE abuse of Harner. Now the question is, Did Stafford use Harner in such a way as to legitimize his translation of "a god" in John 1:1c? The answer is unequivocally YES.

For an understanding of this whole issue one only needs to consult my article. The point of Harner and the point to which Stafford and JW's have historically capitalized on is Harner's blending of these categories (Q and I), especially Harner's phrase, "primarily qualitative" because this allows them to retain indefiniteness universally. Stafford even cites the 1984 NWT to indicate this as well as denying that it is "definite" -a point at which I agree. He then chastens Robert Bowman for noting this abuse with characteristic double-talk. And it is here that his purpose for using Harner is clear. Stafford states, "True if citing Harner's article were for the purpose of using his conclusions as evidence that Harner himself understood theos in John 1:1c as a reference to a being, who though having the nature of God, was nonetheless some sort of inferior divine being, this would then betray a misunderstanding of his article" (JWD, 182 emphasis added).

Now we live in the Clinton era where statements need parsing. Perhaps the reader has already caught the gaffe. But lets make plain what is said here. The key idea in order to quality as abuse for Stafford is located in the phrase "that Harner himself understood." His point is rather ludicrous. Namely, If we present Harner's research as indicating that the phrase should be translated as "a god" and if we concurrently indicate that this is what Harner himself believed, then that enterprise would be illegitimate-for obviously Harner is a Trinitarian, and Trinitarians don't concur with that idea. So if we (JWs) said he believed this, of course that would be incorrect and "betray a misunderstanding of his article." So Stafford conveniently sets himself free and clear to continue to misrepresent the research of Harner all the while claiming he is not misrepresenting Harner because he is not claiming that "Harner himself understood theos in John 1:1c as a reference to a being, who though having the nature of God, was nonetheless some sort of inferior divine being" (JWD, 182). So Stafford first abuses Harner's study then denies it by redefining what constitutes that abuse!

But this is not what Bowman meant by abuse in his comments at all-Stafford knows this. What Stafford is in effect saying is Harner's personal belief in the Trinity is contrary to his [Harner] own statistical results, and we [JWs] are using his results which support an indefinite-qualitative sense to John 1:1c, but we are not alleging this is the belief of Harner, for Harner clearly believed and stated the opposite-apparently opposite of his own results.

In effect Stafford denies a charge never leveled against him, namely that JWs use of Harner was a representation that Harner himself was an Arian! Since Stafford never used Harner for such a venture, he denies the abuse. But this is not the abuse, nor the charge. But it is here, and places mentioned in previous response, that Stafford's real abuse of Harner is quite plain for anyone to see. He implicitly accuses Harner of the same thing he accuses everyone else who differs from Arian theology-their personal belief in the Trinity precludes them from accepting their own evidence. So although he would never label Harner an Arian, he continues to use his research to promote his fallacious understanding of John 1:1c.

Now we live in an era of pseudo mea culpa. Do we really need another pseudo-confession of an alleged crime which was never committed (accusing Stafford/JWs of accusing Harner of being an Arian), or an evasion by equivocating on what is meant by misuse/abuse of Harner to Stafford's own definition of abuse (the claim that Trinitarians affirm that Stafford/JWs affirm Harner is an Arian, rather than simply that his research is abused), or admitting to charges that were never labeled against JWs in the first place (no one ever accused Stafford/JWs of saying Harner was an Arian)? What Stafford finds patently difficult to admit is the charge to which he is blatantly guilty of-namely, using Harner to promote the silly notion that qualitativeness always includes the semantic idea of indefiniteness!

2) Hartley claims he "could have" spent more time on this and that, and I have no doubt that he could have done so. But when you get it wrong who cares how much time you 'spend' on it? Trinitarians need to back away from themselves and stop thinking that whenever they "respond" to something that their response is the final word, etc. Time and time again they write replies that really contain no substantive argumentation, and which are usually accompanied by terrible misunderstandings of basic Bible teachings, due to their fealty to the creeds. Additionally, what they do write often argues against the very point they seek to prove! More on this below.

I assume "basic Bible teaching" is that of the Watchtower? I do hold to the basic truths of the creeds but this is a red herring as it pertains to my study. Anyone who reads my article without an Arian ax to grind will see this quite clearly. To my knowledge I never mention the creeds in the article. But Stafford is content to brush off the lexical, grammatical and statistical study and lead readers on a wild goose chase. Framing my study in Trinitarian terms amounts to nothing more than a caricature. On the contrary it is Stafford's idea of "basic Bible teaching" that seems to predispose him to reject my results. Furthermore, I have yet to find one legitimate criticism of the study itself.

Now, how much time can be spent on writing when you've gotten it wrong? The answer is how much time it took to write 373 pages I suppose.

3) Hartley misleadingly claims that "Jehovah's Witnesses consistently cite him as confirming their understanding that qualitativeness (Q) = indefinite-qualitative (I-Q or Q-I)." Again, we do no such thing. We merely cite him in response to the claim that THEOS in John 1:1c is definite, which is a claim that trinitarians have abused for decades, and in support of what we see as a qualitative emphasis for THEOS in 1:1c. See below for more on this point.

I claimed earlier that their use of Harner consisted in (1) denying definiteness to theos, (2) affirming that theos is qualitative, which is (3) always taken to invariably include indefiniteness. The logical deduction is obvious and clear. This is how Stafford takes Harner and how he abuses his study. My comments above are a conclusive statement and how Stafford maintains he does not abuse Harner's category. My study excludes any possible way of equivocating Q to be I-Q (Q-I). But more about that below.

Stafford continues to deny the obvious. He quotes me: "The fallacy we wished to expose is that while we acknowledge a semantic category of I-Q, we deny that this somehow infers that Q = I-Q or that there is no such thing as Q apart from I (indefiniteness)."

