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

virgil newkirk virgilsalvage1 at msn.com
Sat Mar 18 03:06:34 EST 2006


    I wrote:

    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
> > that were
> > with fathers but now to us have separated from them and come to us in
> > reality.

Carl, you responded:

> This is simply not true; moreover it involves a fundamental
> misunderstanding of the usage of the genitive-case form PROGONWN with
> the preposition APO; Virgil is attempting to attach the sense of an
> adnominal genitive in PROGONWN to the meaning of the preposition APO.
> If I wanted to be more precise, I would say that it is the ablatival
> genitive that is further characterized by APO or EK or CWRIS or some
> other preposition indicating separation or removal.


    I believe it is a confusing of the issue to use terms like "attaching 
the sense of an adnominal genitive" or "attaching the sense of an ablatival 
genitive." Rather, istm to be more useful as well as helpful to instead, 
just keep in mind that when confronted by "any or all" words that the writer 
has formulated into the genitive case, that it is the writer letting us know 
that whatever is nearby, be it a noun, adverb, adjective, or verb, that "it" 
is receiving an assignment from that writer, the claim of what they 
understand or have the concept of... that it is now characterizing that 

In those two paragraphs above...
If I am not mistaken, we have just said the same thing. Somehow we have the 
impression that something has separated from somewhere or as you 
say..."separated or been removed." The APO speaks of separation, as well, of 
course that PROGONWN can (even by itself)....and istm that that writer is 
suggesting "then" that PROGONWN speaks of the "of what" that has experienced 
the separation or removal and has somehow ended up as a characteristic of 

VN wrote:
> > 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.

   I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.


Are we not children of Abraham...Abraham's seed, heirs according to the 
promise ? Are we not children of the freewoman and not the bondwoman ? Are 
we not, now, no longer aliens to the commonwealth of Israel and the promises 
? Does not even Abel still speak to us even though he has been dead now this 
long time. And as Hebrews 11:40 clearly states that God has provided 
something better for us so that they...without what is characterized by us, 
might not be made complete ? Surely this is but a small sample of the myriad 
of items that are our connection to and that are APO PROGONWN. Surely this 
must be what Paul was indicating when he said his present experience of 
service to God was APO PROGONWN. It was characterized by those things that 
were with fathers but are now present with us because they are 
APO..separated..removed from those situations and have come to us so that we 
might participate in them. Chief among All these things then......Christ ! 
See Matthew 1....Luke 3 APO PROGONWN !

> >> 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.

Carl responded:

  PROGONWN is not an adnominal genitive in 2 Tim 1:3 but the object of
  a preposition APO. There is none of the semantic ambiguity involved
  in an adnominal genitive in this instance.


I brought up your historic and oft repeated (worthily so, istm) point, that 
we should strive to understand what is in the Greek, rather than think up 
labels for and hence multiply the so-called categories and sub-categories 
that do not assist us in gaining that understanding. I did not bring it up 
to connect any so-named category of "adnominal genitive" to apply to 2 Tim 
1:3....as I've said; I have no interest in holding a concept about or a 
bringing to mind "adnominal genitive." I want to understand what the 
genitive case indicates....I have no interest in describing it by some kind 
of technical language. I refer again to Funk's advice of.." the student is 
advised to take every conceivable shortcut in reading the "signals" of the 
language: explicit, full grammatical knowledge is no substitute for native 
response where reading ability and comprehension are concerned. The student 
is urged to believe in the linguistic "signposts,"...

CC wrote:

> > 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.


> I think you have misunderstood what I meant by characterizing your
> argument as indicating the genitive is "more privileged." But since
> you now say that the genitive "carries more weight" than other
> grammatical cases, that's problematic enough. Why should PROGONWN in
> APO PROGONWN "carry more weight" than PROGONOIS in EN PROGONOIS?
> Where the noun in question is the object of a preposition that
> requires a genitive in the one instance or a dative in the other
> instance, why does the noun in the genitive "carry more weight"?


Perhaps it has only been a style of speaking or selection of certain words 
that is causing us to speak past each other, when I see a chance that we are 
intuitively perceiving the same thing.

In your post today :

[B-Greek] Modified Genitive Absolute?
Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Mar 17 21:57:01 EST 2006

RE: Modified Genitive Absolute?

...dealing with the genitive absolute in Acts 24:10 NEUSANTOS AUTW TOU 
hHGEMONOS LEGEIN; you wrote:

"What should be understood is that the
genitive absolute functions as an adverbial clause qualifying the
predicate of a clause at a higher level."


Couldn't your comment be applied as well to LATREUW in 2Tim 1:3 that APO 
PROGONWN is an adverbial phrase that is qualifying Paul's serive to God.

Couldn't such a comment be considered akin, for example, to something like I 
wrote (concerning the genitive case)

 "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 

Or: 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.

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

Carl, I beg you....are not these descriptions of my sense of the genitive 
case akin to your commenting that the genitive absolute contains a 
"qualification from a higher level?" Would not the comment that a 
genitive-cased word or phrase gives something nearby a "qualification from a 
deeper level that needs a more than normal consideration....be reasonable or 
perhaps mean the same thing ?" If something is, as you say, "from a higher 
level" does it not then require an equal "higher than normal" or "more 
careful than normal consideration in order to be able to benefit from 
whatever was in the writer's mind and then...writing ? I do believe, like I 
think you do, that somehow a genitive cased word or phrase is speaking 
something from the perspective of a "higher level."  I also think that that 
is why you (imo) intuitively and initially wrote concerning APO PROGONWN 

"It is probably implying more than it says."

It is because of all this that I would still like to speak to your assigning 
no difference in meaning...even in ounces, between SUN+Dative and 
META+Genitive. Perhaps it is enough to suggest to anyone that is reading 
these posts to look at the examples you gave (with something that the reader 
considers to be context(this is imperative)and after careful consideration 
to ask:

"Is there something being said here that is from a higher level."

Those examples were:

> Let me try this once more: here are some instances of ERCOMAI with
> SUN + dative:
> and here are some instances of ERCOMAI with META + genitive:
> My contention is that there's not an ounce of semantic difference
> between ERCOMAI SUN + dative case-form and ERCOMAI META + genitive
> case-form.

  Carl W. Conrad

Virgil Newkirk
Salt Lake City, Utah 

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