Sunday, 31 January 2016


Debate continues regarding the Wheaton College now-suspension of professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins and her comment about Muslims and Christians worshipping the same God. Various points of view have been put forward, ranging from "yes, you can say that" to "no you absolutely cannot say that", through "it really depends what you mean by worship" and still further twists in the debate. One point that has come up is the question of reference. If for a moment you could suspend the issue of what worship means, and substitute it for "refer to", then the "yes-you-can-say-that" party basically do gain ground. These referentials really get my head spinning... But what about fruit?

"Remember the fruit we ate yesterday, I just loved those apples, didn't you?"
"No! They weren't apples! They were pears!"

Same fruit?

Dale Tuggy (I think): Yes, they are the same fruit, but with serious differences in properties. One or both of these recollections has to be incorrect concerning the properties of this fruit.

If that analogy is applicable, then we assume that referring to God is a bit like referring to a category of item. But look what pops out the other end of the logic machine: The apple IS the pear! OK, no-one is saying that AN apple is A pear, for their properties verifiably and consistently differ. So the "apple" of person A is the "pear" of person B - this does indeed appear less ludicrous than initially appeared.

The case seems more obvious, until you look closer at the word WORSHIP. If this is understood as simply a mechanistic event, like singing, praying or bowing, then I think it can indeed be equated with the past event of eating the fruit. However, Dr Hawkins' statement is more in line with a more dynamic and experiential reality, which we could perhaps parallel in the fruit example with the word "savour". This then marks a point of departure from the static comparison, for the person savouring the pear and the person savouring the apple, regardless of the initial reality, are now indeed savouring different fruit, and not the same fruit.

See also:

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Throwing Thomas some trinitarian credit... [updated]

Today I am providing the next part of my new sub-chapter into explicit references of Jesus being called "God".

John 20:28 – My Lord and my God!

John 20:28 brings us to what is probably the most explicit attribution to Jesus of the title “God” in the whole New Testament. Furthermore, and unlike in John 1:1, the definite article preceding "God" is also significantly present (ho Theos). The context of this famous declaration is that Jesus has now been raised and most of his disciples had seen him and been “breathed on” by him – but not Thomas. Like some other disciples, Thomas has doubts. Jesus subsequently confronts him and commands him to stop doubting and believe. Thomas’ response is “My Lord and my God” (and to worship – it is not clear if he actually takes up Jesus on his invitation to touch his wounds, but presumably not according to this account).

In this immediate context of doubt about God’s resurrection of Jesus and the disciples’ own empowerment through Jesus’ breathing in v22-23, why might Thomas say “My Lord and my God” to Jesus? Of course it is possible that despite the multiple distinctions within John’s gospel between Jesus and his Father God, that Thomas supernaturally glimpsed something of a totally different level to John, which concerned Jesus’ very nature (or natures). Maybe – because of the explicit wording we have to be open to it, or it might also be argued to work nicely in tandem with the prologue (the God-Word became flesh). However, since good Trinitarian theology is about big-picture reality of the life of God, there are some other contextual considerations that should be integrated into the exegetical analysis before developing theology from such a rare and apparently explicit statement.

The first consideration is to properly account for the author’s perspective. Although Thomas is “speaking” here, John is also speaking throughout. It is not likely therefore that Thomas will have a different insight to Jesus’ identity to that which John now holds 60 years later around A.D. 90. Within this very same chapter, Thomas’ statement is framed by two significant facts. Firstly, when the raised Jesus addresses Mary Magdalene, he freely and inclusively talks to her of his (and your) Father being his (and your) God (20:17) – so here John has another explicit and quite different statement about Jesus, that he and Mary share the same Father and God (see 7.3 God is the God of Jesus/Jesus has a God/Jesus is the servant of God). Secondly, the purpose of the book itself is plainly stated (20:31) so that, concerning Jesus’ identity, John earnestly wants to convince his readers of Jesus’ identity claim. This claim, which is demonstrably not in Cappadocian terms, states simply: the Messiah and the Son of God. For John, the Father is always in view and never confused with the Son. So why on earth might both “Lord” and “God” seemingly be attributed to the one Jesus here in John 20:28?

