From: Williams, Wes (
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 16:36:58 EST

> >What the lexical issue is that I earlier raised was that PRWTOTOKOS is
> >inherently a partitive word, and, as support, I cited 72 instances of
> >PRWTOTOKOS + genitive from the LXX. The ablatival use is not an exception
> >but rather complements this, as Henry Fowler's definition of "Partitive"
> >shows (note the word 'separating' in his definition I include below).
> >
> >In an effort to redirect back to lexical semantics, what authority/
> >justification from lexical semantics (not theology) and the use of
> >PRWTOTOKOS in the LXX exists to assert that the PRWTOTOKOS is not a
> member
> >of the group to which it is related?
> >
> >I seek criticism of specific LXX examples (preferably non-metaphorical
> use)
> >to show that the pre-eminent PRWTOTOKOS is not a member of the group in
> >which he is pre-eminent. Wallace's citations support the partitive study
> >since in all his cited examples the PRWTOTOKOS is a member of the group.
> A literal, non-metaphorical use of PRWTOTOKOS would imply that Jesus was
> physically born as the first male child born in a physical family, in
> which
> case he would belong to the group of children in the family. Since the
> word
> seems to be used in a wider sense, I think we have to see this as a
> metaphorical usage. To see the point of the metaphor, the word has to be
> read in context. Certainly, metaphors have a way of using words in unusual
> ways, and it is not safe to assume that every aspect of a word's literal
> meaning must fit. I think that you and Greg are looking for an
> interpretation in which PRWTO- is to be taken literally (and
> chronologically, ignoring other possible meanings), but -TOKOS is to be
> taken figuratively.

Dear Jonathan,

I assure you that I seek no such thing. I am merely pointing out that an
assertion should be backed by evidence, especially if that assertion causes
a word to be used in a highly unusual way. In the case before us, to assert
that PRWTOTOKOS is not a partitive word is highly unusual. I ask for
evidence. To assist, I provided as many examples as I could find from the
LXX. Most with whom I speak on this subject assert a non-figurative
PRWTOTOKOS in 1:15. Either way, please provide grammatical or lexical
evidence of non-partitive examples of PRWTOTOKOS. Whether figurative or not,
the weight is that it is a partitive word.
I see the context of Col 1:15-21 quite well supporting a partitive
understanding in 1:15. However, to adopt an appeal to context that requires
a non-partitive understanding in 1:15, I would first encourage a
re-evaluation of the particular understanding of context or theological view
that would promote an unnatural non-partitive understanding rather than
rejecting the inherent "partitiveness" of a partitive word, figurative or
not. Examples? Criticism of provided examples?
Wes Williams

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:07 EDT