Re: Pros

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Wed May 26 1999 - 01:29:49 EDT

At 12:17 PM -0400 5/23/99, Jim West wrote:
>At 09:31 AM 5/23/99 -0400, you wrote:
>>>true, of course, that pros has a range of meanings. Properly speaking,
>>>though, it is a directional preposition rather than a symbiotic one. So,
>>>what use does "sun" serve if "pros" means "with"? Mere synonym?
>>Jim, did you actually READ what I wrote? The only thing I said that hinted
>>at anything "symbiotic" was:
>I didnt say that you did Carl. That was my statement. In short- pros is
>directional and sun is symbiotic. Pros ton theon means "The Word was
>towards God- Godward, a sign pointing at God. Sun ton theon would imply
>"the word was WITH God (in some sort of symbiotic relationship.)"

This does not really hold up to wider Greek usage. PROS is found in
literally thousands of phrases throughout the Hellenistic period--from
Epictetus, Arian, Chariton, and Diodorus Siculus to the Church Fathers and
all of the other early Christian literature--and it is certainly not clear
that they all have a directional component to their meaning. PROS is often
found in contexts like Calirhoe 4.1.10, where the author says that a statue
of Chaereas (Calirhoe's lost but beloved husband) was carried in a
procession. The statue was molded "on the seal of Calirhoe's ring" --> PROS
THN EN TWi DAKTULIWi SFRAGIDA. Here, as in a large minority of instances
throughout the Hellenistic Greek literature, there is no sense of
directionality. Why should we impose a sense of directionality on every New
Testament example when such uniformity clearly did not exist in the wider

Micheal W. Palmer
North Carolina State University
Philosophy and Religion (New Testament)
Foreign Languages (Ancient Greek)

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