A minor second consideration is a hidden distinction in the Greek, which emphasises the third point I will develop below. It would have been possible for Thomas to simply state: “the Lord and God of me!” Yet, he does not do that. What he actually says in the Greek is: “the Lord of me and the God of me!”

With this in mind, let us move on to the final and most important consideration of John’s purpose here: spurring disciples to know God the Father in Christ. When we zoom in on just this passage for doctrinal purposes, Thomas’ character (and belief) development within John’s gospel are often sadly lost. For in addition to the primary goal of revealing Jesus’ identity as God’s Messiah and Son, John is also desperate for people to respond to the revelation he is chronicling, and truly believe this dual (and to a less emphasised extent, triple) reality. It seems impossible that this dual reality could be an incredible revelation of Christ’s two natures! The dual reality is seeing both Christ and God-the-Father-in-Christ. Believing (and its antithesis, doubting) are key themes for him, so in encouraging late first century disciples in their belief, tracking Thomas’ spiritual journey would have made a lot of sense. Just look at how Jesus immediately responds to Thomas in the following verse: “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. So to understand Thomas’ “belief development”, we need to go back six chapters to chapter 14, where both Thomas and Philip question Jesus about belief. Belief is to be in God and in his Son (14:1), you cannot short-circuit Jesus to the Father (14:6), and the Father is present in the Son. If you see the Son then your desire to see the Father is satisfied, not because the Father is the Son, but because the Father is in the Son. You cannot have one without the other. This is the journey that John is so keen to show his disciples and readers later on. Zoom forward three chapters to John 17:3, and Jesus prays this: Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Jesus and the Father are to be known, both of them. For Thomas as-yet without the Holy Spirit, that means knowing (and believing in) the still-present Jesus and, through that Jesus, knowing their common Father.

In light of these three considerations, it therefore seems quite possible to me that in 20:28, Thomas finally understands that the Father, who in first century parlance is the one who is properly called “God” in the genitive sense, that this Father is indeed in the Son (John 14:10). Thomas might well then state “the Lord of me (a title in the possessive form that is never attributed to God in the Bible but always to human authorities[6]) and the God of me” (specifically stating belief of the Father’s presence, truly and astoundingly in Jesus).

It is somewhat ironical that the traditional interpretations, which have pushed for simple divinity interpretations, have frequently failed to identify and develop the deeper trinitarian and Johannine themes here of the Father in the Son. 18th century commentaries such as Matthew Henry (We must believe his deity—that he is God; not a man made God, but God made man, as this evangelist had laid down his thesis at first, ch. 1:1[7]) have provided a normative precedent away from vertical contextualisation in this case. Much later that century, British bishop Brooke F. Westcott, unsurprisingly[8], was more careful with the text, despite his failure to specifically join the dots to the Father’s indwelling presence through his Holy Spirit (my emphasis):

The discipline of self-questioning, followed by the revelation of tender compassion and divine knowledge, enabled St. Thomas to rise to the loftiest view of the Lord given in the Gospels ….

The record of this confession therefore forms the appropriate close to his narrative; and the words which follow show that the Lord accepted the declaration of His divinity as the true expression of faith. He never speaks of Himself directly as God (comp. v. 18), but the aim of His revelation was to lead men to see God in him.[9]

Perhaps Westcott was inspired by Augustine who also is close but strangely un-trinitarian here:
[Thomas] saw and touched the man, and [then] acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched.[10]

Adolf Schlatter, however, was able to make a full connection (my emphasis):
“The Word is God,” 1:1. The knowing of Jesus is then attained when it is seen that “he is in the Father and the Father is in him,” 14:10. Through his single word “my” [Thomas’s] knowledge remains not just knowledge but becomes faith.[11]

In final conclusion on Thomas, while it must obviously be concluded that he does address Jesus as “God”, it is frankly disappointingly and decidedly untrinitarian to isolate this passage from its overarching witness of the Father in his Son, the Christ. Jesus himself states emphatically throughout this same gospel:

But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”
Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”
“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” [12]
“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone”.[13]

