In some older English texts I have stumbled on phrases where the word "that" is used as part of a preposition. Here are some examples from the KJV Bible:
- Deuteronomy 9:4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, ...
- Acts 25:16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
There are numerous examples througout the text. In each case, the language would be more natural in modern English with the word "that" left out. And there doesn't seem to be any way to make common sense of the usage of "that" (such as an article or object). It seems to be an actual part of the preposition.
What is specifically interesting to me is that in learning Spanish, I noticed that prepositions "before" and "after" are almost always followed by the word "de", which can have a similar meaning to the word "that". So in Spanish you would say "después de ..." or "antes de ...." followed by the phrase. So these older phrases betray a common pattern that has been lost in English.
Am I correctly interpreting the word "that" as part of the preposition, or is there some other way to dissect these sentences that I'm missing? Does anyone have any insight to the origin and history of phrases "before/after that" as a singular preposition?