re: Semantic Domain of Prepositions

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat May 03 1997 - 09:27:36 EDT

Clayton Bartholomew wrote;

>>>Semantic Domain of Prepositions

Sara wrote:
>> >> >>
>>I must say that the method which has worked best for me over time, when
>>dealing with Greek prepositions, is (with apologies to Alice) "A
>>preposition means what the context wants it to mean, no more and no
>>That's not to say that one might not discover subtle shades of meaning
>>through extended analysis. But somehow, I rather doubt that native
>>speakers were consciously or unconsciously engaged in that level of
>> >> >>

>Here are two more questions about the semantic domain of prepositions.
>The first question leads into the second question.

>The following construction is very common in the NT:

>prep(prefix)+verb -> prep phrase

>example: kai eisercomai eis to soma

>Why is the preposition repeated after the compound verb. Has the
>compound become semantically vague over time and for this reason the
>preposition needs to be reasserted? I have become accustom to seeing
>this construction but have never seen it explained in any of my reading.

For the same reason we say "sympathize with". They did not think in terms
of compound verb but intended meaning when they used that verb.

>I have a second question which baffles me. Why do we find textual
>variants of the following sort which seem to treat the prepositions in
>compound verbs as if the were irrelevant when all the lexicons show
>these verbs as having distinctly different semantic domains.

>textual variants of this pattern:
>eisercomai eis ...
>katercomai eis ...

>Two examples appear in Acts 4:2:

>pair 1: diaponoumenoi dia ...
>kataponoumenoi dia ...

>pair 2: kataggellein en ...
>anaggellein en ...

>Now the verbs in pair number one have very distinct semantic domains,
>but pair number two might be considered near synonyms. I have no problem
>with pair number two. But how do you explain repeated examples of the
>pattern found in pair number one?

>These questions may or may not be directly related to the semantic
>domain of prepositions.

The preposition added to a verb sometimes changes the meaning such as
GINWSKW and ANAGINWSKW. In other cases the preposition may only intesify
the meaning such as STREFW and ANASTREFW.

In Acts 4:2 the reading DIAPONOUMENOI DIA is a bit difficult in the
context. It is used more for working something out by hard work whereas
KATAPONOUMENOI carries more the idea of make something hard or to become
exercised about. For that reason in D the substitution was made, which is
common in D.

Carlton L. Winbery
114 Beall St.
Pineville, LA 71360
Fax (318) 442-4996
Phone 318 487-7241 Home 448-6103

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