[B-Greek] Genitive Absolute - a fresh look

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 1 14:12:20 EST 2006


On Nov 1, 2006, at 9:22 AM, Elizabeth Kline wrote:

> I am not convinced that a fronted genitive participle construction is
> more prominent  ...

It might be better to simply rest with the idea that fronted genitive  
participle constructions (subsequently GPC) are a narrative  
transition device without introducing the idea of relative  
prominence. First of all we need to ask, prominent in relation to what?

Fuller states:
"The use of the Genitive Construction (GC) is often a grammatical
strategy for bringing an element of background information into
prominence as a piece of necessary prior knowledge, and alerting the  
reader
that this information is important for understanding the impact of the
rest of the sentence or even the paragraph or discourse."

Fuller appears to be suggesting that a GPC marks information as  
prominent relative to other information within the narrative segment.  
She also appears to be suggesting that the use of the genitive  
participle makes the construction more prominent than similar  
constructions in other cases. Lets examine the first claim that a GPC  
marks information as prominent relative to other information with the  
narrative segment.

MATT. 26:26 ESQIONTWN DE AUTWN LABWN hO IHSOUS ARTON KAI EULOGHSAS  
EKLASEN KAI DOUS TOIS MAQHTAIS EIPEN: LABETE FAGETE, TOUTO ESTIN TO  
SWMA MOU.

Is ESQIONTWN DE AUTWN particularly crucial or new information? It  
doesn't seem like it. We already know that they are having a meal.   
The following LABWN hO IHSOUS ARTON is both new and more significant.

MARK 10:17 KAI EKPOREUOMENOU AUTOU EIS hODON PROSDRAMWN hEIS KAI  
GONUPETHSAS AUTON EPHRWTA AUTON: DIDASKALE AGAQE, TI POIHSW hINA ZWHN  
AIWNION KLHRONOMHSW;

Here EKPOREUOMENOU AUTOU EIS hODON provides a transition and gives  
information required to make sense out of PROSDRAMWN hEIS. The GPC is  
important as a framing device but since Jesus is regularly found  
EKPOREUOMENOU EIS hODON it hardly qualifies as prominent or  
significant news.

LUKE 4:42 GENOMENHS DE hHMERAS EXELQWN EPOREUQH EIS ERHMON TOPON: KAI  
hOI OCLOI EPEZHTOUN AUTON KAI HLQON hEWS AUTOU KAI KATEICON AUTON TOU  
MH POREUESQAI AP' AUTWN.

GENOMENHS DE hHMERAS anchors the scene in the narrative sequence.  
Other than that the information isn't a prominent aspect of the story.

ACTS 14:20 KUKLWSANTWN DE TWN MAQHTWN AUTON ANASTAS EISHLQEN EIS THN  
POLIN. KAI THi EPAURION EXHLQEN SUN TWi BARNABAi EIS DERBHN.

Here is an example where the GPC introduces a highly significant  
aspect of the story. KUKLWSANTWN DE TWN MAQHTWN doesn't introduce a  
new scene but it does announce a significant transition, moving from  
one location to another.

ACTS 23:12 GENOMENHS DE hHMERAS POIHSANTES SUSTROFHN hOI IOUDAIOI  
ANEQEMATISAN hEAUTOUS LEGONTES MHTE FAGEIN MHTE PIEIN hEWS hOU  
APOKTEINWSIN TON PAULON.

Again the GPC is a temporal marker, otherwise not crucial to the story.


I included the ACTS 14:20 to illustrate what I would consider a GPC  
with significant information prominence, the other GPC examples do  
not appear to highlight anything in the story.

Prominence is a subjective attribute which is very difficult to prove  
one way or another without a lot of rigorous qualification. Take for  
example the ongoing argument about fronted constituents.




Elizabeth Kline







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