Five usage-types for ἐκ and ἀπό

The following is an essay encompassing the analysis and data that we will be presenting in our paper on ἐκ and ἀπό at the Greek Prepositions Workshop at Tyndale House in Cambridge this coming Friday, June 30th. It is a compilation of the short pieces that we have posted over the past week.

ἐκ and ἀπό in SOURCE expressions

These are the usages most closely tied to our embodied experience in physical space. Prototypically source constructions also express motion, but this is not a requirement for the schema.

  • καὶ ἀπῆρεν ἀπὸ Ἀντιοχίας, ἀπὸ πόλεως βασιλείας αὐτοῦ
    And he departed from Antioch, from the capital of his kingdom (1 Macc 11:49).
  • Σπεῦσον καὶ ἔξελθε ἐν τάχει ἐξ Ἰερουσαλήμ
    Hurry and quickly get out of Jerusalem (Acts 22:18).

Sometimes the entire source-path-goal schema is profiled:

  • τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ ἐσχίσθη εἰς δύο ἀπʼ ἄνωθεν ἕως κάτω
    The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:38).

Others times, what matters is just the spatial relationship without the motion. Location expressions fall within this domain. They represent a sort of spatial snapshot of an event profiling direction and distance (Tyler & Evans 2003, 134).

  • ἦν δὲ ἡ Βηθανία ἐγγὺς τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων ὡς ἀπὸ σταδίων δεκαπέντε
    So Bethan was near Jerusalem about from fifteen stadia (John 11:18).

Similar to location expressions are separation sources. These specify a physical or metaphoric relation between a trajectory or landmark and emphasize their unrelatedness (or, as in the example below, the necessity of unrelated/separateness). In addition to the distance, these also profile the orientation of the trajectory as maintaining an opposing direction away from the landmark.

  • ἀπὸ παντὸς εἴδους πονηροῦ ἀπέχεσθε
    From all forms of evil abstain (1 Thess 5:22).

Various elements of the source schema can be reconceptualized metaphorically. Thus, separation sources can be extended from the domain of space to the domain of sight.

  • αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτῶν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ διὰ παντός, οὐ κρυβήσονται ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτοῦ
    Their ways are always before him, they cannot be hidden from his eyes (Sirach 17:15).

Motion can also be metaphorically conceptualized in other ways, such as a change of state, with the initial state and the final state being the source and goal:

  • ποιήσας φραγέλλιον ἐκ σχοινίων
    Making a whip from cords (John 2:15)

We call these material sources following Tyler & Evans (2003). Material sources exist in the fuzzy area between sources, origins, and partitives. The latter two we will look at later.

Another interesting construction are sources with reflexives These involve the specification of a psychological state, thought, or words as trajectors that come from some animate participant. Reflexive sources walk the line between source, origin, and cause/agent expressions.

  • οὐχ ὅτι ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν ἱκανοί ἐσμεν λογίσασθαί τι ὡς ἐξ αὑτῶν
    Not that from ourselves are we competent to claim anything as being from us (2 Cor 3:5).

Categories are fuzzy and they often blend into each other. This is a fact of language that all theories and frameworks need to account for.

ἐκ and ἀπό in ORIGIN expressions

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.

ἐκ and ἀπό in PARTITIVE expressions

Partitive constructions with ἐκ and ἀπό fall into two general types  (Tyler and Evans 2003). The first, we call entity partitives, which involve the physical domain. They denote inherent relationships between a part and a larger whole. Like with origins, these relationships are also reliant upon our shared human experiences. These involve an intrinsic relationship between a part and a larger whole: a wheel of cheese and a wedge cut from that wheel. The wedge maintains a direct link in its conceptual structure with its whole. Entity partitives are closely related to material source constructions and likely function one of the paths by which source extended to partitive. And then there are set partitives. Set partitives involve collective groups, where an entire collection of independent entities are treated as a whole on the basis of a shared feature, such as physical space (a crowd) or a set of beliefs (the Jews), or an ethnic background (the Greeks). This last set is closely related to origin constructions. And it is often difficult to separate them out.

We find both these types in our data.

  • Physical part-whole:
    λήμψῃ τέφραν θυμιαμάτων καὶ ἐπιθήσεις ἀπὸ τῆς καρδίας καὶ τοῦ ἥπατος τοῦ ἰχθύος
    You will take incense coals and put some of the heart and fish liver on them (Tobit 6:17).

Here, while hearts and livers are body parts, and thus could easily function within entity partitive frame, they function here as a part-whole partitive, since the speaker is referring to indistinguishable pieces from the heart and indistinguishable pieces from the liver.

  • Set partitive:
    Οὐκ ἐγὼ ὑμᾶς τοὺς δώδεκα ἐξελεξάμην; καὶ ἐξ ὑμῶν εἷς διάβολός ἐστιν
    Did I not chose you twelve? And yet one of you is the devil (John 6:70).