And finally, when Philip and Thomas ply Jesus with questions on precisely this topic:
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.[14]

[1] For now I can say this: despite general historical shifts in understanding what is going on with “Word” (logos), “God” (ho theos and theos) and “Become” (egeneto), that Christians having access to this passage or its precursor, have always believed that God’s eternal divine word was incarnated in (or into) Jesus (as a Christian I also have made the choice to believe that). This leaves incarnation Christology still very open as my chapter above on the church fathers demonstrates. It is precisely the interpretative options that I must still articulate and align with John’s overarching themes and goals.
[2] You will recall that there is a penalty system in place for texts where the strength of their suggestiveness or dissuasiveness is weakened according to a number of defined causes (see p. 51). This category is concerned more than any other by the penalty system as we shall now briefly see before we zoom into two of the most crucial of all blue texts in the entire New Testament canon, and which are certainly not to be penalised: John 20:28 and Hebrews 1:8-9.
[3] Of course, we are assuredly not positing a traditional evangelical view of first century Jewish monotheism that excludes other real gods within Yahweh’s divine council (please refer to the Monotheism entry in chapter 2 if needed; also see ).
[4] Titus is harder for me to assume this because I cannot apply the same criterion of consistency to a book that might be the only text we have by its author. If that were true and it were written in a later and more christologically developed situation, then the assumption of distinction is a considerably weaker option. Earliest manuscript is Papyrus 32, dated late 2nd century.
[5] Fortunately, this variation is footnoted by the NIV, which alerts readers to the shakiness of this evidence
[6] James 3:9 does not really present an exception to the rule given its textual variations, which are not always footnoted in modern translations. Given the biblical evidence, the variant “our God and Father” should be preferred.
[7] M. Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Vol. 3,  p. 707, London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1708.
[8] Unsurprising given his biblical and ground-breaking credentials in New Testament textual criticism.
[9] B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John, p. 297, London: John Murray, 1894.
[10] Augustine, John, 121:5, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 1 7:438, Philip Schaff, T. & T. Clark, 1896-1900. One could legitimately pose the question of compatibility between Augustine’s statement here and the ecumenical and unshakable doctrinal stance of both Catholic and Orthodox theology, that Mary is the Mother of God (431 Council of Ephesus): if Jesus could only be touched and seen according to his human nature, which is presumably true, then how could Mary be considered to have mothered him according to his divine nature? A staunch defender of Augustinian theology might posit that Augustine was simply stating that Thomas had not previously “seen” the Father in Jesus until this revelatory moment, but then why this tense and not “whom he had neither seen nor touched”? Of course the issue of physical contact with the risen Lord is not entirely resolved, with some early ambiguity around the physical contact may have been heightened through a tradition expressed by Ignatius in the early 2nd century which does categorically affirm this although the source of that tradition is now lost to us. See R. Brown, The Virginal Conception & Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, p. 88 fn.150, Paulist Press, 1973. Brown does not, however, indicate why Matthew 28:9 was not relevant to him.
[11] Adolf Schlatter, Johannes, p. 362, Evangel. Verlag-Anst., 1954, cited by Frederick D. Bruner The Gospel of John: A Commentary, p. 1183, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2012 (Bruner cites page 362, which appears to be from a translation, not the original).
[12] John 8:16-19
[13] John 8:29
[14] John 14:9-10, obviously my own emphasis.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

New subchapter: "explicit" statements of Jesus' divinity

Actually, I don't care too much for the word "divinity" because of its ambiguity, but I thought it would be more likely to tempt you to read this addition to my paper Trinitarian Interpretations than the true sub-chapter title, which reads: 6.4 Jesus is called “God” directly or possibly referred to as such indirectly. (The chapter title reads:  6. Four Types of “Blue” Suggestive New Testament Writing Traditions)

Before I provide you the draft section, perhaps a couple of words for those who have not already seen the paper for context. In the summer of 2015 I wrote a paper that suggested that forced endorsement of a full Trinitarian creed (such as the Niceno-Constantinoplitan Creed) should not be mandatory for followers of Christ who hold to the Bible as superior, more inspired and of greater normative value to all prior and subsequent theological ideas. My three main arguments against this necessity are not equally weighted or explored, but basically:
1. The terminology is so hotly contested and variously interpreted today that it is somewhat meaningless or superficial to require "allegiance" to the words if the words are not understood the same way or even a close way.
2. In the three hundred years separating the first church and the great ecumenical council period, mainstream Christian theology did not especially hold to Divine Essence/Substance theories or One God in Three Persons ideas, and even later had to U-turn on some early "anathemas".
3. The New Testament itself leaves justifiable doubt as to the necessity of stating trinitarianism in any of these ways.

