Types of ἐκ and ἀπό constructions: Origin

Yesterday, we examined SOURCE expressions with ἐκ and ἀπό . Today, we are examining ORIGINS. The Greek Prepositions Workshop is next week.

Following Luraghi (2003), we take origins as being an abstraction of the source. Prototypically, origins still involve a physical landmark and a physical trajector. There is no motion, however, only an “abstract notion of providence” (Luraghi 2003, 21). Like with source, these can also involve other metaphoric mappings. The most basic/common expression of the origin relation involves ethnic groups or simple places of residence. The latter is provided below.

  • τινὲς δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἰουδαῖοι
    Some of the Jews from Asia (Acts 24:19)

Here the Jews in question are Jews who live in Asia and are currently visiting Jerusalem for a religious celebration. With ἐκ, especially, origin relations provide a means to delineate or limit who is in or out of a particular social, religious, or ethnic group. Ἐκ preference makes sense from two perspectives. First, the preference for ἐκ is in origin expressions is predicated on embodied cognition and experience. Ἐκ is preferred for source expressions with birthing verbs, where the container schema is explicit. The extension from birth to lineage and then from lineage to tribe/ethnicity is transparently predictable path of grammaticalization.

  • ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον
    God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal 4:4)
  • μὴ λάβῃς γυναῖκα ἀλλοτρίαν ἣ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς τοῦ πατρός σου
    Do not take a foreign wife who is not from your father’s tribe (Tobit 4:12).

Secondly, social groups are conceived as contained entities that require the crossing of a boundary to enter or leave the group. Partitive expressions are a logical extension from origin in such contexts. Origin expressions referring to religious groups are particularly prominent in the Pauline and General epistles, where the boundaries of faith are being discussed, debated, and taught. Thus we have instances such as the following.

  • εἰ γὰρ ἐκ νόμου ἡ κληρονομία, οὐκέτι ἐξ ἐπαγγελίας
    For if inheritance is from the Law, it is not from promise (Gal 3:18).

With social groups like this one, the landmark has shifted from the spatial to the abstract. Origin expressions are useful for separating people into categories, such as good or evil.

  • οὐ καθὼς Κάϊν ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ ἦν
    We must not be like Cain who was from the Evil One (1 John 3:12)

It should be emphasized that even though ἐκ is the most common for these, since ἀπό makes no claims about boundaries or containers one way or the other, it can also be used in such contexts.

  • τούτου ὁ θεὸς ἀπὸ τοῦ σπέρματος κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ἤγαγεν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ σωτῆρα Ἰησοῦν
    From this man’s descendants God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, just as he promise (Acts 13:23).

Other times, the trajector can also be abstract. This is the case for origin expressions involving education:

  • κατηχούμενος ἐκ τοῦ νόμου
    being instructed from the Law (Rom 2:18)

Here the concept of providence is still retained, but both the trajector (education) and the landmark (the Mosaic Law) are non-physical entities.

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