Jehovah's Witnesses misquote Greek scholars
Written by: Thompson, Paul Posted on: 05/02/2003
Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics
From: Paul Thompson
Subj: Mantey Letter To Wt Jn1:
In the past the Watchtower used Professor Julius Mantey's Greek Grammer Text
to support their interpertation of John 1:1. The following is a copy of a
letter sent by Professor Mantey to the Watchtower Society in regards to their
I have a copy of your letterr addressed to Caris in Santa Ana, California,
and I am writing to express my disagrement with statemetns made in that
letter, as well as in quotations you have made from the Dana-Mantey Grek
(1) Your statement: "their work allows for the rendering found in the
Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures at John 1:1,"
There is no statement in our grammare that was ever meant to imply that
"a god" was a permissible translation in John 1:1.
A. We had no "rule" to argue in support of the trinity.
B. Neither did we state that we did have such intention. We were simply
delineating the facts inherent in Biblical language.
C. You quotation from p. 148 (3) was a paragraph under the heading: "With
the subject in a Copulative Sentence." Two examples occur here to
illustrate that "the article points out the subject in these
examples." But we made no statement in this paragraph about the
predicate except that, "as it stands the other persons of the trinity
may be implied ;in theos." And isn't that the oposite of what your
translation "a god" infers? You quoted me out of context. On pages
139 and 140 (VI) in our grammar we stated: "without the article,
theos signifies divine essence...'htheos en ho logos' emphasises
Christ's participation in the essence of the divine nature." Our
interpretation is in agreement with that in NEB and TED: "What God
was, the Word was"; and with that of Barclay: "The nature of the Word
was the same as the nature of God," which you quoted in you letter to
(2) Since Colwell's and Hasner's article in JBL, especially that of Harner,
it is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 "The Word
was a god." Word-order has made obsolete and incorrect such a rendering.
(3) Your quotation of Colewell's rule is inadequate because it quotes only a
part of his findings. You did not quote this strong assertion: "A
predicate nominative which precedes the verb cannot be translated as an
indefinate or a 'qualitative' noun solely because of the absence of the
(4) Prof. Harner, Vol 92:1 in JBL, has gone beyond Colwell's research and
has discovered that anathrous predicate nouns preceding the verb function
primarily to express the nature or character of the subject. He found
this true in 53 passages in the Gospel of John and 8 in the Gospel of
Mark. Both scholars wrote that when indefiniteness was intended that
gospel writers regularly placed the predicate noun after the verb, and
both Colwell and Harner have stated that theos in John 1:1 is not
indefinite and should not be transated "a god." Watchtower writers appear
to be the only ones advocating such a translation now. The evidence
appears to be 99% against them.
(5) Your statement in your letter that the sacred text itself should guide
one and "not just someone's rulebook." We agree with you. But our study
proves that Jehovah's Witnesses do the opposite of that whenever the
"sacred text" differs with their heretical beliefs. For example the
translation of kolasis as cutting off when punishment is the only meaning
cited in the lexicons for it. The mistranslation of ego eimi as "I have
been" in John 8:58, the addition of "for all time" in Heb. 9:27 when
nothing in the Greek New Testament support is. The attempt to belittle
Christ by mistranslating arche tes kriseos "beginning of the creation"
when he is magnified as the "creator of all things" (John 1:2) and as
"equal with God" (Phil. 2:6) before he humbled himself and lived a human
body on earth. Your quotation of "The father is greater than I am, (John
14:28) to prove that Jesus was not equal to God overlooks the fact stated
in Phil 2:6-8. When Jesus said that he was still in his voluntary state
of humilation. That state ended when he assended to heaven. Why the
attempt to deliberately deceive people by mispunctuation by placing a
comma after "today" in Luke 23:43 when in the Greek, Latin, German and
all English translations except yours, even in the Greek in you KIT, the
comma occurs after lego (Isay) - "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
2 Cor 5:8, "to be out of the body and at home with the Lord." These
passages teach that the redeemed go immediately to heaven after death,
which does not agree with your teachings that death ends all life until
the resurrection. (Ps. 23:6 and Heb 1:10)
The afore mentioned are only a few examples of Watchtower mistranslations and
pervisions of Gods Word.
In view of the preceding facts, especially because you have been quoting me
out of context, I herewith request you not to quote the Manual Grammare of
the Greek New Testament again, which you have been doing for 24 years. Also
that you not quote it or me in any of your publications from this time on.
Also that you publicy and immediately apologize in the Watchtower magazine,
since my words had no relevance to the absence of the article before theos in
John 1:1. And please write to Caris and state that you misused and misquoted
On the page before the preface in the grammar are these words: "All rights
reserved - no part of this book may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the publisher."
If you have such permission, please send me a photo-copy of it. If you do
not heed these requests you will suffer the consequences.
Julius R. Mantey
--Comments by Paul Thompson---
To my knowledge the Watchtower never published any apology in the Watchtower
magazine, nor any of its publications. If I am mistaken I am now requesting
any Jehovah Witness to copy that apology and post it in the message section
for my examination.
If anyone is interested I also have a letter written by William Barclay whom
they also quoted out of context in the Watchtower of 5\15\77 p. 319,320. I
have room here and the letter is short so I will include it anyway!
Dear Professor XXXXXXXXXXXX,
Thank you for your letter of August 11th. Thw Watchtower article has, by
judicious cutting, made me say the opposite of what I meant to say. What I
was meaning to say, as you well knowk, is that Jesus is not the same as God,
to put it more crudely, that he is of the same stuff as God, that is of the
same being as God, but the way the Watchtower has preinted my stuff has
simply lef the conclusion that Jesus is not God in a way tha suits
If they misssed from their answer the translation of Kenneth Wuest and the
N.E.B., they missed the whole point.
It was good of you to write and I don't think I need say anything more to
make my position clear.
With every good wish.
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