Could you please cite the examples you give in your article that you feel most strongly support the above assertion? Could you also point out where in my book there is a claim to the effect that "there is no such thing as Q apart from I (indefiniteness)"?

To the first part. How could there be examples in my article that support the above assertion if I have just stated that the above assertion is incorrect? Now if he intends to question whether I can give examples where a noun is purely qualitative and no indefiniteness is involved the answer is clear-namely, ALL MASS NOUNS! Again his failure to come to grips with the nature of mass nouns is patently clear. To ask for an example is its own demonstration of his inability to grasp the implications of mass lexis. For a complete list of mass nouns that occur in PN constructions in the NT one can consult my Thesis (98-100) where I list 61 class A nouns, 25 class B nouns, and 6 class C nouns-none of which carry the indefinite semantic.

All such denials by Stafford that he doesn't use Harner's study for affirming an indefinite sense to qualitativeness should be met with a great deal of skepticism. My suspicion is that he will continue to define for himself what abuse entails and claim there is no abuse going on all the while continuing the abuse.

On the second issue. Where does Stafford claim to the effect that there is no such thing as Q apart from I? I have already demonstrated where he denies this above in his abuse of Harner. Further, his response to what a mass noun is semantically has confirmed it (remember the idea of semantic signaling?). In his book he lists no noun having the semantic nuance of Q-d (Q).

But let me offer an invitation to Stafford. Is he willing to admit of a semantic category of qualitativeness independent of indefiniteness? And if willing, is he able to produce an example? If he is willing only to admit of the possibility, then I would like to be given an example of a possibility in his mind, not simply told that he merely admit of the possibility without giving any.

Stafford quotes me further,

"Admittedly, Harner opened up the semantic domain to include such a category of which previous (Colwell) and later (Dixon) studies have not fully acknowledged. Our study grants the semantic tag as well as five other distinct domains (D, I, Q, D-Q, Q-d, I-Q)."

None of the above has anything to do with my passing remarks on your article, so why are you repeating what we already know from reading what you have said? Please refocus.

I find this (rhetorical?) question difficult to swallow in light of the fact of Stafford's failure to take responsibility for his abuse of Harner's work. The linkage of his understanding of John 1:1c and Harner is undeniable, although I'm sure he will continue to deny it in the manner he has done thus far. It is hard to tell, based on what Stafford says, that he has fully comprehended (if not completely read) my study. Therefore, it is necessary at least to remind him and others just what the real rather than imagined issues are.

Stafford cites me, "Further, it is not clear in his [Harner's] article that Q does exist apart from I, but this is not explicitly stated. A fair reading of his study, then, should leave the matter outside the realm of certainty in regards to that insistence."

Can you give examples from Harner's article where he is somehow unclear about this? Also, again, you're talking about something (namely, how Harner's analysis can be used) that does not deal with my approach to this subject. See below.

See my article fn 48 where I document how Harner could be misconstrued on this matter. My point is that Harner himself does not explicitly distinguish the categories of Q and Q-I (I-Q). That is my point. I have no doubt that he holds to a category of Q apart from I but it is not clear beyond a doubt in his article. Now I would like Stafford to show where Harner is clear on this issue. And if he is clear on this, why then does Stafford reject it as a distinct semantic category?

He cites me again, "In other words, what can be known is that Harner understood that I and Q were not inimical to each other. At times a noun included both nuances with qualitativeness taking priority."

Is this a new point to anyone here?

What is apparently not understood by Stafford, is that Harner made this statement in opposition to a scholarly consensus that viewed these categories as practically incompatible since Colwell. Even the subsequent study of Dixon denied the blending of categories that Harner granted. The situation is reversed with Stafford. He understands these categories as indivisibly united! What might be new to Stafford is the very point that mass nouns seem to contribute to the semantic discussion-there is a semantic category of quality that excludes the notion of and is not bound up with indefiniteness. This is a repeated theme on my part but a consistently denied fact on Stafford's.

He cites me again, "It is illogical and absurd, however, to insist that whenever Q as a semantic category is invoked, indefiniteness must be by necessity a part of the semantic package."

Thank you for telling us that. Now, I have two requests: 1) Where do I make such a claim, and 2) please provide, for purposes of discussion and illustration, what you consider clear examples of purely qualitative count nouns, in an anarthrous precopulative position.

Need I refer back to his "semantic signaling" in demonstrating his antagonism to this idea? It should be remembered that Stafford does not affirm the semantic category that my study proves exists. Having denied the category he later turns around and limits its existence to the mass noun an admission that is detrimental to his view. But then he turns this into a "semantic signaling" of a count noun, thus denying that the mass noun is really exclusively qualitative (see earlier discussion). He then asks somewhat oddly for an example of a qualitative count noun that exhibits this qualitative feature! But how can he ask for a demonstration of a count noun exhibiting a semantic category that he refuses to acknowledge exists for mass nouns? In addition to this he also questions the concept of transferring the semantic category (Q-d) from the mass noun to the count noun (Q). I might note here that it is not strictly a transferal but the creation of a semantic category to which count nouns could also exhibit that we have in mind. Now there is nothing theoretically prohibiting a singular count noun from this semantic notion.

Now if Stafford is willing to concede not only the truth of my statements above, and not only the possibility of purely qualitative nouns but also their actuality in mass nouns, this discussion would be much furthered. But up till now, he has been unwilling in any of these points to acquiesce. As for clear examples, the chart at the end of the article listed them. Isn't his request just begging for a repeat here?

