Re: ALLOS and Jn. 1:1c/Was Anarthrous Subject

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Tue Sep 09 1997 - 17:28:31 EDT

Cindy Westfall wrote:

<<<<<<My point is not to prove a complex unit in QEOS with only Jn. 1:1-2,
and I do
want to stick to the immediate literary context and the point that is at
issue. I challenge the assumption that EIMI + PROS, which occurs in both in
1:1b and 1:2, necessarily identifies hO QEOS and hO LOGOS as seperate
distinct units. I clearly stated an assumption that EIMI + PROS could be
used to express the relationship of a member or a part to a whole. Those who
say that PROS establishes seperate indentities or units for hO QEOS and hO
LOGOS assume that EIMI + PROS would not be used to express the relationship
of a member or a part to a whole.

Back to my illustration with Gamaliel: GAMALIHL HN PROS TO SUNEDRION
(Gamaliel was with the Sanhedrin). The question is, would PROS distinguish
Gamaliel as an entity seperate from the Sanhedrin, indicating that he was not
a member?

As I said, if Rolf (or whoever) felt that EIMI + PROS made such a
distinction, that person should demonstrate the fact that EIMI + PROS made
that kind of distinction since it was a narrower definition than association
or relationship.

However, I was too curious about the answer, and felt compelled to do my own
research. I'll go ahead and share what I found in the verses that include
EIMI + PROS in the New Testament. The combination of EIMI + PROS is rare in
the NT and odd, because it combines a stative verb with a transitive
proposition--that is, the verb and the preposition don't match. On p. 359,
Wallace asserts: "These texts illustrate a general principle: Stative verbs
override the transitive force of the prepositions. Almost always, when a
stative verb is used with a transitive presposition, the presposition's
natural force is neutralized; all that remains a stative idea." So, if
Wallace is right, the EIMI must be considered as a more important element
than PROS, and we cannot assume a transitive interaction between units.

Here are the occurences of EIMI and PROS. I'm not sure if this is
exhaustive, and would appreciate any additions of other occurences. I found
eight occurences (if Jn. 1:1 and 1:2 are considered as a parallel, one-time
occurence--if not, nine). Each occurence corresponds closey with another
occurence, so I'll place them in pairs to save space.

     Mt. 13:56 (Mk 6:3b) ... KAI hAI ADKFAI AUTOU OUCI PASAI PROS hHMAS
EISIN; ( And His sisters, are they not all with us?)

     Mk. 9:19 (Lk. 9:41) ... W GENEA ASPISTOS, hEWS POTE PROS hUMAS ESOMAI;
 (O unbelieving geneation, how long shall I be with you?)

     I Th. 3:4 (2 Th. 3:10) ... KAI GAR hOTE PROS hUMAS NMEN, PROELEGOMEN
hUMIN... (and indeed when we were with you we were telling you...)

     I Jn. 1:2 (cf. Jn. 1:1-2) ...APAGGELLOMEN hUMIN THN ZWHN THN AIWNION
hATIS HN PROS TOV PATERA... (...we proclaim to you the eternal life which was
with the Father)

Louw and Nida classified the PROS in Mt. 13:56 as a spatial position which
means "among, between, in, inside." Presumably, all the the first six
occurances could be classified the same way. Far from precluding the
relationship of a part or a member to the whole, these six occurences all
carry an element of membership or inclusion of the subject within the object
of the preposition PROS to some degree. This is particularly true in Mt.
13:56 and Mk 6:3: the point the Nazarene community was making, is that
Jesus' sisters had an indisputed membership in the community.

As for the four other verses, "with" could be possibly be validly interpreted
with "part of." That is, Jesus, by his human birth, was part of the
unbelieving generation, and Paul, when he was present with the Thessalonions,
was part of their group.

At the very least, the assumption that EIMI + PROS distinguishes hO LOGOS as
a seperate unit from hO QEOS is not upheld by the other occurences of the
construction (I'll set I Jn. 1:2 aside, since it has many of the same issues
involved, though not the anarthrous construction).>>>>>>>>>>

Dear Cindy,

I agree that the meaning of PROS + EIMI is important, and I appreciate your
study of this construction in the NT. There is hardly a more exaustive
study of what the leading commentators have said about John 1:1 than that
of M.J. Harris ("Jesus as God"). On pages 55-57 he lists "the four major
possibilities" of how PROS can be understood: (1) The Word "spoke to" God,
(2) The Word "had regard to God" or "was looking toward God" or "was
devoted to God", (3) The Word was "with" (position) God, and (4) "The Word
was in active communion with God". In all four cases there are two
different referents "two persons" with some kind of relationship.

In all your 8 passages above the same is true. According to Mt 13:56 the
sisters were together with others, according to 1 Th 3:4 Paul and his
co-workers were together with the Thessalonians, and according to Mk 9:19
Jesus was togehter with, but separated from this "unbelieving generation".
PROS + EINAI in these cases describes a relationship between two differents
referents or groups of referents.

Your "complex-unity"-suggestion is of course possible, but it seems to have
a great element of mysticism which elsewhere is absent from John, and it is
completely unnecessary both linguistically and contextually (and therefore
the burden of proof is on its advocate). John evidently was a simple person
and he wrote to simple persons about some kind of relationship between two
different "persons", expressed by PROS.


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:28 EDT