Re: Do prepositions govern or merely clarify case functions in Koine Greek?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 11 1999 - 09:21:45 EDT

At 7:29 AM -0500 9/11/99, Ed Gorham wrote:
>I too cast my vote for the 'brown paper bag" designation.
>This not unlike Wallace's tongue-in-cheek definition of the descriptive
>genetive as the "aporetic" genetive/"drip-pan" genetive/"black-hole"
>genetive. APOREO means "I am at a loss". Wallace writes "this is the
>category one should appeal to when another slot cannot be found. The title
>is descriptive not of the genetive, but of the feeling one has in the pit
>of his/her stomach for having spent so much time on this case and coming up
>with nothing." (GGBB, p. 79).

I think one major reason why this happens so much with genitives--and I
don't mean usages that are clearly ablative or clearly partitive--
constitute a structural rather than a semantic category, by which I don't
mean to espouse any linguistic theory, but simply to regurgitate an old,
old dictum that the Genitive is the "Adnominal" or "Adjectival"case, the
case of a noun that depends upon and qualifies another noun in the same way
that an adjective does, either attributively or predicatively. Most of the
little bags of different colors we put them in are useful NOT for helping
us understand the actual FUNCTION of the noun in the genitive but for
helping us find an appropriate category in our TARGET language for
translation purposes. This applies in particular to "subjective" and
"objective" genitives, which don't constitute defined categories in the
Greek at all but only help us define when we want distinguish the "love
which you have" from "love for you."

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

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