Now just a quick point on what makes up a clearly qualitative count noun. As I illustrated above it is perfectly viable to understand a count noun as purely qualitative, i.e., to exhibit the same semantic nuance of a mass noun. For example, one can say, "God is a Spirit" (I, I-Q [Q-I]) or "God is Spirit" (Q)among several other options where the nominal "Spirit" is a singular count noun (John 4:24). I would consider this text a clear instance of the Q nuance. This passage is excluded in my study because I considered only those references with explicit rather than implied EIMI verbs. Nevertheless the implied mental placement of the verb appears almost certain to be between the two nominatives-thus amounting to a proposition in an implied Colwell construction. At any rate, the lexeme determines it to be a count noun while the context demands that this noun be taken as purely qualitative. It is a statement on the nature of God-God is Spirit. God is not simply a Spirit relegated to spatial confines or a member of a class of other spirits. God is Spirit in the sense of omnipresence, an attribute essential to the statement and exclusively bound to His essence. No other being shares this feature therefore no other beings can be inferred to which class He would be a member. So here is an example where the qualitative feature is exhibited in which no class of other "spirits" may be inferred who are not at the same time and in the same sense God.

To utilize "semantic signaling" we would reason that because God is Spirit, he must be of the class of spirits. Since he is of the class he must be a Spirit. Therefore the noun would be I-Q (Q-I). But this reasoning, as noted above, is the type of nonsense that should be avoided. The reference to extralingual referents is extraneous to the context that demands otherwise. Moreover, if there are other spirits who share the quality of omnipresence then there are many gods or Gods! Surely one cannot equivocate on the term "spirit" here and reach any other consensus. At a bare minimum, omnipresence is included in the referent to which the term spirit refers. Thus PNEUMA is used here to point to the divine nature to which no other extralingual agent shares. This example at least shows that other members need not be inferred simply because quality is under discussion-in fact all but God are excluded. God shares a quality that no other beings share. This then is a clear instance where a personal noun is used in a qualitative sense to refer to an attribute (or attributes) of God and is a much clearer parallel to John 1:1c than Stafford's Acts 28:4 (JWD, 207-8). There are other "murderers" who murder but no other Spirit who has omnipresence.

Whereas determining the semantic notion of mass nouns is simply a matter of identifying them lexically, the precarious nature of singular count nouns is not their lexical identity but their semantic elasticity. Thus determining their specific nuance is a delicate exegetical task. But to a priori exclude the category of Q (equivalent to Q-d) as a semantic possibility is illegitimate, unwarranted and an unjustified ruse. Moreover, when one has included rather than precluded it as a semantic possibility the determination of its probability then rests on clear instances of its occurrence in specific texts. Each corpus of writing must undergo separate tabulations in order to build up probabilistic predilections for disputed texts like John 1:1c. This is why the generic whole cannot determine the a point which Stafford continues to misrepresent in my study. It is this kind of procedure that helps eliminate the influence of subjective inclinations, theological bias and appeal to extralinguistic factors that taint the results.

And my study illustrated its probability, in several areas, most of which you completely avoided. See pages 206-209 of my book, for example.

Re-reading Stafford's pages, I find no statistical argument for the probability of the view he indicates. Instead I find a theological argument couched in the either-or fallacy on page either you believe Jesus is a god distinct from the Father (noted by the prepositional phrase, PROS TON THEON) or believe in Sabellianism. "There is no other way around it [this conundrum]" he says (JWD, 210). Incidentally, he admits that O THEOS in John 1:1 refers to the Father but denies the personal distinction. "We agree that ho theos is the Father, but since John is careful to distinguish the being of the Father . . . from that of the Word, we must also do so in our translation of this passage" (JDW, 220). How Stafford maintains that this necessarily distinguishes between beings and in the next breath argues that the anarthrous THEOS cannot refer to this true God but another being in the attempt to avoid modalism, fails to understand that his argument is circular and proceeds upon false premises. It is, if I may so say, an example of reading later Arian theology into the text!

But if it is admitted that TON THEON refers to the Father-an undeniable personal epithet, then the pre-copulative anarthrous occurrence in 1:1c is indubitably to be understood as purely qualitative designation of being which is unequivocally applied to the person of the Word. The only other alternatives are to introduce polytheism (or di-theism) or equivocation of the noun theos. Thus the deduction is quite apparent to anyone without an Arian bias to see. It is certainly more reasonable to assert personal (which cannot be denied) rather than ontological distinction within the Godhead rather than posit the creation of a god, the term of which suffers equivocation to less than the characteristics of its previous reference. Admittedly, every being maintains a personal distinction with other beings, but the converse of this is not necessarily true. Every personal distinction does not demand an ontological addition. Stafford apparently and perhaps unwittingly uses a one to one correspondence view of humans (1 person = 1 being) as a model for interpreting John 1:1 and affirming his Arian theology. This is a fundamental error on his part that is not new. Both Arians and Modalists have historically been linked to this type of error. If the grammar points otherwise-and my study indicated that it does- then Arian presuppositions must be brushed aside. At any rate, I find no convincing grammatical rationale for accepting either his view nor for the translation of the passage he offers.

In your article, under the section, What is a Qualitative Noun? you claim:

"Thus count nouns by definition are nouns which can be semantically indefinitized and semantically pluralized. Therefore, in contrast to mass nouns, which cannot be indefinite in any sense, count nouns proffer the possibility of being purely qualitative like mass nouns."

Yet, NOWHERE do you interact with the examples that allegedly support your view of such a possibility (see my reference to your Appendix below)!

The article simply presented the results of my study which passages are argued in more detail in the thesis. Stafford's real problem, again, is the purely qualitative noun, especially the possibility of its application to the singular count noun. He simply doesn't accept the possibility that a singular count noun can exhibit the semantics of a mass noun nor the semantic nuance of mass nouns for that matter quite despite the evidence. But if one consults the quote (of mine) above he will note that all I affirm is the mere possibility of a semantic nuance that happens to exist for the mass noun for the singular count noun. Why does he not even admit of the possibility? He seems precluded from such by other than grammatical reasons.

And some of you wonder why I am always claiming that you misrepresent me. Well, it's because you do. I think this is about the tenth time you have intimated or directly stated that I have "insisted" that Q = I-Q (Q-I). I will no longer take you seriously until you explain from where you are getting this "wrong-headed" view.