So while I consider all three of these arguments quite compelling (the power of 3 in 1!), the third argument is the one to which most people can relate to, albeit through diverse contemporary lenses. As I re-read through the New Testament myself and also read what various theologians have argued over the centuries, I attempted to categorise all Christological passages into several dozen "suggestive" or "dissuasive" sub-categories. After describing the results in chapter 5, I offer a few sub-chapters on each side of the "suggestive/dissuasive" fence in chapter 6, each one looking at a different sub-category. In the original paper, on the suggestive side, I looked at:

  • 6.1 Triadic formulae
  • 6.2 Jesus and the Father are "one"
  • 6.3 Jesus inciting outrage for blasphemous association with God: the power of rhetoric
Here then, split over three posts, is a draft of:
  • 6.4 Jesus is called “God” directly or possibly referred to as such indirectly

References:                       Mark 10:18          Luke 18:19           John 1:18             John 20:28           Romans 9:5         Titus 2:10&13       Hebrews 1:8-9      2 Peter 1:1         

Finally – now he has to admit it, the Bible says that Jesus is “God” and that therefore the Trinity (or one of the definitions of the Trinity) has to be correct! I really wish it were that simple. Before we zoom in on this blue category, I should mention why John 1:1 is not listed here (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was fully God, NET). According to the categorisation system I have applied, this belongs to a different set of suggestive New Testament texts: “Jesus seems eternal, or seems to have existed prior to incarnation”. I hope to discuss this category and its associated texts in a future edition[1].

So let us jump straight in with these texts that seem to call Jesus, “God”[2].

As far as I can tell, the only clear texts potentially suggestive within the synoptic gospels of a Trinitarian position regarding Jesus (possibly) being called “God” Himself, are Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19. In the previous sub-chapter I developed how rhetoric functions and was utilised by Jesus as attested by all four gospel writers. So it is difficult to build too much on these verses if it requires the rhetoric to work in a diametrically opposed way to how Jesus generally applied rhetoric.

Romans 9:5, Titus 2:10 & 13 and 2 Peter 1:1 are all Greek constructions that could work either way – either they do state that Jesus is God, or there is an implied distinction there between Christ and God, thus restoring the Father back into the picture. Scholars have of course debated these passages at great length, and these debates are often reflected in the footnotes of the better modern bible translations. I am relatively convinced of unfair bias toward the theos title attribution to Jesus in at least the Romans and 2 Peter examples based on assumptions of author consistency and the ambiguity of the Greek. I remain less sure of Titus [3].

John 1:18 is an example of what textual scholars sometimes call “conflations”. What happened in the scribal transmissions over this verse is difficult to fully explain, as this example has already highlighted earlier (I used this verse to illustrate the relevance and importance of textual criticism in the second chapter). Some of the scribal changes in this verse concern inclusion or removal of definite articles, others either changed huios (son) to theos (God) or the other way around, while others removed both (to leave simply “the only begotten”). When scribes of antiquity were aware of more than one version of the text they were copying, they would on occasion conflate their sources – that is to say, out of reverence and a desire to ensure that the original text not be lost, they attempted to remove that risk by combining variants. So instead of choosing variant A, B OR C, the scribe wrote A and B and C (or some such combination). Since this also then forms an ancient manuscript and manuscript tradition upon which modern translations can lean, and since modern translation committees also share the goal of the ancient conflating scribe, the conflated text is the manuscript of choice for NIV and others, resulting in: “who is himself God”[4]. The textual uncertainty of the original wording – which in my view probably read “only begotten son” as everywhere else in John’s gospel – means that Trinitarians should not (and tend to not) devote too much time to this verse in developing their more weighty evidence for suggestiveness of Trinitarian doctrines.

