Looking for examples of "arche' as "origin"

Polycarp66 at aol.com Polycarp66 at aol.com
Tue Jan 29 12:08:54 EST 2002


In a message dated 1/29/2002 7:42:47 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
edotte at optonline.net writes:


>Based on this subject of 'arch' as "source" I have done some reading,
>mostly in the Apostolic Fathers, and found what I feel is a good example.
>I was looking for an example that was similar to Revelation 3:14 where
>'arch' leads the genitive phrase. In the Epistle of Polycarp to the
>Philippians paragraph four first sentence: "But the love of money is the
>beginning of all troubles." The Greek here is "'arch de pantwn calepwn
>philargria." My edition of the Apostolic Fathers cites 1 Tim. 6:10 as a
>cross reference here. My question is if this citation is with "beginning"
>leading a genitive phrase like Rev. 3:14. Also is this a good example of
>'arch' as "source" or origin"?


The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians reads at this point

IV. 1. ARXH DE PANTWN XALEPWN FILARGURIA.

I Tim 6.10 reads 

hRIZA GAR PANTWN TWN KAKWN ESTIN hH FILARGURIA.

Polycarp has thus transformed "root of all evil" to "beginning [or in keeping 
with your interest, 'origin'] of all difficulties/evil."  As such it is a 
somewhat loose to be considered a quotation though I would say it is a 
correct understanding as a derivation from I Tim 6.10.    


>Also I found four other examples of 'arch' in the LXX which may also be
>applicable. They are Proverbs 8:22, 23, 9:10 and 1:7. Do any of these
>carry the same notion of source and or agency? Thanks


Prov 8.22 in the LXX reads

KURIOS EKTISEN ME ARXH hODWN AUTOU EIS ERGA AUTOU

This translates the Hebrew

YHWH  QfNfNiY R:)$iYT D.aR:K.oW QeDeM MiF:(fLfYW M")fZ

Thus ARXH in the LXX represents R:)$iYT in the MT.  R:)$iYT is the word used 
in Gen 1.1 in conjunction with the preposition "B" as B.R")$iYt "In the 
beginning."  R:)$iYT comes from the root Ro)$ meaning "head."  This may or 
may not indicate an absolute origin.  There is some difference of opinion on 
this.  While the theological implications have no place in the b-greek 
discussion, I feel you should BE AWARE of the fact that there are differences 
of opinion.  E. A. Speiser in his Anchor Bible Commentary (I'm doing this 
from memory and with perhaps a twenty year gap since I last read it) 
translates as "When God began to . . ."  

Similarly in the following verse (Prov 8.23) EN ARXHi translates M"Ro)$ which 
is likewise a form derived from Ro)$ with the prepostion M ("from"). 

In Prov 9.10 ARXH translates a different Hebrew word - T.:XiL.aT.   This is 
in the construct state and therefore would be "the beginning of."  This word 
appears in the Abraham cycle where it specifies that Abraham returned to 
where his tent had been "at the beginning/first/formerly".  You will note 
that I have boldened "formerly" since I think that is a more proper 
understanding of the term here.   It also appears in the Joseph cycle.  There 
it is used in the narration of his dreams regarding the fat cattle and the 
lean cattle.  Here too I consider the better understanding of the term to be 
"formerly" or "before."  Similarly with the money found in the sacks of 
Joseph's brothers the meaning "formerly/before/previously" seems appropriate.

The situation seems somewhat different with regard to it usage in Jdg. 1.1.  
Here the meaning "first" would be appropriate. "Who will go up first . . ."  
It is interesting, however, that the LXX does not translate this with the 
word ARXH.  Here it reads

TIS ANABHSETAI hHMIN PROS TON XANANAION AFHGOUMENOS TOU POLEMHSAI EN AUTWi

Thus ARXH is represented by AFHGOUMENOS > AFHGEOMAI "to be in the van, to 
lead the way."

There are 22 apprearances of T.:XiL.aT in the MT.  I will not discuss each 
(nor is each translated by the LXX as ARXH).  

Perhaps I'm misreading you, however, I get the impression that you are 
attempting to read some philosophical concept of origin into this.  I would 
discourage your doing so.  

gfsomsel



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