So is it a misrepresentation of Stafford on my part to consistently indicate that Stafford always understands Q to be I-Q (Q-I)? If it is then I wish he would give me instances to disprove this allegation. Furthermore, is the indissoluble connection Stafford makes (Q = I-Q) really necessary to document? I might turn the readers attention back to what he calls "semantic signaling" as proof of his aversion to Q-d. Is Stafford therefore willing to admit that Q not = I-Q (Q-I)? Is he willing to acquiesce to the semantic category of mass nouns? Is he willing to admit of the possibility of that same semantic nuance being attributed to singular count nouns? If he admits that Q = I-Q is wrongheaded, and I certainly agree that it is, then he would surely be on his way towards understanding how a semantic category is not restricted merely to one type of lexeme-it is simply established by one. On supposedly misrepresentation, I should think that Stafford would not equivocate on his own views clearly set forth in his book and postings. If not, then one could only wish that he would simply admit that there is a category of Q that doesn't entail indefiniteness and give examples (rather than mere lip service) of cases where this category applies from his perspective.

Explain to us all, please, how demonstrating something as true for a mass noun, "opens up the feasibility of the transferal of that semantic category to other nouns (count) which do have the prospect of indefiniteness without necessarily latching the latter semantic tag with it"?

I have already demonstrated this above and examples from English could be multiplied ad infinitum. The reader should be reminded that Stafford is arguing past what he admits to accepting. He does not accept the semantic nuance of Q-d. So the question he asks comes across as a bit disingenuous. Nevertheless, we still might ask, What stops the application of a semantic category established by one lexeme from having access to another type of lexeme? To outright deny it, as Stafford does, is done a priori rather than a posteriori. What reasons are there for rejecting any semantic category, let alone this one, to any lexeme when that domain has been demonstrated to exist? I sense a bit of desperation here on Stafford's part, but this isn't the first time.

I know you list I-Q examples in your Appendix, but I want you to explain how "The member as well as the characteristics of that member are equally stressed." Just giving examples and failing to interact with them hardly proves your point.

The phrase "equally stressed" is perhaps overdrawn. Let me explain. In coming to rest on distinct semantic categories (I/I-Q) it was questionable whether to make a finer distinction between I-Q and Q-I. My thinking went back and forth on this when I worked through my thesis and I finally settled with excluding one (thus making them equal [I-Q = Q-I]) and simply retaining two categories where an indefinite nuance was an issue (I and I/Q). My choice here was to bypass attempting to make too fine a distinction in whether quality was emphasized more than the membership of the class or whether the individual was stressed over the qualities-although practically I did just that. This scheme, however, in no way militated against the indefinite category as having qualities in the background-in fact I have argued that every indefinite noun has qualities to some extent. In this way I could affirm when quality was an issue (I-Q) and when it was not an issue (I). On this matter I am flexible, having determined these two tags for more pragmatic reasons. However, if it helps for one to think of the I-Q category as Q-I and the I category as I-Q and omit completely the I category it would be acceptable. However, to be consistent, I will retain the tags that I started out with. On this matter, and maybe this is the only one, Stafford and I would probably be in agreement.

One example of what I have labeled as I-Q other than John's Gospel can be found in Matthew 14:26 (cf. Mk 6:49). The incident involves Jesus walking on the sea. The disciples spot him and exclaim, "He is (or "It is") a ghost!" This is a singular count noun as indicated by its capacity to take a plural form and the ability to be indefinitized. Thus the lexeme determines its categorizing into either mass or count. It is impossible to imagine quality as a non-factor. Context indicates the very purpose for the exclamation was based on the characteristics exuded by the appearance of Jesus walking on the water-an evidence/inference type of reasoning on the disciples part. But, although it is in the Colwell construction, an indefinite sense is also deemed as a necessary semantic component. Qualitativeness does not automatically entail indefiniteness, but one must still ask if that is the case, or whether context argues for this idea. Jesus wasn't simply ghost or ghost-like (Q), or some functional equivalent, but rather the disciples thought it or he was a ghost (I-Q; cf. Acts 12:15-an example of an articular pre-copulative PN)-thus the inference of other members is evident. The objectivity of the event in a referential aspect seems to add in confirming the indefinite sense as well. Thus both ideas are stressed. Whether this emphasis is equal or not is difficult to determine, but to omit quality from the forefront of the meaning seems to detract a very important semantic feature to the passage. Both are equally stressed in the sense that neither takes priority over the other whereas in the indefinite sense, qualitativeness takes a back seat. Thus when indefiniteness is involved in a count noun, quality is either near (I-Q) or remote (I). It is impossible to have indefiniteness without this additional semantic involved somehow, but the converse of this is not true (Q-d/Q not = I-Q).

Stafford quotes me as saying, "Qualitative (Q). The qualities, nature or essence of concepts, beings or things are stressed. It is usually associated with one member and usually without reference to class. Only singular count nouns that are qualitative will fall within this category."

Again, no examples are given. Also, when an example is presented, which I am sure you will be able to do, clearly explain to us how the "essence" is stressed, and how the count noun in the example is excluded from membership in the class.

The section to which he refers to has very good reason for not including examples. It wasn't the purpose of the section! The purpose of the section was simply to define the semantic categories and indicate where mass and count nouns fit within that scheme. For arguments and interactions with texts one will have to consult the thesis. The purpose of the article was to summarize the results and detail the process that led to these results.

