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RE: [John_Lit] 'The Word was toward God' question (second try)

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    My apologies for the mixed up message. The text I cut and pasted from Perseus come over mixed up with some formatting from my end. let me try it without any
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 23, 2008
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      My apologies for the mixed up message. The text I "cut and pasted" from Perseus come over mixed up with some formatting from my end.

      let me try it without any direct Perseus text citations (refer to the website though for the complete entry from Liddell Scott :http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2388444 <http://www2.milligan.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%253Atext%253A1999.04.0057%253Aentry%253D%252388444> ),



      So the basic entry begins with on the side of, in the direction of, hence c. gen., dat., and acc., from, at, to:

      But notice some interesting features:



      1. with the genitive, pros refers to that from which something comes.



      and the entry goes on to interpret this in terms of place (which is one possibility, that this passage in John refers to God as in a location or source, where Jesus is to be located as coming from), so:



      a) before, in presence of



      b) in the eyes of, (citations follow)...if he wishes to be pure in the sight of the god, (citations follow).



      c) of origin or descent, from, on the side of, (more citations)...



      I would suggest that pros always has this concept, and we are seeing the variation inherent concept being played out in a variety of ways, dependent to a great extent by the case that controls it.



      So notice, then, that this allows also a closely related concept:



      III. of dependence or close connection: hence,



      1. dependent on one, under one's protection,



      2. on one's side, in one's favour



      LSJ then goes on to make more specific references: With the Dative it expresses proximity... and so one sense of this in the dative is:



      2. before, in the presence of



      Now it is true G.John does not use the dative here, but there is often a blurring across cases. The "strict" difference often softens in practice... and that may be what we have here.



      And while the basic sense of the accusative is "toward" or "movement in a direction", this works out in an interesting way:

      6. of various kinds of intercourse or reciprocal action, (citations)...converse with . . (citations)... the term "dialogizestha pros tina" can mean "balance accounts with" (citatitions)





      So.... I think "with God" is within the range of meanings. but perhaps understates the possibility of either reciprocal relationship or some derivative movement (e.g. "origin" listed above).



      Final note; prepositions are notoriously difficult words to "pin down" in simple meanings. They derived from adverbs, and often are very malleable in different contexts and with different cases.



      Does that help?





      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm




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