[B-Greek] Why is the Genitive different from all other cases?

virgil newkirk virgilsalvage1 at msn.com
Mon Mar 13 22:05:04 EST 2006

  Carl, you wrote:

> I appreciate the direct indication of "the point." The point is
> sometimes difficult to discern in a long post with much quoted
> material. In this instance, we have had another long post with much
> quoted material, but I think I've cited what really IS "the point" of
> the message: it is that when a phrase containes a word in the
> genitive case we need to put it under an intellectual microscope (as
> we would not if it's in some other case-form).

  Yes, Carl,

  I would fairly agree with what you've suggested is my thought. I would, 
however, think of it more specifically of a ..."consideration" microscope; 
and yes, also, I would agree with a claim that it requires "consideration" 
not needed for other case forms. Perhaps consideration of the Dative as 
compared to the Genitive is sufficient for the subject at hand; "why is the 
Genitive different from all other cases?"

  Well firstly, because it is a different case and hence carries with it a 
different perspective on matters. This calls for our consideration from that 
different perspective, I would say. As Robertson says, " The other cases are 
called oblique (PLAGIAI) as deviations from the nominative."

  Succinctly I would say, (citing my Beginning Greek professor speaking to 
the Dative case), " it is the case that points to...points at...points out."

  For me, then, speaking to the Genitive case, I would say it is the case 
that calls for us to "look into & consider the contents." This does require 
more consideration, I would say.

> Somehow I think that the genitive case is really the underlying root-
> source of this interminable (and, in my opinion, unedifying)
> discussion of APO PROGONWN in 2 Tim 1:3.


I can only respond honestly to this comment by saying, "For me to be able to 
realize what "kind of"; that is to say, what was characterizing Paul's 
service to God is what is prominent to my realization of what's written in 2 
Tim 1:3. The words in the genitive case APO PROGONWN are what give that 
classification so there are no apologies that I would offer for their being 
considered carefully, no.

Carl, you went on to say,

We were first told that APO
> PROGONWN means "things having to do with ancestors." Then we were
> told that it means "things having to do with ancestors." We're still
> being told that. And when attention is called to the preposition APO
> governing the genitive case in this phrase, the search seems to be on
> to show how APO when used with PROGONWN can make it mean "things
> having to do with ancestors." And now we're told something that I
> have suspected was being hinted at earlier: the sense "things having
> to do with ancestors" really doesn't depend on APO but upon the
> genitive-case form of PROGONWN.

I would want to note and remind ones reading these posts that I specifically 
"refined" my use of the word "things" to mean that I was indicating the 
idea, or quality perceived, known or considered to have a separate existence 
or concrete substance "from what is of fathers." This is surely different as 
well as an improvement on "things of the ancestors" and is why I 
specifically updated it to clarify what I was speaking to.

As for your last comment above; the preposition APO only makes clearer and 
more specific the idea inherent in PROGONWN. Service characterized by what 
is "of fathers" being then with APO; those somethings (see above) that was 
with fathers but now to us have separated from them and come to us in 

Zodhiates in his Dictionary of the New Testament says of APO under (D):

"Sometimes found instead of EK, although EK is used to indicate the 
separation of something that is in another thing and APO is used to indicate 
separation "from" something or someone else."

That is to say..."somethings" were with fathers and are those somethings 
that are characterized by being of them and have now come from them...to us.

So I would say both APO and PROGONWN team up to complete the specific 
thought Paul has in mind with respect to what characterizes his current 
experience of service.


> Now we're told that the genitive-case form means "there's a plaque
> over here with some specifics on it that you must read to fully
> appreciate what is over there ... just out of the normal line of
> sight." The fact is that it is SO FAR OUT OF THE NORMAL LINE OF SIGHT
> that to me and perhaps to one or two others it is altogether

VN: I would say, no, not if one stops and has a look. You yourself, Carl, 
speaking specifically of the adnominal genitive have suggested many times 
that it is more a matter of understanding what this meant to the Greek, more 
so than how it is to be translated.


I've never been able to understood this argument that the
> genitive case is somehow privileged over the others,

VN: I have never said it is more privileged over other cases, but that it 
definitely carries more weight...more content, needs more careful 
consideration. It is a part of the whole; it does not stand by itself having 
more privilege...not to me.


  that it somehow
 has a closer link to metaphysical reality or the like.

VN: Something again that I've never said. What I have indicated is that the 
genitive case (for the speaker/writer) is the vehicle that allows them to 
speak of or to, what they perceive to be "metaphysical realities" happening 
between those nouns, adjectives, and sometimes verbs (and what they 
represent of course) and the concepts contained in the genitive cased words 
they supply to them; indicating relation....real relation. The Genitive case 
is only a structure of language and by itself does what language can 
do...communicate thought. I have no such concept that a structure of any 
language is some kind of link to metaphysical reality.


  I've thought
> (and still think) that META FILWN means pretty much the same thing as
> SUN FILOIS, that the "friends" are no less real for being indicated
> by a word in the DATIVE case than when they are indicated by a noun
> in the GENITIVE case.

VN: I agree explicitly, Carl, that those friends referred to above are no 
less real, one compared to another. As to what might be the difference in 
inference, one would have to have a context to comment. One would have to 
know what META FILWN is indicating classification to and hence why the 
writer was wanting us to focus on what are the actual characteristics of the 
idea of friends. The dative and genitive have a different position off of or 
away from the nominative. PTWSIS...there must be a reason for it, istm.

Virgil Newkirk
Salt Lake City, Utah 

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