Since this involves singular count nouns I simply need to refer to my previous examples given in this response. "John is human" and "John is a man" can both use the same Greek word ANTHROPOS for either but mean different things. Because an inference ("semantic signaling") can be derived from "John is human" to "John is a human being" it is still not legitimate to read back into the first statement an I-Q sense. It is clearly Q alone. The inference to I-Q is just that, an inference based on extralingual considerations. This then is an example where one singular count noun can refer either to qualities alone or an individual. Stating that "John is human" and indicating that "human" is the qualities to which are bound up with John no more makes humanity in general impersonal than does saying THEOS in John 1:1c makes God a category because it is used in this way. To reply, "Humanity is not a category!" is quite beside the point of whether it can be used in a qualitative sense. The words (symbols) themselves can be used in these ways to refer to either idea. Again, to say "God is Spirit" and "God is a Spirit" are two different uses of the noun. By indicating the first as qualitative neither puts God within the category of other spirits nor denigrates the referent of "Spirit" to less than personal because the nominal is used in this fashion. Personal PNs do not necessarily militate against its use as a category or qualities describing a person referred to. To admit that nominals, even THEOS can be used this way is a major step in overcoming the problem in John 1:1c. If certain less theologically loaded terms can be used this way, why not THEOS? Part of Stafford's problem is his inability to differentiate between symbol and referent of that symbol.

Examples proving "It has unique referential identity without reference to quality or nature" would be helpful. Please explain and illustrate your examples.

Stafford is referring to the "D" (definite) category where I state that here no qualities are in mind. These references usually include two kinds of statements. The first involve tautologies like "The one who has the bride is the bridegroom" (John 3:29) and the second involve proper names-although even with the latter John appears to intend, by his placement of Abraham and Elijah in the pre-copulative position, some qualitative connotations (Jn 1:21a; 8:39a; cf. 1:25b in post-copulative). Testing whether these are indeed definite involves converting the proposition and seeing if this necessarily entails the other. If one can necessarily affirm the consequent from the antecedent, or the antecedent from the consequent, then it is a definite proposition. If the PN has connotations associated with it (titles especially) then D-Q is the tag attached.

I THINK Hartley believes the "I" in the above quote is me. But he is wrong. The only words that I added to Al's appendix are those that are italicized and in brackets. Al compiled the list and added the paragraphs that follow. In my second edition there will be an expanded discussion that will illustrate the importance of the context in classifying such nouns, though I have already illustrated this in my Chapter 7.

Although it is true that I associated the "I" with Stafford, it hardly exonerates him of the grievous error his appendix fosters and to which he agrees. In addition it should be apparent how erroneous it is to attempt a classification of nouns based on "context." Until Stafford returns to the lexeme alone in classifying nouns as either mass or count, his enterprise will continue to be riddled with subjectivity and imprecision.

Near the end of his article Hartley says, "In other words, the clear semantic of the mass or plural count noun, is meant to disambiguate the semantics of the singular count noun to which it is related in the discourse. We believe the best example of this occurs in John 1:1 with John 1:14. Therefore we add, tentatively, a final argument for the purely qualitative aspect to the PN in the phrase KAI THEOS HN O LOGOS. Thus, Jesus is God in every sense that the Father is."

How the use of a count noun in 1:1c and a mass noun in 1:14 supports his view of a purely qualitative classification for the count noun in 1:1c is not stated, but assumed. Of course, when Hartley says that "Jesus is God in every sense that the Father is" he imports a post-biblical understanding for the term THEOS into the NT text, along with the distinctions between "person" and "being" that are essential to his view, but not articulated in Scripture. Indeed, as we have discussed many times, what the Bible does say and how it uses the terms "person" and "being" are in direct contradiction to trinitarianism.

There are several objectionable statements here in Stafford's reply. Let me highlight a few. First he claims that linking the mass noun SARX and the semantic nuance connected with it to John 1:1c in confirming the Q semantic nuance of the singular count noun THEOS is not stated but assumed. There are several stated reasons why the noun in John 1:1c is to be understood as purely qualitative. The first is the statistical study in John of singular count nouns. It is simply the most probable semantic domain to be attached. The second is its discourse connection to John 1:14. The structure of these passages are deliberately construed so as to be connected. This is spelled out in the article.

To put a lexically qualitative noun (mass) in the Colwell construction is an odd phenomenon to begin with especially when considering that there would be no difference in meaning in 1:14 if the PN were to be placed on the post-copulative side of the sentence. One is lead, due to its invariable semantic nuance, to question its precopulative placement. The chiasm of subjects and the Colwell construction connects it directly to John 1:1. Therefore, since the mass noun is put within a construction for reasons of making a connection to John 1:1c, and since in John a precopulative anarthrous singular count noun is predominately Q anyway, it seems reasonable to conclude that this discourse feature is an added element in confirming that semantic nuance designed to disambiguate the meaning even further in case one has not grasped it till now. Thus the passage is marked by an identical formula forming a semantic inclusion. Now these elements were all mentioned in the article, thus it is quite disingenuous to state that the view is not stated but assumed. There are other instances in John's gospel where this type of phenomenon occurs and that is also mentioned in the article. Thus the "Word was God" and the "Word became flesh" offer identical semantic nuances to the PN affirming the dual nature of Jesus. He is God in every sense the Father is, and he is human in every sense we are-minus sin of course. If anything the latter idea marks a heightening rather than a lessening of the meaning associated with the PN.

The second issue relates to importing a post-biblical theology into the text. It is clear that confronting the evidence as I have laid it out, one would be led inevitably to concur that at the very least I am following where the data leads me if not also with the soundness of my conclusions. I am quite convinced, on the other hand, that an awful lot of hurdles and ignoring of evidence added to a heap of flawed methodology and subjectivity reeking with post-biblical Arian presuppositions are the only elements that would lead one to reject these conclusions and follow Stafford's course. Furthermore, it is patently clear who is operating from and appealing to a post-biblical theology. As for me, I came to the conclusion that "Jesus is God in every sense as the Father is" because of the grammatical study not because of a theological ax.

