Re: PRWTOTOKOS, Partitive Words and listing of LXX use (64 verses)

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Sun Nov 08 1998 - 00:22:23 EST

Jonathan Robie <> said:

>At 07:08 PM 11/7/98 -0700, Wes Williams wrote:
>>_A Dictionary of Modern English Usage_, by H.W. Fowler, 1994, p. 613,
>>partitive (Gram.) ...
>>P[artitive] words are such nouns & pronouns as by their nature imply the
>>separating or distinguishing of a part of some whole from the rest, such
>>part, portion, half, much, superlatives, some, any, each ; the p[artitive]
>>genitive is that of the word denoting the whole, which is made to depend
>>a p[artitive] word by being put in the genitive in fully inflected
>>languages, but in English attached to it by of.
>>The word "firstborn" (PRWTOTOKOS) is intrinsically such a partitive word.
>As I understand your statement, the construction PRWTOTOKOS PASHS KTISEWS
>implies that the PRWTOTOKOS is also part of PASHS KTISEWS because (1)
>PRWTOTOKOS is intrinsically a partitive word, and (2) the genitive noun
>denotes the noun of which the partitive noun is a part.
>In Revelation 1:5, Jesus is called hO PRWTOTOKOS TWN NEKRWN. Using your
>reasoning, I would think this would imply that Jesus is one of the dead,
>which seems contrary to other statements made by the author of the

Dear Jonathan,

I appreciate that you have represented my position well and your feedback is
welcome. Yes, I do understand the expression hO PRWTOTOKOS (EK) TWN NEKRWN
as a partitive with perhaps an ablative flavor, identifying hO PRWTOTOKOS as
at one time a member of the group of TWN NEKRWN. As the PRWTOTOKOS said in
1:18: "KAI EGENOMHN NEKROS KAI IDOU ZWH EIMI," he identified himself as a
partitive member of the group TWN NEKRWN. Perhaps this is why T.R. inserted

A literal of 1:5 is "The firstborn of the dead," or "The firstborn from the

Some epexegetical translations of 1:5 are:
"the first of the dead to be born to life" - Weymouth
"the first to come back from the dead" - The NT in Basic English
"the First of the dead to live again" - Beck
"the first-born of the risen dead" - Knox

In any case, yes, a partitive member of the group, in harmony with and in
agreement with my previous post. I welcome feedback on the LXX examples on
the intrinsic partitive nature of PRWTOTOKOS.

Wes Williams

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