That there are two partative types allows language users creative freedom in how they conceive and present participants in partitive constructions. For example, Paul takes what would otherwise normally be a set partitive and reconceptualizes it as an entity partitive in 1 Corinthians for literary effect.

  • Ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὀφθαλμός, οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος
    Because I am not an eye, I am not part of the body (1 Cor 12:16).

Some partitives exist ambiguous space between source, origin, and partitive such as the following.

  • οἱ γὰρ πάντες ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου μετέχομεν
    For we all share from one bread (1 Cor 10:17).

Here the metaphor evoked is one of taking pieces of bread from a loaf, which involves aspects of the material source usage, origin constructions (we share a providence and are part of the same ground), and partitive (pieces of bread from a loaf).

Ἐκ is the predominant preposition preferred for partitive constructions. Most partitives explicate some form of bounded entity/group, which encourages ἐκ usage. However ἀπό still occurs as (1) the unmarked preposition and (2) for partitives where boundary between whole and part is minimized in some way, such as with the Tobit example above, where the portion of fish is not specified as materially distinct from the rest of the fish. The constituency of the fish is irrelevant to the content of the discourse.

ἐκ and ἀπό in TEMPORAL expressions

Temporal constructions shift the landmark and the trajector source expressions out of the physical plane and reconceptualize them as events. The trajector is an event conceived as moving away from the landmark viewed as a temporal reference point. Fundamental to temporal expressions with ἐκ and ἀπό are distance and separation, which are then applied to the temporal plane.

  • ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστε
    You have been with me from the beginning (John 15:27)

Origins and partitives demonstrate a consistent preference for ἐκ in our data, but with temporal expressions, we find a clear shift in the other direction with ἀπό being the preferred preposition, especially in contexts similar to the one above. The preference for ἀπό comes naturally from its less specified semantics. Most temporal expressions do not involve a temporal starting point with a boundary that can be crossed (a la the container schema). Rather the temporal starting point undifferentiated with the temporal path. This is a natural fit for ἀπό and its diachronically increasing dominance in the temporal domain is a logical result, though there are a few places where we find ἐκ even though we would expect ἀπό.

  • οἱ πρεσβευταὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἦλθαν πρὸς ἡμᾶς φίλοι ἡμῶν καὶ σύμμαχοι, ἀνανεούμενοι τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς φιλίαν καὶ συμμαχίαν
    The ambassadors of the Jews came to us as our friends and allies, renewing their ancient (=from the beginning) friendship and alliance (1 Macc 15:17).

While this type of temporal expression is significantly more common with ἀπό, there are still a handful of instances with ἐκ. Given that Luraghi (2003) describes as the preferred prepositions for temporal expressions and that Bortone (2010) describes Medieval Greek usage as reviving ἐκ for literary effect as a formal and archaic usage, it is possible that already in the Koine we are seeing a preference for ἐκ in high register usage.*

*There is also an idiomatic expression that prefers ἐκ where we might otherwise expect ἀπό: ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας (‘day after day’).

Despite ἀπό’s dominance, we also find that the two prepositions are mostly in complimentary distribution when taking into account the types of temporal constructions in the data. The great majority of the ἐκ data in temporal expressions continue to evoke the container schema, such as when event quantification is involved.

  • προσηύξατο ἐκ τρίτου
    He prayed for a third time (Matt 26:44).
  • καὶ προσέθετο τὸν Βακχίδην καὶ τὸν Ἄλκιμον ἐκ δευτέρου ἀποστεῖλαι εἰς γῆν Ἰούδα
    And he repeated sending Bacchides and Alcimus for a second time to the land of Judah (1 Macc 9:1)

In temporal expressions involving event quantification, such as these, ἐκ is invariably used. The same is true when bounded time period is specified.

  • εὗρεν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπόν τινα ὀνόματι Αἰνέαν ἐξ ἐτῶν ὀκτὼ κατακείμενον ἐπὶ κραβάττου, ὃς ἦν παραλελυμένος
    He found a man there whose name was Aeneas, who had been lying on a mat for eight years and was paralyzed (Acts 9:33).

Here the temporal expression fits a highly schematized version of a container, with clear boundaries to the beginning and end of the man’s position on the mat.

Temporal usages with ἀπό on the other hand, are either open ended such as our first example above or they involve a continuous span of time and apply the source-path-goal schema to the temporal plane with non-specific reference points.