Hartley also fails to recognize that while SARX is, lexically speaking, a mass noun, it is a semantic signal for a count noun, namely, a human being! A lot of what Hartley says and the distinctions he makes relates to his failure to appreciate the need to carefully consider the context of the words under consideration. Again, we will present an extended discussion of this point in my second edition and further reveal the shortcomings of Hartley's nonsensical rejection of the context.

We have already addressed this issue above. But consider the translation to which Stafford would have if his idea is followed through: "The Word became a flesh." If we use the semantic equivalent to flesh the sentence should read, "The word became human" not "a human." Although the deduction from the proposition is admissible it is not what the proposition states and is not to be read back into the proposition itself as both pointing to and entailing its semantic "signal" which can only be described as some type of illegitimate totality transfer. Furthermore, John's way of indicating that a person is a man or a human is to use the noun ANTHROPOS not SARX (1:6). Thus Stafford's "semantic signaling" is a dubious process to say the least. The only way to conclude that Jesus became a human is to logically infer that from the proposition "The Word became human." And to do that is to admit of the semantic Q-d that I have argued for and to which Stafford denies.

But what does Stafford imply by admitting that SARX is a mass noun? Is he acquiescing to the semantic nuance of mass nouns as Q-d? How does he arrive at the idea that Jesus became a human without assuming from the original proposition the semantic nuance of pure quality?

To my comments on determining mass/count on lexis rather than context Stafford replies:

Hartley has no legitimate basis upon which to make such a statement. But, again, the fact that he cannot see through the lexical tagging of SARX in John 1:14 as a mass noun, to its semantic signaling of a count noun, shows that his statistically-driven study leaves much to be desired.

The legitimate basis is clearly laid out in the article and the thesis. His appeal to lexical tagging and semantic signaling seems to me an evasive maneuver to avoid the obvious. Furthermore, even granting these factors does not warrant an illegitimate totality transfer into the PN. As I have illustrated earlier, this leads to some silly ideas.

I would like Hartley to explain where in the above list we find an example of a qualitative noun that does not at the same time involve membership in a class. Again, I am not, nor have I ever said that such is not possible, but I want Hartley to at least try and make a case for his claim, even though he has badly misunderstood what I have said on this issue.

Stafford's question is a bit ambiguous. The issue concerns at what point in the process is a class conceived as well as the logical procedure leading up to this. This in turn is entirely contingent upon the type of noun under discussion. There is not a question of whether qualitative nouns (Q-d or Q) could or eventually conjure up a class, but at what point and what kind of class is implied. If mass nouns eventually conjure up a class, as Stafford himself insists, why wouldn't singular count nouns mimicking the semantic nuance of the mass noun eventually conjure up a class? If a class is eventually conjured up does this somehow demand an indefinite nuance to the PN? The answer is No.

If Stafford can see "a man" from a mass noun in John 1:14 through lexical tagging and semantic signaling, and infers from this that the noun is I-Q, I almost shudder to see what type of creature will emerge within a discussion on singular count nouns. The approach to singular count nouns presupposes that one understands, first of all, the semantic nuance of the mass noun. It is no wonder that Stafford has trouble with singular count nouns after denying the possibility of Q without I. Q means qualities not necessarily class. Count nouns that directly represent class are plural (slaves, men, disciples, etc.). Now one can infer from qualities a class or from class qualities, but it is a leap to reason that a qualitative noun refers to a class and the subject to which it modifies is a member of that class and therefore the PN is an indefinite noun. If the subject is a member of the class to which the PN depicts the qualities of, then the PN is not indefinite but rather the subject. It is as silly as inferring from the sentence with a plural PN, "Boys and girls are slaves" to "Boys are a slaves" or "Boys are a slave" simply because "slaves" represents the class to which boys and girls belong.

The issue with singular count nouns is not that a category cannot be found, but whether it should be sought and whether the inferences should be subsequently loaded into the term. In some instances a category can be inferred as the above discussion clearly indicates. But it is inferred simply because the PN referred to has the characteristics of the category to which the subject belongs. In other instances the qualities themselves are monadic, applying to one being only and no class of beings are to be inferred per se. With the sentence "John is human" it is perfectly right to infer that there are other humans. But even with other members we do not infer a lesser or greater degree inhumanness with John or those of whose class he belongs to. He might be a different human being, but he is not a lesser human being. Incidentally, we are never told by an authoritative source that there is only 1 human being. But we are told there is only one true God. And if the Word is God, then he cannot be identical in Godness unless he is the same God. Are there other Gods of the same characteristics as God? Linguistically, this is the only other conclusion to John 1:1c. Not that Jesus is a god, but that Jesus is God. The implications of Colwell's original thesis would make this statement convertible and end up with Modalism. At least he does not equivocate and thus depreciate the term itself. The purely qualitative sense would maintain the distinction between the Father and the Word but unite them in Godness. Thus Jesus is not a god any more than the Father is a god. They are both God in personal distinction from each other-what I have called a co-hyponymic relationship to THEOS of a contiguitous nature.

In John 1:1 to indicate "The Word is God" in the sense the study points to is not to infer that the Word is a god but rather the Word retains the qualities or characteristics of God that make God God. The Word is not distinguished from the being of God in 1:1a as with the person of the Father who is God. As indicated earlier, Stafford admits that it is the Father to whom TON THEON refers to in John 1:1a. It is to the personal distinction, therefore, that PROS points to not the essence or being of God the Father. Nothing warrants an ontological distinction but an Arian horizon dictating to the text what it cannot say. Furthermore, to insist that the Word exhibits less than the characteristics implied in the use of THEOS is to make an unwarranted equivocation. That idea assumes that no personal distinction is possible between members of the Godhead unless it also includes an ontological disjunction-thus some absolute solitary unity is maintained with God along with the notion that 1 person = 1 being-a fallacy alluded to earlier. If a class is proposed where THEOS is that class to which the Word and Father belong, then it consists not of beings but persons-thus the translation "God" (Q) is to be preferred over "a God" (I-Q). This purely qualitative nuance is perfectly applicable and linguistically in keeping with the nature of PNs used in John's gospel.