[1] For now I can say this: despite general historical shifts in understanding what is going on with “Word” (logos), “God” (ho theos and theos) and “Become” (egeneto), that Christians having access to this passage or its precursor, have always believed that God’s eternal divine word was incarnated in (or into) Jesus (as a Christian I also have made the choice to believe that). This leaves incarnation Christology still very open as my chapter above on the church fathers demonstrates. It is precisely the interpretative options that I must still articulate and align with John’s overarching themes and goals.
[2] You will recall that there is a penalty system in place for texts where the strength of their suggestiveness or dissuasiveness is weakened according to a number of defined causes (see p. 51). This category is concerned more than any other by the penalty system as we shall now briefly see before we zoom into one of the most crucial of all blue texts in the entire New Testament canon which is certainly not penalised: Hebrews 1:8-9
[3] Titus is harder for me to assume this because I cannot apply the same criterion of consistency to a book that might be the only text we have by its author. If that were true and it were written in a later and more christologically developed situation, then the assumption of distinction is a considerably weaker option. Earliest manuscript is Papyrus 32, dated late 2nd century.
[4] Fortunately, this variation is footnoted by the NIV, which alerts readers to the shakiness of this evidence

In the next two posts we will zoom in on John 20:28 and Hebrews 1:8 respectively.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Confronting modalism in contemporary church - terms of engagement

I have interacted with Christian philosopher Dale Tuggy over here regarding a post he made around the Christmas period (scroll down to comments)

Tuggy uses a so-called evangelical prayer as a foundation to a post about the incoherency of such a prayer; but I challenge the foundation of the post. One of my personal shifts over the last few months is a deep desire not to fight mainstream church doctrine, such as the two wills of Christ (which is probably a waste of time), but to focus on something I know that in principle the church should agree on, and this is because I love the Bible, I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as foundational to Christian faith and somehow I want to serve, not just ponder. That "something" is modalism, and as far as I can tell, it is not something that the church views as very problematic. In fact it may not be - a lot of churches do take seriously the distinctions between Father, Son and Spirit and make concerted efforts to maintain those distinctions. Traditional churches are often stronger in that area than more modern ones, especially those that don't place the Word of God at their core. So I confess that I am an "antimodalist". I hate the confusion. I feel saddened and dismay that the entire prayer life of Christ with his Father, its depth, sincerity, profoundness, should be reduced to a mere stage-show. I am perplexed as to how the Father in particular, the one who is most clearly synonymous with G-O-D has slipped out of focus as a person, along with unspeakable pain of sending his son to die, Abraham-style. I am baffled that even learned people I respect can offhand state publicly that "God is a person", when Trinitarian Christian teaching emphasises that there is not one person but three at the heart of Christian faith.

So where is the disagreement between me and Tuggy? Read the comments and you will see, but if we are to seriously confront an issue, re-fabricated prayers won't cut it. He seems to claim that evangelical modalists would understand the Father as dying for them after making sensible initial distinctions about the Father sending his Son. Not only do I think that would feel quite unnatural to an evangelical, even one whose eyes are closed to the distinctions running throughout the New Testament, but from my own experience and also study of modern worship lyrics, it is simply rarely the case to speak of more than one Member of the Trinity, because it does not fit at all well in modalist boxes. So for me, while I see Tuggy's point as of huge importance to the evangelical church, his example was weird and therefore not compelling, so I called him up on it.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Wheaton College dispute, varying perspectives and "corners"

Some of you may be aware that at the moment there is a high-profile theological dispute underway in the States. Even CNN is in on the action here!

The lady involved is a professor of political science. She does not appear to be a Muslim, she is simply was "showing solidarity" toward Muslim women in wearing the headscarf (hijab) and making her now-famous facebook post that includes this: "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God." (see her full post here)

A lot of people thinking about this right now. Lots of helpful attempts to define and illustrate the the problem. Two thoughts dominate my mind.

