[B-Greek] 2 Tim 1:3 APO

Yancy Smith Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
Wed Mar 8 21:50:20 EST 2006

	The phrase APO PROGONWN is used in Greek either to describe a time  
from which something happened or the source from which something  
came. Ultimately  your understanding of APO PROGONWN is unconvincing  
to me.  It seems you take it neither as a temporal adverbial phrase  
"from [the time of one's] parents or ancestors" or as an adverbial  
phrase of source, but as "from (on the basis of) [the things  
associated with the] acestors".  "From" in that sense would better be  
expressed by the preposition "EPI". There may be other possibilities,  
but before the time of the New Testament, the two I mention here are  
basically it.  The way you seem to be arguing seems to be an extreme  
over-interpretation. After looking at the phrase in other contexts,  
you might want to dial down the amount of stuff you are packing into  
that little phrase.  As Carl says, that one would expect the definite  
article TA to refer to such undefined things. No matter that we call  
this the definite article, still the "things" to which it refers are  
ONLY necessarily defined by their relation to the fathers.  The  
phrase APO PROGONWN is used elsewhere in Greek literature simply as  
"from (or from the time of) one's ancestors/parents". The adjective  
PATRWOS is functionally equivalent. For example, Polybius, referring  
to Mithridates, says he "maintained the sovereignty handed down from  
his ancestors (APO PROGONWN), as it had been originally given to them  
by Darius" (Polybius, Hist. 5.43.2). A second example of the use of  
the phrase is found in Ptolemaeus, On the Difference of Words, 51.2,  
who defines a BASILEUS (king) from a KOIRANOS (ruler, commander) as  
"one who has his authority to rule from ancestors (APO PROGONWN).  
This example seems clearly to refer to source. It is instructive to  
note how Origen interprets the meaning of this phrase in an aside, in  
which he is affirming the common heritage of Christians and Jews, he  
supports the argument  by a reference to 2 Tim 1:3 "even as Paul  
himself indicates clearly, having come from the Jews to Christianity,  
"I thank my God, whom I serve APO PROGONWN with a clear conscience."  
In other words, he uses the verse simply to assert that Paul's Jewish  
heritage in his ancestors or parents.
Yancy Smith
Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
Brite Divinity School
Texas Christian University

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