and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
This is the first verse from the gospel of John. An opening of a famous hymn to the divine Word. Some think it was originally a gnostic poem. Some others consider it to be a beautiful philosophical poem. It is also a beautiful creation story, New Testament creation story.
What is translated in our bibles as "the Word" was in the original Greek text ὁ λόγος. Proper translation is "the word". But I believe that in this case it should be just transliterated as LOGOS. Why should it be transliterated and not translated? Because Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ was such a potent term in the Greek and Hellenistic mythology and philosophy that any translation would not do it justice. It should become a loanword.
Think about other loanwords, all of them can be properly translated but there is much to be desired! TATTOO can be translated from Polynesian languages as “poked skin”. GEISHA is literally “an art person” in Japanese. UKULELE is “a jumping flea (instrument)” in Hawaiian language (because fingers pluck strings so quickly). CURRY is just a regular name for “a sauce” in Dravidian Tamil and ZEITGEIST translates from German rather spookily as “time ghost”
If we want to understand more fully this beautiful biblical poem from the beginning of the gospel of John, LOGOS cannot equal THE WORD no matter how much we embellish it and load it with meaning. Just like curry is not another sauce and when I play the ukulele I do not play a jumping flea.
Join us this Sunday when we listen and discern the ancient enigma word play:
In the beginning was LOGOS,
and LOGOS was with God,
and LOGOS was God.
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