[B-Greek] Participles in 1 John

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Apr 19 15:08:53 EDT 2006

On Apr 19, 2006, at 11:52 AM, Mike Sangrey wrote:

> On Wed, 2006-04-19 at 10:17 -0400, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> On Apr 19, 2006, at 9:35 AM, Perry L. Stepp wrote:
>>> Perhaps I've missed something in my haste, but I've just done a
>>> quick survey of all the participles in 1 John.
>>> Are ALL the participles in 1 John adjectival?  I didn't find a
>>> circumstantial / adverbial participle in the bunch.
>> This question certainly made me wonder whether it could be true. But
>> in fact the overwhelming majority of participles in 1 John are
>> substantival (e.g. hO PISTEUWN, TON AGAPWNTA, and the like). of the
>> 58 instances, I found only four about which one might ask further
>> questions; all of these are in the accusative and indicate a
>> predication about the direct object of the verb...
> I don't want to yank the thread in a different direction, but this
> brought up something I think might be related.
> Would such a consistent use bear an indication that the author was
> writing to an audience who read (or heard) Greek at a fairly low  
> level?
> If I would word this question for a modern audience, I would have  
> asked,
> "Does this indicate a low reading grade level?"

"Johannine Ethics for Dummies"? Unquestionably it is relatively easy  
reading within the GNT corpus (so is the gospel of John, of course).  
But in my opinion, for what it's worth, the preponderance of  
substantival participles here has more to do with the NATURE of the  
discourse as one that is consructed largely upon descriptions of  
characteristic behaviors of those who do and those who do not do what  
is consistent with their faith-commitment. Regardless whether one  
understands this text fundamentally in terms of differentiating the  
behavior suited to those who have remained in the community from  
those who have left it, there certainly seems to be a focus upon  
delineation of the differences between two groups of persons.  
Moreover, I really think the circumstantial participles are more  
likely to be seen in narrative. But that may be less valid than it  
appears; there certainly are lots of circumstantial participles in  
the opening of Ephesians, many of them difficult to explain very  
convincingly, such that they seem to me to be like the conventional  
"dangling" participle of questionable English style.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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