John 1:1

WHEIDLER@trevecca.edu on 10/20 asks:
"John 1:1 =>  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
"1.  Why is the word order for the first phrase start with "In the
beginning" and not with "The Word"?
"2.  pros is translated as with, which I see as an Acc. of
Association.  Could not that be translated also as 'by means of God'.
"2a. pros if it is seen as an Acc. of Association; could it not also
be seen as an Acc. Adverbial Ref (though I am not sure how this would
effect the translation.

1. For one thing, while English may usually begin with the subject,
Greek word-order is relatively free and the subject may quite commonly
follow the verb--and in fact, it does so more often than not when the 
verb is, as here, an existential EINAI. Secondly, there is pretty clearly
a deliberate echo of Genesis 1:1 in the formulation of this  verse.
2. PROS properly means "before" or "to front of" and construes with
an accusative indicating what end or limit is governed by PROS. So
in this verse, phrasing means "in the direct presence of God." While
it might be pushing matters, I'd say that "near God," or even face-to-
face with God" would be reasonable equivalents and the latter comes
closer to the way I would understand the phrase than the traditional
"with God."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com