The first is to simply re-iterate a powerful "parable" provided by Robert Jenson, itself modelled on another (Jenson states) by Ludwig Wittgenstein: Suppose that in a room containing several persons, I ask one of them to go stand in the corner. Whatever that person does, the rest of us will usually be able to decide whether or not he obeyed me. But now, suppose I draw an arc on the floor in the corner and ask the group whether someone who stood inside the arc would obey my request and they all answer yes. Next I draw a slightly larger concentric arc and repeat the question, and so on. At some point the group will begin to disagree about whether someone who stood in the latest arc but outside the one just previous would have obeyed my request. Then we may be tempted to wonder where "the corner" is and to suppose something ambiguous in my original instruction—when in fact there was nothing at all ambiguous about it. The instruction, "Go preach the gospel," can be perfectly clear and may be decided on even if the several instructors give no agreed, uniform definition of what the gospel "is." (Robert Jenson, On the Problem of Scriptural Authority, p240).

The One God is understood differently between the two faiths. But also, although hopefully to lessening degrees, within each faith the understanding is different. Go the full distance and you finally realise that everyone holds their own unique perception of exactly who the One God actually is (or where the "corner" is). If difference of perception could be measured, it would obviously have to be continuous and not discrete data. Any individual attempting to carve out boundaries (see Carl Medearis rather than trace dynamic trajectories will be imposing some form of imperialistic approach by definition.

So to claim that the attributes are different therefore the God is different is nonsense. If you think that God is love and you are a Christian and the Muslim agrees with you, but your abused doubting-but-still Christian friend still believes in the Christian God but is struggling to sense God's love, how does that work out? The content of LOVE is unique to all of us anyway. I really don't think attributes won't cut it.

Since such strongly voiced opinions are voiced with such strength, you might be forgiven as an outsider to think that since God himself appears silent in this debate, that He might be allowing others to appear ridiculous in their appearing to be his mouthpiece. Ultimately the question should be if there is such a God as the One God, who is more in "corner" than another, would he feel identified by those hailing a different corner? Or would he not notice? That was my second point - God's perspective. Of course, it is theoretically possible that assuming the true existence of One True God, that none of the "monotheistic" faiths have really got close to nailing who he is, perhaps through divine intention. Since perfectly "nailing it" is out of the question, I think this argues for grace and flexibility of that God if he accepts any of us, based on other principles than correct identification.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Who wrote Revelation?

The standard response to the question of "Who wrote Revelation?" has been for many centuries (including the 2nd century): John, the apostle, the son of Zebedee. But are we sure of that?

There is a good paper just released on this exact topic written by Hugo Cotro here, in the DavarLogos Spanish theological journal; the article is entitled  Could the Author of Revelation step forward please?

I realised that my research (on this blog, although unfinished) on arche, which has bored most readers of this blog, might actually be of some relevance here, along with a very surprising discovery I made today about John's [otherwise] non-usage of Sophia.

I decided to write to Mr Cotro:

Dear Mr. Cotro.
I hope you don't mind my contacting you following your interesting article on the authorship of Revelation. I enjoyed reading your piece which I found summarised some of the arguments well, encouraging both positions to remain more open than perhaps has been the case. In particular I was impacted by the lack of evidence of an early Johannine circle. 
I wanted to submit to you two small grammatical arguments against same-author-as-fourth-gospel, which I suspect is maybe your preference. It may seem small, but they constitute two small linguistic stones on the it's-not-John-son-of-Zebedee camp (assuming the gospel is indeed that guy) and I don't know if you had them in view:
Firstly, John's gospels and the epistles [bearing his name] apply the anarthrous-yet-definite ARCHE in its many forms. John is the greatest New Testament advocate of this construction, which is also, of course, the LXX method in Genesis 1:1 and elsewhere. However, there are two authors who do not seem  to accept this usage. The main one is Hebrews, unless he is quoting the LXX, which he tends to do very faithfully. The second one is the author of Revelation.
My second linguistic stone is Sophia. I was stunned to discover not only that Logos is related to Sophia (which in itself is not a shocking discovery of course), but that John *never* (unless I am mistaken) uses Sophia... except guess where?
I hear your point about assistance from Ephesus, which is speculative and possible.