KAI LEGWN--epexegetical KAI?

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Mon Jan 28 06:58:07 EST 2002

> I am working with Mk 1:14-15:
> I would like to consider two aspects of the six Mt-Mk usages, all of which
> follow the same pattern.
> First, and this is the issue of greater interest to me, could the usage of
> KAI be understood as explicative/epexegetical in these cases? In other
> words, is KAI LEGWN a sort a marker for the *content* of the
> KHPUSSWN or the PARAKALWN? This would seem to be the case because
participles such as
> KHRUSSWN and LEGWN are not simply coordinate; rather KAI LEGWN is
> adverbial, introducing the direct discourse that is the content of the
proclaiming or
> beseeching or whatever. This usage would not be the equivalent of the
> asyndetonic (is that a word?) and adverbial LEGWN, which is nearly a
> quotation mark and often redundant. Does this interpretation seem
> plausible or likely, or I am being overly-analytical? (Although Jn 7:28
does not
> conform to the Mt-Mk pattern, I think the KAI LEGWN is working
> the same way since it follows two verbs of communication.)

Let me toss some aspects into this that I find helpful.

First, I believe there is Semitic influence behind many if not all of these
expressions. That is why they are most common in Matthew and Mark.

Second, in Semitic thought pattern it is common first to mention a generic
concept and then follow it with one or more specific aspects of what is
covered by the generic word or phrase or clause. This may be easiest to see
in some of the examples Clay quoted. For instance, in Mark 15:29 "shaking
the head" and "saying: (insulting words)" are specific aspects of the
general concept of BLASFHMEW. This also touches on Clay's comment that the
specific expression may not be all inclusive of the content, but rather an
example of it or a reference to the most important aspect of something much
larger. In your example above, KHRUSSEIN TO EUAGGELION TOU QEOU is the
general concept, followed by the specific example or summary of the main
point of the Gospel.

Third, Semitic languages often have pairs like "answer and say", "shout and
say" where the "say" basically functions as a quote introducer. It may be
related to the generic-specific restatement where a generic word is paired
with a more specific one.

Fourth, you are right in saying that KAI is not always coordinate. I prefer
to think of KAI as "additive". The two conjoined concepts may not be on the
same level and therefore not be coordinate in our sense of the word. But the
KAI adds something. That something is often part of the first concept which
it is joined to. We discussed this some time ago in phrases like "The
apostles and Peter" where Peter is a specific example of one of the
apostles, or a member of a set, to use mathematical terms.
> Secondly, I would like to understand the participles that follow the main
> verb as telic. The agents do not 'appear (in), come forward (to) or fall
> (down upon)' a certain place *as* they are 'proclaiming, beseeching or
> praying', but do so *in order to* 'proclaim, beseech or pray'.
> If my attempt at understanding these passages is not misled, I
> would like to propose a translation (using Mk 1:14 as an example) such as:
> after John was handed over, Jesus came into Galilee in order to proclaim
> gospel of God and this is what he was saying: The time, etc." [I should
note that in
> the two passages that have KHRUSSWN (Mt 3:1 and Mk 1:4), the context seems
> to indicate an ongoing proclamation and LEGWN is rendered according to the
> aspectually imperfect nature of the activity. The other cases narrate
> one-time events and, in my interpretation of these passages, KAI
> LEGWN would have to be translated by something like "and this is what he
said:"] I
> realize that B-Greek is not a translation list but I am providing
> translations in order to better convey my proposed interpretation of the
> Greek of these passages.

I would say this is going too far, and not necessary. Since KHRUSSWN is a
present participle, it gives further information about an activity more or
less simultaneous to the main verb HLQEN. LEGWN then gives further
If I look beyond the Greek grammar for a moment to the underlying Semitic
thought pattern, I see a three-piece generic-specific train. First: He came
to Galilee. Second: More specifically, he was proclaiming the Gospel when he
came. Third: More specifically, he basically said this while proclaiming the

There is an implicit purpose in the text, but I do not think that this
purpose is expressed in the grammar the way you suggest. There are several
ways to express purpose in Greek, but I don't see any of them here. One
could argue that Semitic KAI may support a purpose connection, but even so,
the purpose would be derived from the whole context, not the grammar as

Iver Larsen

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