Date: Fri Sep 12 1997 - 13:27:56 EDT
Hello, Cindy. I appreciate your interest in this subject, but I must say that
unless you answer the questions in this post, relating to the location of an
articulation of your "complex unit," there is no point in going further.
Upon returning from vacation I found your post:
<< Can you tell us what "complex unit" you are referring to, specifically?
where in the Bible is such a "complex unit" is discussed? I see no complex
unit in John 10:33, anymore than I do in John 17:22, HINA WSIN HEN KATHWS
== 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. ==
Then you have to prove that HO THEOS in John 1:1 is such a "whole." I know of
no scriptural example where PROS denotates membership (see discussion of your
examples below) or of where HO THEOS denote Godhead beingness. Additionally,
John draws from Genesis 1:1, where in verse 26 God speaks to another, again
==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.==
The fact is we assume the plain reading of the text without importing foreign
concepts of a "complex unit." If I were allowed to bring to this verse all
sorts of philopsophical notions of relationship, etc., I suppose I could come
up with many interesting interpretations of this text. But, the verse is not
so complicated that I need to do that, for relationship between HO THEOS and
HO LOGOS is clearly intended, and that in itself distinguishes between the
two. I say clearly because HO THEOS never means Godhead beingness, but always
refers to a specific indiviual. Then, of course, we have verse 18...
== 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? ==
Now, what verse are you quoting? Where does the Bible use PROS in such a way?
Also, to run parallel with John 1:1 you would then have to say, SYNEDRION HN
HO GAMALIHL, and that really would not make sense, would it?
==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
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?)==
Let's see, to run parallel with John 1:1, we would also have to say, KAI
ADEPHAI ESMEN [or, HMEN]. But just does not work, does it?
== Mk. 9:19 (Lk. 9:41) ... W GENEA ASPISTOS, hEWS POTE PROS hUMAS ESOMAI;
(O unbelieving geneation, how long shall I be with you?)==
Again, to run parallel to John 1:1, we would also have to say, KAI GENEA
APISTOS EIMI [or ESOMAI, or HMHN]. It does not work.
== 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...)==
KAI hUMEIS HMEN. No again....
== 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)==
KAI ZWH HN HO PATHR. Of course, if you take hH ZWH as a reference to the Son,
then you would have an interesting situation (cf. 1 Joh 1:1).
== 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.==
You are way off the point here, Cindy. First of all, you have yet to
demonstrate that HO THEOS in John 1:1 should be considered some sort of
Godhead beingness. Again, John draws on Genesis 1 where GOD is the one who
creates, not some Godhead beingness (this would amount to a reification of
the abstract on your part). He is also shown to be in a relationship with
another (vs. 26). Not one of the six examples you cite does the work you want
it to do. I am sorry if that bothers you, but consider:
Matthew 13:56 does not in any way suggest that those wondering participate in
the sisters' essence, or that "sisters" is such an essence in which they
could participate. There _is_ a distinction made between the sisters and
those who fell to wondering.
Mark 9:19 clearly distinguishes between Jesus and the generation he condemns!
In 1 Thes. 3:4 "we" (= Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus) clearly do not
participate in the essence of "you" (= the Thessalonians). We are simply told
they were "with" them at some time. This shows relationship, and a
1 John 1:2 distinguishes between the Son, as "eternal life" and the "Father."
There can be no reading of this text whereby John claims the "eternal life"
existed in the essence of the Father, for such is not articulated here or
elsewhere. You can read that into the text, I suppose, but the much more
natural reading is, again, one of relationship. Jesus tells us that the glory
he had was "alongside" (PARA) the Father, not in Him. (John 17:5)
So, really, all you have done is further demonstrate that PROS indicates a
distinction. Also, you have yet to show that John had an understanding of HO
THEOS consistent with your theology.
== 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.==
I suggest we discontinue this discussion. You are clearly trying too hard to
bring something into the text that is not there. Jesus was in NO WAY part of
the unbelieving generation! Perhaps you should study the use of GENEA. Evald
Lovestom investigates the use of "this generation" against the background of
relevant expressions and concepts in ancient Israel, and concludes: "A survey
of the relevant material shows that the expression is almost always found in
contexts where people's negative attitude to Jesus, the Son of Man, is in
focus . . . It is thus the faithless, rejecting attitude of people to God's
act of salvation in Jesus, the Son of Man, which causes the negative
connotations of [`this generation']." (Evald Lovestam, Jesus and `this
Generation': A New Testament Study [CB 25; Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell,
1995], 19.) Nelson believes "`this generation' in Matt 24:34 refers to a kind
of people characterized by Matthew as unbelieving and headed toward
eschatological judgment." (Neil D. Nelson, Jr. "`This Generation' in Matt
24:34: A Literary Critical Perspective," JETS 38/3 [September 1996], 369.) So
you need to support your assertion that Jesus was part of the "faithless
As for the Thessalonians, Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus, were _not_
Thessalonians, but were "with" them. Nothing further needs to be read into
== 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).
Rather, there must have been a few early readers who got the impression that
HN PROS implied that hO LOGOS had some kind of membership, participation or
incorporation into hO QEON (based on the way EIMI + PROS was used in Mt.
13:56 and Mk. 9:19). If this wasn't what John intended, it seems strange
that John would not anticipate the "mistake" and clarify meaning by inserting
a TIS (or less likely an ALLOS) in Jn. 1:1c.==
TIS or ALLOS is not necessary for such a distinction is made by PROS, as your
examples demonstrate, and the use and non-use of the article, also by the
context, specifically verse 18. John did not need to make any further
qualification of his comments, nor are they in any sense misleading. He draws
on the scene and imagery of Genesis 1, which tell of God, not a Godhead
beingness, and His acts of creation. We are also told in verse 26 that God
was with another, and John simply tells us who that is, HO LOGOS.
There is no need to import a foreign concept of a "complex unit," for such is
nowhere articulated by John. If we did, then we would have something like,
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was a member in the essence of
God [or, a partaker of Godhead beingness], and THEOS HN HO LOGOS." Now, if
clause B says the Word partook of the Godhead beingness (and we would then
have to assume that John, by his lack of articulation of such a concept,
assumed that his readers were already familiar with it, but where would they
have gathered this from?), then what would be the point of saying the Word
was God, or divine, in clause C?
It seems simple enough to take this verse and attempt to understand it
against the OT concepts John draws from, and the rest of the Prologue. In
short, there is no need to bring later philosophical concepts into the text,
when such concepts are nowhere articulated by the writer himself.
Universtity of Wisconsin
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