[B-Greek] Understanding tense of participles?

kgraham0938 at comcast.net kgraham0938 at comcast.net
Fri Nov 11 22:42:57 EST 2005


> Can you unpack that a bit more please? Particularly substantive vs aspect vs 
> temporal? What is the distinct meaning (if any) of tense with substantives? 

Response: I'll try. My understainding is a substantive use of a participle is when a participle functions like a substantive.  In otherwords it can go anywhere a noun can go. i.e. subject, object, direct object etc. usually these things have an article attached to the participle, like in Rev 4:3 hO KAQHMENOS = the one who sits on the throne.

Aspect usually answers "what kind of action." For instance in the imperfect tense a verb can be iterative, ingressive etc.  All this points to "what kind of action."  When a participle functions as a substantive (depending on the verb) some of that aspect can be lost, for some verbs it remains.  I guess that would depend on the verbs Aktionsart from what I can tell.

Temporal is usually answering the question "when" this is what you mentioned earlier when you asked about how the participle relates to the main verb. Normally when you have an adverbial (but not always) participle it's case will be nominative and is always anarthorous (without the article).

Hope that helps.
> I suspect that with participles, temporal senses are more up for grabs, and 
> aspect is more important. Also with substantives. Eg in Rev 20:4, perfect is 
> used because of completed action, not past occurance; Heb 4:3 aorist is used 
> because of point-in-time action of having believed, not because of past 
> occurance. 
> Another case in point that I am wondering about is present participle in Heb 
> 10:14 TOUS hAGIAZOMENOUS. I suspect it is not about present in time 
> directly. Maybe it is a contrast with the perfect of TETELEIWKEN, regarding 
> a continuing action of hAGIAZOMENOUS ('There is a sense in which those who 
> are imperfect are actually considered perfect', something like that). 
> Whether this means people who at the time or writing were hAGIAZOMENOUS, or 
> whether people at any time (past, present or future) who were hAGIAZOMENOUS, 
> becomes then a question of interpretation not Greek tense. What do you 
> think? 
> Thanks for helping me try to understand tense and participles! 
> -- 
> Craig Johnson 
> Brisbane, Australia 

Kelton Graham 
KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net

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