Acts 1:10

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Tue May 11 21:03:29 EDT 1999

At 5:33 PM +0100 5/11/99, John M. Moe wrote:
>Thanks for your response to my question regarding the possibility of a
>"genitive of Apposition". You wrote:
>>(1) I really don't see how that's possible. Although some grammars
>>list it, I don't really think a "genitive of apposition" exists as
>Perhaps my choice of terminology was poor. I was thinking in terms of
>what is described by Benjamin Chapman and Gary Steven Shogren on p. 15
>of their Greek New Testament Insert, as follows
>Epexegetical (or Genitive of Apposition, Defining). [WHICH IS or NAMELY
>or CONSISTING OF] In apposition, two substantives in the same case
>refer to the same thing. But an epexegetical genitive may follow a
>substantive of any case and further identify that substantive.
>He who gave us the down payment which is the spirit
>I'm a bit confused at this point (happens all too often when I look too
>long and too close at something) and I don't know if it's my thinking in
>English, some hangover of the Hebrew construct, or just fuzzy
>headedness, but the double reference to time strikes me as clumsy, and
>POREUOMENOU AUTOU seems like it could possibly "further identify" TON
>OURANON. Can you help me clear my head? or do you think that might
>require some more violent action than that which is possible by email?

Well, personally I have allergies to more things than I know, but I do feel
my head has become clearer (of allergies, at any rate) with my seasonal
shift to the Blue Ridge mountains. Why don't you come over here to the
eastern mountains and see if that won't clear up your head ;-)

More seriously, I now recognize what you meant by "appositional" or
"epexegetical" genitive; again, I am not sure this merits a distinct term;
it really is a variety of what has been called a genitive of definition as
in the English "A Book of Apophthegms"--where "book" hardly means anything
at all without "of apophthegms" and the title might just as well be
"Apophthegms." So in the above Greek example TOU PNEUMATOS 'defines' or
'delimits' how ARRABWNA is to be understood, since it is metaphorically

In Acts 1:10 however, I hardly see how POREUOMENOU AUTOU can be defining or
appositional to EIS TON OURANON. Again I really don't see any accounting
for it EXCEPT as a genitive absolute. Perhaps it would help to look at this
genitive absolute NOT as temporal (since that seems to be part of your
problem) but causal (genitive absolutes are always adverbial, I think it's
safe to say); the point of the statement is not so much "while they were
gazing at the sky while he was on the way" as "While they were gazing at
the sky, the reason being that he was departing ..." Certainly Luke could
even POREUOMENOS HN). But I don't think that the content of POREUOMENOU
AUTOU is really temporal so much as it is explanatory of the reason why the
disciples were gazing skywards (this despite my earlier endeavor to see it
as a parallel temporal clause). But I still can't see how it can fall into
an appositional/epexegetical type of genitive.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at

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