Dr. Mantey's Letter
Here is the letter written by Julius R.
Mantey, whose Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament has been quoted
by various Watchtower publications in their discussions of John 1:1-2:
July 11 , 1974
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
117 Adams St.,Brooklyn,
New York 11201
I have a copy of your letter addressed to Caris in Santa Ana, California, and I
am writing to express my disagreement with statements made in that letter, as
well as in quotations you have made from the Dana-Mantey Greek Grammar.(1) Your
statement: "their work allows for the rendering found in the Kingdom
Inter-linear Translation of the Greek Scriptures at John 1: 1.'' There is no
statement in our grammar 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. .
Your quotation from page 148 ( 3 ) was in a paragraph under the heading: "With
the Subject in a Copulative Sentence." , Two examples occur there 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
opposite 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. . "theos on ho logos" emphasises Christ's
participation in the essence of the divine nature.''
0ur interpretation is in agreement with that in NEB and the TEV: "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 your letter to Caris.
(2) Since Colwell's and Harner's articles 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 Colwell '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 indefinite or a
''qualitative'' noun soley because of the absence of the article. ''
(4) Prof. Harner, Vol. 92.1 (1973) in JBL, has gone beyond Colwell's research
and has discovered that anarthrous predicate nouns preceding the verb function
primarily to express the nature of 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, the Gospel writers regularly placed
the predicate noun after the verb, and both Colwell and Harner have stated that
theos in John l: 1 is not indefinite and should not be translated "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 rule book". 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 eim as "I have been" in John 8:58. The addition of "for
all time" in Hebrews 9:27 when nothing in the Greek New Testament supports it.
The attempt to belittle Christ by mistranslating arche tes ktisoos "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 in a
human body here 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: 12: 6-8, when Jesus said that he was still in his voluntary state of
humiliation. That state ended when he ascended 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, in the Greek in even your KIT, the comma
occurs after lego (I say)?-- "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 above are only a few examples of Watchtower mistranslations and perversions
of God's Word.In view of the preceding facts, especially because you have been
quoting me out of context I here with request you not to quote the Manual
Grammar 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 publicly and immediately apologise 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 my "rule".
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
photocopy of i t. If you do not heed these requests, you will suffer the
Regretfully yours ,
Julius R. Mantey