From: S. M. Baugh (
Date: Wed Mar 05 1997 - 12:18:22 EST

Dear Larry,

My comments on PRWTOTOKOS and the genitive are going to be brief. Sorry,
but I don't have a lot of spare time and I see now that this thread has
probably been beat to death. I treated this years ago in print and
frankly, don't want to re-hash what I have already done and has also
been done better by others in our [print] literature. Does anyone read
those arcane things called journals anymore! :)

You wrote (in part):
>I have read most if not all of this thread, so, if I missed it, >please forgive me, but has anyone given examples in the Koine of this > period which illustrate the concept of the 'genitive of
> subordination' ? I saw a reference to Wallace's grammar, but I do
> not have a copy.

The reference is: Wallace, pp. 103-4. He gives as examples: Matt. 9:34;
Mark 15:32; 2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; Acts 4:26; Rev 1:5; 15:3; 1 Tim.
1:17; Eph. 2:2; Col. 1:15 (our phrase). I think he has made this label
up (shame on him! we have enough genitive labels!! :)). Yet if you pause
to reflect, the genitive in a phrase like "lord of the vinyard" (Matt.
20:8) refers to the sphere where the lordship is exercised. That is a
kind of "object," so let's just call this a variety of "objective"
genitive (I think most grammarians would). The fact that verbs of ruling
may take an object in the genitive case is sometimes seen as relevent to
this use of the genitive with nouns/adjectives (e.g., Smyth secs. 1413,
1423, 1370; by the way see his example: TAUTHS KURIOS THS CHWRAS,
"master of this country" in 1423).

Hence, "Shepherd of the sheep" (Heb. 13:20) does not denote "the
shepherd part of the sheep", but "the Shepherd over the sheep." That the
lead substantive and the genitive substantive may be part of the same
group (partitive) is not indicated by some "basic meaning" of the
genitive, but determined by lexis and the specific contexts (I usually
use "context" with a *very* broad meaning to include author's style,
linguistic conventions, regionalisms, social background, as well as
various textual contexts [the pericope, the book, LXX, etc.).

Now the genitive relation in PROTOTOKOS PASHS KTISEWS really hangs on
how you interpret PROTOTOKOS ("all creation" seems clear enough). If it
is a noun referring to "generation" or "birth order" then partitive
seems likely--similar to Rom. 8:29 (though not a genitive). It seems
clear to me (granted, not to others), that (1) Paul's emphasis on the
"pre-eminence" of Christ in this passage (e.g., PRO PANTWN, v. 17; EN
PASIN AUTOS PRWTEUWN, v. 18); and (2) the causal character of v. 16
(i.e., OTI) show that the preeminent status of the firstborn as "lord
and heir of a domain" is the referent to PROTOTOKOS (your LXX reference
was helpful here). Christ is Lord and Heir "over all creation, because
in him all things were created . . . " [emphasis on universal scope
follows]. This seems to make best sense of all pertinent linguistic

I didn't justify this meaning for PROTOTOKOS earlier because I thought
it a well-established and well-known meaning harkening back to the OT
institution of "firstborn rights."
Sorry if I didn't get to all your points (some very perceptive), but
must be off to work. . .

S. M. Baugh
Westminster Theological Seminary
in California

"[O]f itself the use of the genitive may have as many varieties as there
are ways in which two notions may be associated," Max Zerwick.

"The genitive with substantives denotes in general a connection or
dependence between two words. This connection must often be determined
by (1) by the meaning of the words, (2) by the context, (3) by the facts
presupposed as known," H. W. Smyth.

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