ECONTES in rom 8.23

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Mon Mar 25 07:58:35 EST 2002

At 3:01 AM -0500 3/25/02, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>> on 3/24/02 5:54 PM, Moon-Ryul Jung at moon at wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>> It seems that KAI AUTOI are emphatic, being repeated later in the
>> >>> My trouble is in understanding ECONTES. Is it adjectival, qualifying
>> >>> (or implied hHMEIS, which is explicit later in the sentence)? Or is it
>> >>> adverbial, modifying STENAZOMEN? Or does it have a function that I have
>> >>> overlooked?
>> >>> ============
>> >>>
>> >>> Steven Lo Vullo
>> >>> Madison, WI
>> >>> slovullo at
>> >>
>> >> ECONTES works as an adversative participle in this case (= although we
>> >> have).
>> >
>> > It seems that this interpretation is more specific than does the text
>> > allows.
>> > Steve's question should be clarified. What do you, Steve, mean by
>> > "qualifying
>> > AUTOI"? Most translations have "also ourselves, who have the first fruit
>> > of
>> > Spirit, ...". Here, "which have the first fruit of Spirit" does describe
>> > "ourselves", though not restrict what constitute "us" ["we" is already
>> > known in the context of the letter.]. I think this translation is good
>> > enough,
>> > with some ambiguity in terms of the logical relationship between ECONTES
>> > clause the main clause. But I am not sure which category (adjectival or
>> > adverbial) it belongs.
>> Hi Moon:
>> What I was basically driving at was whether ECONTES should be construed with
>> STENAZOMEN or with its subject. The reason for my inquiry is that, if we
>> take ECONTES as an adverbial modifier of STENAZOMEN, it opens up some
>> additional semantic options, such as what Manolis refers to as "adversative"
>> (which I would call "concessive") or, as I think Carl understands it,
>> causal. These senses are, of course, not native to the participle itself,
>> but must be discerned from the context.
>Becaue AUTOI need nFrom the viewpoint of language processing, i.e. hearing
>words from left to right, I would interpret the sentence as follows:
>Also ourselves - we have the first fruit of the spirit -
>Also  we ourselves groan within oursevles.
>So, I would like to construe the participial clause with the subject.
>The participial clause does not help determine the referent of AUTOI,
>because the referent is already determined, but it describes the referent
>further. Is there anything that prohibit my reading? Even if we construe
>the participial clause with the subject, we still can talk about
>the causal or concessive relationship between the participial clause
>and the main verb ("groan"). But my point is:  why should we
>construe the participial clause with the main verb? Is there any

Moon, you're perfectly within your rights to apply your understanding of
Linguistics as you see fit to describing the relationship between the
elements here, and others on this list certainly do that too. Nevertheless
some of "old fogies" who have learned and even continue to read Greek "the
old fashioned way" have found traditional grammatical categories
useful--and so, we distinguish two or three types of participial phrases,
(1) a clearly substantival sort commonly, even if not always, preceded by
an article, (2) an adjectival sort that really does clarify something
important to understand about a noun, pronoun or substantive, and that
often can be converted to a relative clause in the target language, and (3)
an adverbial sort commonly termed "circumstantial" that, although the
participle still is in agreement with a substantive, tends to indicate a
causal, temporal, concessive relationship between the main predicate and
the behavior of the subject. That's a very rough off-the-cuff division of
what is commonly taught in academic Greek classes. I personally think that
the ECONTES phrase here is adverbial and that it explains WHY "we too" feel
the labor pains of the new-age coming to birth just as the
universe-at-large suffers those labor pains. I don't think the ECONTES
phase is merely adjectival, and in fact I think that the KAI AUTOI EN
hEAUTOIS is "predicative" (another old-fashioned term used by traditional
grammarians) and to be construed adverbially with SUSTENAZOMEN rather than
as simple adjectival qualifiers of the subject of that verb.

Excuse me if this is too simplistic, but I find I still have to translate
the kind of a question that I THINK you're raising back into traditional
grammar because, as an ancient Athenian schoolboy might have said by way of
excuse, OU GINWSKW KIQARIZEIN, "I haven't yet learned how to play the
lyre--or the games that are played on it."

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

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