Hair-splitting (was Tense of TETAGMENOI in Acts 13:48)

dixonps at dixonps at
Mon Jul 5 11:58:27 EDT 1999

On Mon, 5 Jul 1999 06:49:18 -0400 "Carl W. Conrad"
<cwconrad at> writes:
>At 8:35 PM -0500 7/4/99, James S. Murray wrote:
>>Carl Conrad wrote (snip):

>More to the point, I think, is the question whether there's a semantic
>difference at the time of composition of Acts 13:48 between an aorist
>passive ETACQHSAN and this form before us, HSAN TETAGMENOI. There may 
>be real difference of opinion on this; my own judgment is that ETACQHSAN

>is the one that ought properly to be translated as a pluperfect passive
>English ("had been destined/ordained") while the periphrastic form ought
>more properly to be understood as a past stative with a time 
>simultaneous to that of the main verb ("were--at that
time--destined/ordained"). I 
>think that the upshot is the same in any case, but I think there's this
>difference: the aorist would underscore the completion of the
>destining/ordaining (prior to the time of the main verb) while the
>periphrastic pluperfect would underscore the status quo of the 
>believers at the time they believed. Some may well think that this is
>hairs too much to no purpose, but it is worth noting, I think, that the 
>aorist is generally used in narrative Greek where English uses a
pluperfect to 
>convey time of a verb relative to time of another verb, and that the
>and pluperfect, where they are used at all, tend to indicate state or 
>condition obtaining at a particular time. Frankly, I don't think this 
>distinction has any bearing upon the theological questions posed by this
verse, which
>cannot be discussed here.

The question some of us had raised was rather there is any basis for 
taking such a construction as found in Acts 13:48 (periphrastic perfect
participle attending an aorist main verb) as anything other than denoting
prior, completed action of the participle with reference to the action of
the main verb.

If I read you properly, your words, "the periphrastic form ought more 
properly to be understood as a past stative with a time simultaneous
to that of the main verb," suggest something to the contrary.  There is
question that an aorist participle can denote time simultaneous to that
of the main verb, but I've never heard of a perfect participle doing the
Can you supply an example of this?


Paul Dixon

P.S.  If this email comes across chopped up, please forgive.  It was
cleaned up nicely prior to sending, but am sending it on my new laptop
:), which seems to be working more choppily than the trusty old

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