Looking for examples of "arche' as "origin"

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jan 27 14:24:58 EST 2002

on 1/27/02 2:04 AM, Edward Otte wrote:

> I am involved in a study of Revelation 3:14 in connection to 'arche' and
> its deeper meaning beyond "beginning." Very few examples can be found in
> the Bible in which a clear example with the meaning of "origin" or
> "source" can be found. I started reading the the Apostolic Fathers for
> examples and have found one such example. I do know that many lexicons do
> list "origin" as a third meaning so examples are not just popping off the
> pages. I would appreciate it if anyone could point me to a few.


Note well that the English word "origin" is ambiguous. It contains a number
of semantic components which overlap with "beginning." We need to keep the
English problems in lexical semantics sorted out from the Greek and Hebrew

ARCH as a source or place of beginning can be found in Gen. 2:10 LXX, the
head waters of rivers. There is no notion of agency here.

Gen. 2:10 potamos de ekporeuetai ex Edem potizein ton paradeison ekeiqen
aforizetai eis tessaras arcas

IEnoch 15:9* looks promising but will require some close study.  The notion
of agency is present here.

 IEnoch 15:9 pneumata ponhra exhlqon apo tou swmatos autwn, dioti apo twn
anwterwn egenonto, kai ek twn agiwn egrhgorwn h arch ths ktisews autwn kai
arch qelhmiou pneumata ponhra klhqhsetai.

Is. 23:7 is a bit dubious. E.J. Young (Isaiah, NICOT) only gives a passing
nod to the notion of "origin" in the Hebrew text. But the potential is there
at least in the LXX.

Is. 23:7 ouc auth hn umwn h ubris h ap archs prin h paradoqhnai authn

Most commentators (R.H. Charles, H.B. Swete, D. Aune, G. Beale) connect ARCH
in Rev. 3:14 with Col. 1:15,18 where there is some sort of semantic
relationship between ARCH and PRWTOTOKOS.

Col. 1:15 os estin eikwn tou qeou tou aoratou, prwtotokos pashs ktisews,
Col. 1:18 kai autos estin h kefalh tou swmatos ths ekklhsias: os estin arch,
prwtotokos ek twn nekrwn, ina genhtai en pasin autos prwteuwn,



Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*1Enoch15:9 (R.H. Charles) the earth, and on  the earth shall be their
dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their  bodies; because they are
born from men and from the holy Watchers is their  beginning and primal

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