Stafford quotes me. Of course, he does admit: "The problem with these statistics is when exegetically significant passages are determined from them. For example, John 1:1 uses EIMI with a singular count noun. Using the above statistics alone would mean the text would support the Jehovah's Witnesses and their interpretation of that passage."

Hartley then concludes: "The citation from my article is a good and typical example of Stafford's misuse of the research of others and misquotation for purposes hardly commensurate with a pursuit of truth. The out of context quote is demonstrated by the nature of the very next sentence in the article, which he conveniently fails to call any reader's attention to. It reads as follows. . ."

Once again Stafford fails to quote it. For anyone who reads the article and his handling of this citation, it will be patently clear that Stafford deliberately seeks to misstate others to his own advantage. Again, here are the next few sentences:

"However, below we demonstrate a contextually closer concentric circle to John 1:1 that is more determinative in it's interpretation than this statistical phenomenon regarding the entire NT. Therefore, it is wise to reserve a semantic judgment until the book from which the verse arises has been statistically tallied. So although it is true that the predominant semantic for a singular count noun minus all definitizing factors in a pre-copulative anarthrous PN construct with EIMI is statistically higher for the I-Q category, this is not the entire case for each book or author of the NT."

But Stafford omits this for reasons of deliberate misconstrual of the evidence.

Again, Hartley fails to appreciate a rather obvious point, namely, I am merely making reference to his article and conveying points, in passing, to an "Observer," relating to things I would be considering in my reply, and which he should also consider. Hartley seizes upon this in order to make some point, I guess, but it only serves to underscore his desperation.

This response for his irresponsible citation is itself irresponsible. I suppose the "Observer" indicated in his response are those who have not read the article and are left to depend on his misrepresentation of my statements to find out what I mean. Had these observers simply read the abused section it would be quite apparent how disingenuous Stafford is on this point. But he regards this as something I should consider. What does he mean by this? Is it the practice of misstating and caricature that I am to consider? Is it his ability to totally ignore the next sentence that contradicts the meaning he wishes to convey that I should consider? And how should I consider it? It is Stafford who attempts to illegitimately seize upon something in a desperate attempt to turn my study into a self-refutation. I guess the "obvious point" he wished to convey is that it is OK to turn clear passages intent on saying one thing into another for his own ends. This is a proven tactic of Stafford. He does it to Harner and others, it should be to no surprise that he is at it again. But it is a tactic others should be warned not to emulate.

Hartley should stop taking me out of context and claiming that I am somehow "using" his research inappropriately. I assume he knew that I was not going to quote his entire article, or even any qualifying paragraphs, in my passing remarks, since they were merely intended to highlight points that I believe he ultimately fails to properly appreciate. Hartley, feel free to assume that I do not believe YOUR qualifying statements necessarily make the point you want them to.

It is one thing to demand someone quote a whole article and quite another to fail to issue the very next sentence that militates against the very meaning one wishes to propagate to "Others" that violate that original intent. Now how is it that I fail to appreciate the very point I myself made? It is one thing for Stafford to disagree with the point being made in the following sentence but to misrepresent it as he did is irresponsible. The next sentences in the article, and the point to which I presume he thinks does not make the point to which he agrees with, concerns the methodology of determining the semantic nuance of the singular count noun THEOS in John 1:1c. I simply noted that the generic whole (NT) cannot determine the parts (GJohn). For that matter, the parts cannot determine the whole! This latter problem is fostered by studies of Dixon and Harner. Not that they did this, but their studies on John or Mark cannot legitimately be transferred to 1 Timothy or any other NT book. This is an axiom in any grammatical study. One author uses constructions differently than other writers or with slight semantic modifications. Thus determinations of disputed texts must be made from the authors own usage as close to the text as possible. One would think that Stafford's insistence on "context" would presuppose he knows this. Yet this is the point of which Stafford apparently disagrees! It is irrelevant if Stafford does not "believe [my] qualifying statements necessarily make the point [I] want them to." They certainly do not make the point he infers they do. He is free to disagree with this axiomatic hermeneutical procedure, but not to pretend that I do.

I make comments about his use of the indefinite sense to THEOS in John 1:1c in my first response to Stafford.

If you are looking for a meaningless reply, look no further than the above. Listen to what he is saying! The fact that the Word is THEOS and distinct from hO THEOS "isn't grammatically determined, but it is rather a theologically motivated construal of 'context'"? Actually, I state the grammatical reasons for my view quite clearly, as they relate the clear distinction made in the text through the use of the article and the preposition PROS. Hartley has absolutely no basis for his view, which is unabashedly read back into the text even though it contradicts it.

Again Stafford is off reading his own meanings into my comments. I made mention that John 1:1c did not demand the indefinite sense to which Stafford insists. I asked, "What demands it?" My answer to my own question was that the translation "a god" was not made on grammatical grounds but rather from his Arian horizon that demanded this sense. The distinction between the Word and the Father (referred to as TON THEON-a point to which Stafford admits) is not what is denied on my part. What is denied is that Stafford assumes this is an ontological distinction rather than a personal one. It is his Arian theology that determines this not grammar. Furthermore, to say that the Word is distinct from the Father (TON THEON) is not the same as saying that the Father (TON THEON) is distinct from THEOS-another assumption Stafford unwittingly makes The very fact that THEOS is in the Colwell construction is not to make a personal distinction between the Word and the Father. It is to emphasize the quality of the LOGOS who is personally distinct from the Father who exhibits the same qualities embodied in THEOS (thus Q not I-Q). Both have the characteristics of THEOS because both are THEOS. THEOS is not distinct from the Father, but incorporates both the Father and the Word. Each is not part THEOS but each are THEOS. Stafford proposes an indefinite sense then based on this presumption proceeds to equivocate on the very word THEOS in flat contradiction to its previous usage. The meaningless reply, therefore, is confined to his demand that THEOS is distinct from the Father, defined differently than its previous reference and demands an indefinite sense based on grammatical reasons. All of these reasons are bogus.

