Re: GENESIS in James 1:23

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed May 20 1998 - 07:16:07 EDT

At 9:15 PM -0400 5/20/98, Paul Zellmer wrote:
>What think ye about the meaning of TO PROSWPON THS GENESEWS AUTOU in
>James 1:23? Several English translations render this "his own face,"
>but that seems a bit weak to me. If we go with "his natural face,"
>then are we contrasting it to his spiritual face? Or does it imply a
>face that has imperfections (assuming that all "natural" things are
>imperfect)? If it is "his living face" or the like, then what is being
>placed outside of his consideration--his "dead" face? If it is "his
>original face," then is he going to have plastic surgery? Perhaps, in
>the light of verse 24, GENESIS refers to his ancestry, and PROSWPON is
>figurative. The words I "know." How they work together in this
>situation, I'm unsure.

How's about "the face he was born with" (as opposed to "the face he
acquired via plastic surgery"); I think that's what is actually meant in
1:23. Presumably it is the one who has had plastic surgery, or who fancies
himself more handsome than he is, whose forgotten what that mirror-image
really showed him. Catullus has a cute little poem about a harlot who
charges too much; I'll cite only the punch line (Catullus 43:7-8):

        non est sana puella, nec rogare
        qualis sit solet aes imaginosum.

        "The girl's out of her mind--and also out of the habit of
        asking a mirror what she actually looks like."

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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:44 EDT