Re: Presence or Coming?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Jun 07 1999 - 13:47:06 EDT

At 10:34 AM -0700 6/7/99, wrote:
>> >Would the word "parousia" mean "coming" or "presence"?
>> It most commonly does mean "arrival" or "coming", although when one sees
>> the participial form PARWN, PARONTES or the like, it may indeed mean no
>> more than "being present." But PAREIMI came to be the equivalent of the
>> earlier classical perfective verb hHKW, "I have arrived."
>> In the GNT PAROUSIA frequently (but by no means always) refers to the
>> apocalyptic return of Christ (e.g. Mt 24:3). And it is worth knowing that
>> the word we use at Christmastime, "Advent" derives from the Latin ADVENTUS,
>> which translates the Greek PAROUSIA.
>One suspects that the word parousia took on this latter value because
>it also referred to the official, state visit of an emperor or a king
>to a city. (In one interesting extension of this idea, it also meant
>the "situation" of a planet at a given moment in its course through
>the zodiac-- what "house" it's visiting, etc-- planets taken as gods).

That may well be. On the other hand, this is another of those verbs where I
strongly suspect Latin influence: PRAESUM has something of the same sense,
and PRAESENTIA certainly is the literal equivalent of PAROUSIA.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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