"God" is not a category, but a person, the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6) There is absolutely no justification for Hartley's view, and his attempt to redefine the term "God" so that "at least two hyponyms simultaneously occupy it (Father and Word)" is merely the result of his circular reasoning and a priori assumptions about the Father and the Word. He manipulates the term "God" so that the two may "simultaneously occupy it," though he seems confused about the fact that John does not say the Word was with "God the Father," but with "God."

Stafford is patently dishonest here. Even he admits that the TON THEON in John 1:1a refers to the Father (JWD, 220and the Father is a person, a fact he also admits. But here he pretends to forget what he admits in his desire to make God the Father (TON THEON) separate from His own nature (THEOS) which is simultaneously applied to the Word. It is he who manipulates the term THEOS to be other than God. He must assume personal distinction warrants ontological an Arian axiom to be sure. Personal distinction simply demands plurality of persons within THEOS. The purely qualitative sense to THEOS incorporates both the Father and the Word. But his own translation must assume several dubious stages of morphing the text unwarranted by normal hermeneutical measures. The fact that THEOS is used in a qualitative fashion and thus meant to encompass its hyponyms (Father and Word) no more makes God a category than applying human as a category of people warrants the accusation of turning people into categories. Words are symbols used to refer to Stafford hopelessly confuses the two. Even the word "God" is a symbol, not God Himself. It can be used to refer to God in a direct personal way or used to depict God's characteristics much like the Greek noun ANTHROPOS can be used to refer to a person or human attributes and Spirit can be used to refer to attributes of God alone. It is not an either-or here but a both-and. Stafford, however, appears to be a prisoner of his own self-made disjunctions.

So, at most, even if we allowed Hartley to read later theology into the text, he would have to say that the God with whom Jesus existed is 'simultaneously occupied' by the Father and the Holy Spirit, but not the Word, since, according to them, there is only one God in a positive sense, and Jesus is 'with' that God. Instead they pull a fast one and substitute the 'personal' term 'Father' for hO THEOS and proceed to interpret the text according to post-biblical distinctions. It is evident that Hartley will say whatever he has to in an attempt to fit the square block into the round hole. Again, trinitarians are forced to create distinctions and definitions that are foreign to Scripture in order to support their preferred theology.

How could God be occupied with the Father and Jesus but not the Word? Stafford appears prone to strawman my position to make his setting it aflame burn brighter. Let me state it clearly. God the Son was eternally with God the Father and God the Spirit. These existed eternally in personal distinction as the one God. Each can be called God without impugning on the unity of the Godhead or demanding that there are three gods or one God and lesser gods. As for his comment that my view states that God is "simultaneously occupied" by the Father and the Holy Spirit he again misrepresents my view. I am speaking linguistically in relation to hyponyms and superordinates. He jumps over these linguistic categories and assumes a direct correspondence between language and reality. I am simply noting what the linguistic data states in linguistic terminology. To say that God is occupied with individuals is simply a straw man. God consists of three divine Persons who! ! are the one God.

It is question-begging on Stafford's part to insist I am reading later theology into the text. I am simply reading the text as it is presented to me guided by the grammatical facts derived from John himself. Historically it is Arianism that came later and this is the theology that is forced into the text at every turn by Stafford.

Finally, let me give an example that might prove illuminating to the preceding discussion. We have noted that SARX is a mass noun. In Ephesians 5:31 it states concerning marriage "And the two will become one flesh" (SARX). Now the question is, How would lexical tagging and semantic signaling read this text? Are the two human beings in marriage to become one human being? Or become a human being? Or a man? Is the fact that they are "one" in any way diminish the existence of their separate personalities? Or demand that they cannot be one flesh? Or must we assume they are strictly one in every sense? Or could one get away with equivocating "flesh" to denote different meanings to each individual?

All of these propositions are preposterous. Here we have two individuals that are united as one in a sense other than persons while maintaining this distinction. These two persons will be one flesh. It certainly doesn't mean they are one being, but the point is they are united here in a sense defined by the PN (SARX). They are not two fleshes but one flesh. Semantically they occupy as co-hyponyms in contiguitous relationship to the superordinate SARX. Now if this can be said about two persons in marriage without demanding equivocation, two fleshes, some indefinite sense, or some tertium quid, why cannot Stafford understand this type of relationship to the Father and Word as demonstrated by the grammar of John 1:1 without engaging in dubious tactics of argumentation?


1.  "Revisiting the Colwell Construction in Light of Mass/Count Nouns" by Donald E. Hartley Th.M, Ph.D (student), Dallas Theological Seminary.
2.  Don Hartley's Misunderstanding of My View of Qualitative Nouns and P. B. Harners JBL Article By Greg Stafford
3.  Hartley responds with "Hartley's Second Response To Stafford" on May 25, 1999.
4.  Partial Response to Hartley, By Stafford: 5/25/99
5.  Another Response to Stafford - 5/25/99 (third)
6.  Greg Stafford on 5/26/99 says: "Hartley's theory, regardless of what he tells you, is hopelessly without substantiation, as I will explain shortly."
7.  Greg Stafford to Hartley on 5/26/99: "Please cite an example of a singular count noun in the precopulative position, that CANNOT be indefinitized." in Clarity, Please...
8.  Specifically...I would like Hartley to list the 19 Q-class nouns to which he refers on page 65 of his thesis (par. 2, line 5), for our consideration.
9.  Greg Stafford on 6/3/99: Surrejoinder to Don Hartley: Q-Class Count Nouns , John 1:1c, and Other Related Matters

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