Re: Mt 3:2, 4:17, & 10.7

From: Joe A. Friberg (
Date: Wed Dec 01 1999 - 10:23:05 EST

To Steven Craig Miller:

Thanks for the excellent discussion, based on which I might ought to
modify the notion that both poles are equally encompassed within HGGIKEN.

Nevertheless, let me also point to the need for clarification:
1) at what point does 'coming/drawing near' end;
2) how far out does 'arrived' extend?

I assume first that this arrival is in the realm of influence/authority
rather than spatial (logically the Kingdom-authority idea is inconsistent
with a spatial approach) or even temporal (the perfect implies *now* the
arrival has already taken place).

1) 'coming near' seems to be a proximal including everything right up to but
short of contact--at least for English, and this seems to hold fairly well
2) 'arrived' means coming into view or presence, and may include contact,
for English.

The citation of Jonah 3.6 below is instructive. Although the core of the
word likely still means 'to near', the context clearly indicates that the
king heard the message; this falls into the 'arrived at' category rather
than the 'vicinity but not yet delivered' category.

In Mt 21.1, 34, the Aorist HGGISAN/EN is found as Jesus approached Jerusalem
and as harvest approached in the parable of the wicked tenants, the meaning
clearly falls into the the first category above.

In Mt 26.45-46 in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Perfect HGGIKEN is found
twice, once predicated of 'the hour of betrayal' and the second instance of
'the traitor'. The traitor may not have been in sight, but was already
close enough by to be on the scene in a matter of seconds. In this passage,
the proximal value of EGGIZW may provide a certain degree of uncertainty as
to how close the hour of the traitor is or a modicum of out-of-sightness,
but the narrative bears out that it was in fact very close indeed.

None of this proves Dodd's thesis, nor does it dislodge 'coming near' as the
central connotation of EGGIZW, but it does suggest that EGGIZW can be used
to denote situations or events of arrival and near-arrival which could
alternatively be referenced by ERXOMAI, PARAGINOMAI, etc. Yet by the use of
EGGIZW, the speaker/author may, by the proximal value of the word, connote
some degree of uncertainty regarding the actual remaining distance resulting
from the move. The Kingdom has drawn near, but the actual distance in the
realm of authority is unclear: whether it is within one's presence or just
beyond perception. While there may be this unknownness introduced by the
EGGIZW or even EGGUS, the emphasis appears to be on nearness, not on

I do not subscribe to Dodd's Eschatology, but lexically I do see why he
wanted to press the envelope and interpret HGGIKEN as arrived; yet by using
'arrived', he has removed the uncertainty inherent in the form.

God Bless!
Joe Friberg

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven Craig Miller" <>
To: "Biblical Greek" <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 1999 6:00 PM
Subject: Re: Mt 3:2, 4:17, & 10.7

> To: Joe A. Friberg,
> << The debate about whether HGGIKEN should be translated as 'come near' or
> 'arrived' is, IMHO, based more on one's overall eschatological emphasis
> (Realized--Dodd, Initiated, etc.) rather than the meaning of this one
> The two meanings are both within the scope of the one word, and can at
> merely reflect a difference of completeness or degree. >>
> I have some doubts as to whether or not these two meanings are both within
> the scope of this one word. At the very least, in consulting BAGD, Louw &
> Nida, and EDNT, none of these three suggests that EGGIZW sometimes means
> "arrived" (or anything else which might substantiate Dodd's position). I
> take this to mean that they disagree with C. H. Dodd. And although BAGD
> cites Dodd, and (I assume) the debate on this issue in Expository Times,
> EDNT simply ignored Dodd (at this entry). In addition, since Dodd made his
> point based on supposed LXX usage, I will note that LEH also ignored Dodd,

> and do not suggest that EGGIZW sometimes means "arrived" (or anything
> similar). Furthermore, I will note the obvious, namely that EGGIZW
> obviously derives from EGGUS which means "near."
> W. G. Kummel, in his "Promise and Fulfilment" (1957), writes:
> << J. Y. Campbell and K. Clark have shown [in ExpT 48:9f & JBL 59:367ff,
> respectively] that in the Septuagint also in the preponderating number of
> cases EGGIZEIN bears the same meaning of 'coming near' and that the few
> passages (e.g. Jonah 3:6 HGGISEN hO LOGOS PROS TON BASILEA) quoted against
> this by Dodd [at ExpT 48:140f] only prove that the translators of the
> Septuagint occasionally stretch the meaning of EGGIZEIN to the marginal
> case of 'approaching to' >> (24).
> So with all due respect for C. H. Dodd, who is undoubtedly a giant among
> Johannine scholars, I suspect that on this issue, his opinion has never
> been fully accepted among most NT lexicographers.
> -Steven Craig Miller
> Alton, Illinois (USA)
> From Luther's Large Catechism: "Why, do you think, is the world now so
> full of unfaithfulness, shame, misery, and murder? It is because everyone
> wishes to be his or her own master, be free from all authority, care
> nothing for anyone, and do whatever he or she pleases. So God punishes one
> knave by means of another" (BoC 386.154).
> ---
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