  • ἴδετε τὴν γῆν καὶ διανοήθητε περὶ τῶν ἔργων τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ γινομένων ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς μέχρι τελειώσεως
    See the earth and be reminded of the works that continue in her from the beginning until completion (Enoch 2:2).
  • καὶπάντεςδὲοἱπροφῆταιἀπὸΣαμουὴλκαὶτῶνκαθεξῆςὅσοιἐλάλησανκαὶκατήγγειλαντὰςἡμέραςταύτας

Such usages prefer ἀπό because of the lack distinguishability between the initial starting point and the path. Because there is only a point of initiation rather than some boundary to cross (which would invoke the container schema), ἀπό becomes the natural choice—just as we see in spatial source constructions. Effectively, both ἐκ and ἀπό demonstrate a rather simple mapping from the physical domain of source to the temporal domain.

Other situations where ἐκ is used and their metaphoric extensions:

  • Wombs are containers
    τις ἀνὴρ χωλὸς ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ
    A certain man lame from his mother’s womb (Acts 3:2).
  • Ancestry is temporal
    Μωϋσῆς γὰρ ἐκ γενεῶν ἀρχαίων κατὰ πόλιν τοὺς κηρύσσοντας αὐτὸν ἔχει
    In each city, Moses, from generations past, has those who proclaim him.(Acts 15:21).
  • Life stages are containers
    Ἰούδας ὁ Μακκαβαῖος αὐτός, ἰσχυρὸς ἐν δυνάμει αὐτὸς ἐκ νεότητος αὐτοῦ
    Judas Maccabaeus himself, he was strong from his youth (1 Macc 2:66).

ἐκ and ἀπό in CAUSE expressions

We find a strong “experiential correlation” (Tyler and Evans 2003, 32) between actions and the consequences that result from those actions (i.e. cause and effect): Causes are understood to precede their consequences. If one event immediately precedes another, it is only natural to conceive of the former as the cause and the latter as the effect. The inference is so commonly understood that two causes in a discourse or two scenes in a film may appear one after the other without overt marking of a causative relationship and they are naturally conceived as denoting cause and effect. There are, of course, other ways that cause can be profiled. For example, if an event can be traced back the actions of a person who acts with control or impetus, then it is natural to understand the animate agent as the starting point or origin for the event.

When it comes to cause expressions with ἐκ and ἀπό, an event and its cause are construed as the trajector and its landmark source, respectively. Some cause-effect relationships involve landmarks that are physical objects, as below:

  • οὐκέτι αὐτὸ ἑλκύσαι ἴσχυον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν ἰχθύων
    They could no longer haul it [the net] from the many fish (John 21:6).

Here the fish are the cause. There is an event is the previous discourse context that causes the net to become so full, but the usage by the author here simply profiles the noun. Causes with physical objects that may be construed with the container schema tend to prefer ἐκ.

  • πάντα τὰ ὄρνεα ἐχορτάσθησαν ἐκ τῶν σαρκῶν αὐτῶν
    All the birds became engorged from their corpses (Rev 3:18).

The same can be said for physical processes. Fire and smoke, which envelop a trajector take ἐκ in cause expressions, but heat—even heat produced by fire—does not and in turn prefers ἀπό.

  • χρυσίον πεπυρωμένον ἐκ πυρὸς
    gold refined by fire (Rev 3:18)
  • ἔχιδνα ἀπὸ τῆς θέρμης ἐξελθοῦσα
    a viper came out because of the heat (Acts 28:3)

Other times, internal emotion causes external action. Such contexts prefer ἀπό.

  • ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ φόβου αὐτοῦ ἐσείσθησαν οἱ τηροῦντες
    The guards shook with fear (Matt 28:4).

Emotion-event causes follow the construal of ἀπό that involves a lack of distinguishability between the trajector and source. When the guards shake with fear, the emotional state that caused the shaking is internal to the affected participant.

Animate causes also prefer ἀπό, as with the two examples below:

  • μὴ φοβηθῆτε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεινόντων τὸ σῶμα
    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body (Matt 10:28/Luke 12:4).
  • καὶ ηὐφράνθη Ὀλοφέρνης ἀπʼ αὐτῆς
    Holophernes was delighted by her (Judith 12:20).

There are a few exceptions. If the cause-landmark is expresses high control over the trajector and involves physical contact, then ἐκ will be used.

  • ἔπεσον ἐξ αὐτοῦ τραυματίαι πολλοί
    there fell from his many casualties (1 Macc 16:8).
  • οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν πρός με ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ δεδομένον αὐτῷ ἐκ τοῦ πατρός
    No one can come to me unless it has been granted to them form the Father (John 6:65).

Both control and contact are profiled in 1 Macc 16:8, where the death of the soldiers is a direct result of physical contact and a high degree of control. Likewise, the use of δίδωμι in John 6:65 activates the image schema for the transference construction where the source (ἐκ τοῦ πατρός) is also profiled as a possessor, which in turn implicates a high degree of control over permission to come to Jesus.

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