Difficult Bible Passages – John 8:25 – The Beginning

Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things. For all things were created through Him and for Him.

[Revelation]
{1:8} “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

{22:13} I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

[Colossians]
{1:15} He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.
{1:16} For in him was created everything in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers. All things were created through him and in him.
{1:17} And he is before all, and in him all things continue.
{1:18} And he is the head of his body, the Church. He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that in all things he may hold primacy.
{1:19} For the Father is well-pleased that all fullness reside in him,
{1:20} and that, through him, all things be reconciled to himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, for the things that are on earth, as well as the things that are in heaven.

So the translation of John 8:25 should not be so surprising. Here is the Latin Vulgate and my CPDV translation:

{8:25} Dicebant ergo ei: Tu quis es? Dixit eis Iesus: Principium, qui et loquor vobis.
{8:25} And so they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them: “The Beginning, who is also speaking to you.

The word “Principium”, in that declension, must be nominative, vocative, or accusative. It cannot be ablative (used in a prepositional phrase). And if you tried to argue that the Greek text should prevail over the Latin, my response is that the Greek text has the same grammatical construction. Jesus calls himself “The Beginning” or “The Origin” (accusative). The Greek includes the word “the”; Latin has no word for “the”.

So the translation cannot possibly be any of these renderings:
“I am exactly who I told you at the beginning.” (Contemporary English Version)
“What I told you from the beginning.” (NABRE)
“What I have told you from the very beginning.” (Good News Bible; Today’s English Version)
nor any similar translation found in many other Bible versions.

But modern Bible translators don’t like to translate with faith. They like to translate in a way that is more accessible, less esoteric, less theological. Many modern translations dull the meaning and beauty of the text.

My translation of the Bible, the CPDV, is much more like the Douay-Rheims translation of Bishop Challoner, and not much like other modern-day translations. Here’s the Kindle version of the CPDV. But it is also available free online.

By the way, the Neo-Vulgate or Nova Vulgata badly mangles this saying of Jesus:
25 Dicebant ergo ei: “ Tu quis es? ”. Dixit eis Iesus: “ In principio: id quod et loquor vobis!
The addition of “In” before “principio” and the change from “qui” to “id quod” is essentially a reverse translation. They took the English text as they wished it to be (“that which I also said to you in the beginning”), and then they changed the Latin to conform to it.

But all four of the base versions of the Latin Vulgate, the one version by Pope Sixtus V (1590), and the three versions under Pope Clement VIII (1592, 1593, 1598), have the same exact text:
25 “Principium, qui et loquor vobis.”
And as I said, there is no basis in the Greek for the altered version either.

The Bible is under attack by modernist scholars, and few Catholic Christian even notice.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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One Response to Difficult Bible Passages – John 8:25 – The Beginning

  1. Dario Diklic says:

    Thanks you for the insight.

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