Re: Jn. 1:1

>On Tue, 29 Nov 1994 Dvdmoore@aol.com wrote:
>>                                                       I believe that the
>> use of PROS (which is usually translated "with" here), in Jn. 1:1b, is a
>> fairly clear indication that the LOGOS is thought of as personal.  To
>> translate "and 'God' was the word" (or "and the word was 'God'," for that
>> matter) IMO loses sight of the personality of the LOGOS.

cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu (Carl W Conrad) answered:

>At this point the only thing I'm reacting to is this comment on PROS: I 
>don't understand why this preposition by itself should imply that the 
>LOGOS "is thought of as personal." The range of meanings of PROS 
>certainly include proximity, direction, being in front of, this last 
>being interpretable as "facing," if you will, but not necessarily having 
>a "face." I'm not saying that I would disagree that the LOGOS has a 
>personal dimension, but I just don't see why the phrasing here 
>necessarily implies "personhood." What comes much closer to expressing 
>that idea moves away from the word LOGOS altogether and changes the 
>metaphor, or, more precisely, is couched in a genuinely "personal" 
>metaphor: 1.18: theos ho wn eis ton kolpon tou patros ekeinos ejHgHsato. 
>It's that phrase "wn eis ton kolpon tou patros." But why should PROS 
>imply that the LOGOS is personal? 

     I agree that 1:18 does speak very explicitly of personhood.
 Nevertheless, PROS, in the context of Jn. 1:1 does express the personhood of
the LOGOS.  Although PROS may have a number of different meanings, depending
on the context, the context of this verse seems clear enough that most
interpreters have rendered it "with."  Williams, I believe it is who has
"face to face with," so also H. B. Montgomery; and the NEB reads "dwelt
with...", so translating HN PROS.  We also should notice that PROS is with
accusative here (although this is really a consideration that should come
before deciding on "with").  But the presence of the accusative does narrow
the options for its interpretation.  

     There are several Greek words that may be translated "with."  Each has
its particular nuance.  There is SUN which often implies joint participation
in some activity.  Another is META which implies being in the company of; it
may also have an instrumental sense - especially when used of objects.  PERI
can mean "with" in the sense of association with someone.   A number of other
examples could be cited, but to get to PROS, its implication in the sense of
"with" is that of interrelationships.  (Some of the foregoing is from Louwe
and Nida, _Greek English Lexicon of the NT Based on Semantic Domains_, Vol.
1, pp. 791-2.)  Cf. Rom. 5:1, EIRHNHN EXOMEN PROS TON QEON or 1Jn 3:21,
PARRHSIAN EXOMEN PROS TON QEON.  Cf. also Mt. 13:56; 26:18; Mk.6:3; 9:19;
14:49 (indicating opposition?); Acts 2:47; 1Cor. 16:6, 7, 10; 2Cor. 1:12;
5:8; 11:9; Gal. 1:18 (of Paul's stay with Peter); 4:18, 20; Phil. 1:26;
1Thes. 3:4; 2Thes. 2:5; 3:10; 1Jn. 1:2; 2Jn. 12.

     Yes, I believe PROS in a context such as Jn. 1:1 implies relationship
and a personal dimension...  This, of course is reinforced and made explicit
by other parts of the larger context as Carl Conrad has pointed out.

David L. Moore