Re: PRWTOTOKOS--KTISEWS a genitive of subordination

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 15:51:51 EST

On 11/09/98, " (Kyle Dillon)" wrote:
> I haven't been following this thread much, but maybe I could give some of
> the little input I have to offer. Daniel Wallace talks a little bit about
> Colossians 1:15 on pages 104 and 128 of his grammar "Greek Grammar Beyond
> the Basics." He classifies KTISEWS as a genitive of subortination, not a
> partitive genitive, on the basis of the lexical uses of PRWTOTOKOS and the
> use of the following causal clause (1:16). He states:
> Wallace's points seem very sound and convincing. In the footnotes, he lists
> some of the Biblical passages where PRWTOTOKOS refers to preeminence--1
> Chron 5:1; Ps 89:27; Rom 8:29; Rev 1:5.

Dear Kyle,

With the flurry of exchanges on this thread, there may be fifteen answers
to this before I hit the enter key, but here are my thoughts.

I've read and considered Dan Wallace's points on occasion. We find
agreement that the PRWTOTOKOS has connotations of pre-eminence (as a side
note, the divinity of Christ is maintained with or without a partitive
genitive). I have difficulty with Wallace's conclusion because there is
little evidence to discard the heavy existing evidence that PRWTOTOKOS is a
partitive word. In fact, in each of his cited scriptures the PRWTOTOKOS is
still a partitive member of the group in which he holds special status,
including the appositive at Ps 89:27 (88:28 LXX). His conclusion does not
follow from the provided citations. Therefore, on what lexical grounds do
we depart from the partitive evidence at Col 1:15? Or is theological
predisposition involved?

To conclude that the PRWTOTOKOS is not a member of a group of which he is
the PRWTOTOKOS, it would help to have a few clear unambiguous examples of
non-metaphorical use where the PRWTOTOKOS is not a member of the group to
which he is related. This is why I previously listed 72 LXX examples with a
genitive. I welcome criticism of specific examples in that list.

As for the hOTI clause and its relationship to PRWTOTOKOS PASHS KTISEWS,
this was discussed much in a thread in Feb, 1997. You can consider that
previous exchange at:

Wes Williams

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