Re: PROS [ton qeon]

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Feb 01 1999 - 12:52:24 EST

At 9:03 AM -0800 2/1/99, George Blaisdell wrote:
>>From: Edgar Krentz
>>The four Stoic categories for logical analysis and description
>>included two:
>>These are first the category of relationship and then of disposition
>>in the relationship. Neither indicates movement!
>Edgar ~
>Can we then say that the [or 'a'] fundamental meaning of PROS might be
>"In relationship to", with the focus being on direction [or perhaps
>orientation?], that may or may not entail movement [according to the
>kind of verb involved]?
>Our prayers, for instance, are PROS TON QEON [I would hope!!], and when
>we are praying, are we then 'being' PROS TON QEON? As well, to avoid
>theology here, when we direct our thoughts toward, say, balloons, are
>we then 'being' toward those balloons? Does the action create the state
>of being? And are the two so easily separable? Does the state of being
>imply the action?
>Grammatically, we separate verbs that denote actions from those that
>denote states, and then draw a distinction between the meaning of PROS
>when used with one or the other.
>Yet in Greek, the single word is PROS.

Let me suggest an alternative formulation and analogy, although those who
object to etymological perspectives brought to bear upon questions of


EN refers to stationary position in space or time, while EIS (EN + S)
refers to temporal or spatial directionality with reference to a position
in space or time or to a notion that is conceived metaphorically as
analogous to a position in space and time (as when EIS is used with an
accusative in a phrase of purpose or result); PRO refers to stationary
position, temporal or local before or in front of a position in space or
time, while PROS (PRO + S) refers to temporal or spatial directionality
with reference to an object or person or time or to a no;tion conceived
metaphorically as analogous to such a position: "facing, toward, prior to

I don't know that this resolves all the questions about EIS and PROS, but I
think that seeing the two adverbial/prepositional elements in relation to
EN and PRO can, I think, be helpful.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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