Re: Col 1:20

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri May 15 1998 - 05:57:27 EDT

At 8:19 PM -0400 5/14/98, Michael Phillips wrote:
>At 08:52 PM 5/14/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Thank you, Jim.
>>I take dia with the genitive as does Blass- i.e., "through" of space, time,
>>or agent. Or, dia with the genitive can also denote manner. Our good
>>friend Nigel Turner discusses dia with the genitive on page 267 or his 3rd
>>volume. It can mean "through" (i.e., agency), it can denote manner, or it
>>can equal "by" (in an urgent petition).
>>I think the context here necessitates taking it as the dia of agency. The
>>dative would, in my humble opinion, be quite out of place.
> Yes, I should have said, genitive as opposed to accusative. I
>would have
>thought the remote meaning of "by" would have been in the accusative (not
>dative). The genitive, with or through, not denoting agency. That's my
>dilemma. Sorry to have confused the issue by saying "dative" when I meant
>(or at least, should have said) "accusative."
> I'm having difficulty stating my objectives here without theological
>background. Perhaps a caveat to the theological prohibition would be a
>prohibition of agendas rather than inquiries? Is that fair? I have a
>question, not an agenda, but the question relates to theology. How do I
>state the question without entering into the theology and manage to be
>clear? Have I misconstrued the prohibition / caution?

Yes, think of the caveat as directed against theological agendas or axes to
grind. Your question is strictly about the grammar. I would add one thing
to what Jim has said about DIA with genitive. Although they don't always
work, I'm fond of the picture/diagram representation of
prepositional/adverbial functions; I picture DIA + genitive as a line
extending from outside through a circle and beyond it and therefore
traversing the circle's circumference, the circle being the object of the
preposition. In this sense DIA means "by way of" and is used much like the
English "via" which was originally, I believe, a Latin ablative construed
with a partitive genitive. And I would understand this genitive as
partitive in origin. It certainly isn't the case that this sort of genitive
is very old or common in classical Greek.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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