[B-Greek] The use of πρός in John

Joseph B Theranger theranger1 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 2 07:13:34 EDT 2011


I shared the notion of Carl Conrad that πρός might have meant "in front of 
but facing back toward".  This fit my concept of the Trinity where God the 
Father from before all time reflects upon Himself generating in that 
reflection the Word.  The Word being generated by the Father reflects back 
on Him and the Spirit of love passes between them.  When Christ ascended, He 
sent the Spirit so that we could love in the same way that God loves 
(selflessly as described in the Sermon on the Mount for those under grace 
rather than cotractually for those under the law) since we hope to spend 
eternity sharing in that same love.

I have to tell you that I was disappointed when I read in Sihler the origin 
of the word cited below by Kevin.  It didn't fit my model.

Look.  I know that the meaning of words change over time and I suspect that 
I was trying to read too much into John's choice of a word to describe the 
positional relationship of the Father and the Son in the first place. It is 
also true that the meaning "in front of and facing away" does fit the 
Classical Greek understanding (and Philo's understanding) of the Logos being 
an emination from God. All that being said, my personal way of trying to 
understand the Trinity would have liked "in front of and facing" to have 
been the origin of the root of πρός .

Joe Theranger

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kevin Riley" <klriley at alphalink.com.au>
To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 11:32 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] The use of πρός in John


> Sihler says 'pró' developed from 'pro (or preH3)' meant 'in front of and
> facing away from' in Indo-European.  Words do chage meanings over time,
> especially if they are given a long time.  The similar form 'antí' from
> H2enti means 'in front of and facing'.  I am not sure we could
> convincingly argue that the direction someone/something is facing is
> inherent in the historical Greek prepositions.
>
> Kevin Riley
>
> BTW, for those who like Sihler, or suspect they might, the book is on
> special in OUP's Spring sale.  I tried to resist, I really did, but it
> has everything I enjoy in a language book.
>
> On 2/06/2011 12:44 PM, =) wrote:
>> (I am really not used to mailing lists.. sorry, Carl, for the double 
>> email.)
>>
>> On 2 June 2011 10:37, =)<p1234567891 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>
>>> Dear Carl,
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2 June 2011 02:19, Carl Conrad<cwconrad2 at mac.com>  wrote:
>>>
>>>>> πρός                The information I found on this seems to indicate
>>>> that the location meaning in this word is “in front of and facing away
>>>> from”, the root being προ-.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> I was wondering why John chose πρός as the word describing the
>>>> relationship between the Father and the Son.  I can speculate that John 
>>>> is
>>>> trying to show Jesus and the Logos in sort of a Greek way, the Logos
>>>> projecting forth, continuously being generated by the Father from 
>>>> before all
>>>> time and creation.  I think Philo, the Alexandrian Jew, whose view of 
>>>> the
>>>> Logos was almost Christian, might agree with this. I checked the Latin
>>>> translation of John’s gospel and found that it had an equally hard to 
>>>> figure
>>>> out word, apud.  I have been unable to find a root word for the Latin
>>>> preposition apud.  The closest I could come was ap- which means away 
>>>> from
>>>> (Greek áπό)  and that seems to make little sense in this context.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> πρὸς PROS is a form of πρὸ PRO with the directional suffix -σ -S 
>>>> appended,
>>>> just as εἰς EIS is a form of ἐν EN with the directional suffix -σ -S
>>>> appended. PROS means "forward to" or "facing toward"
>>>>
>>>> These are all approximations; one really needs to do a word study of 
>>>> the
>>>> examples for different usages cited in an unabridged lexicon. The 
>>>> upshot of
>>>> this all, in my thinking (I can't promise that my thinking is the same 
>>>> as
>>>> that of John the evangelist), is that I would have chosen PROS because 
>>>> it
>>>> means "facing" or "face to face with."
>>>>
>>> Hmm didn't Joe say that Sihler said that "PROS" means "in front of and
>>> facing away from" rather than "facing towards"? But can it here mean 
>>> "with
>>> (close to)" without connotation of direction, as also in [Matt 26:18] 
>>> "PROS
>>> SE POIW TO PASCA" = "with you I do/keep the passover", [Mark 6:3] "OUK 
>>> EISIN
>>> AI ADELFAI AUTOU WDE PROS HMAS" = "are not his sisters here with us?", 
>>> [Luke
>>> 9:41] "EWS POTE ESOMAI PROS UMAS" = "until when will I be with you?"
>>>
>>>
>>> David Lim
>>>
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