[B-Greek] Dative participial clauses
iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Jul 3 03:44:41 EDT 2007
Thank you, Carl, for your comments. I was waiting for comments from others, but let me try to round
off from my perspective. I have kept the examples and some of your comments in this post below.
I did not use the term "dative absolute" because I don't think it is helpful, nor do I like the term
I use the term participial clause rather than participial phrase, because we are dealing with a
clause in terms of normal linguistic descriptions. It has a nuclear verb, expressed through a
participle, plus an implicit or explicit subject and sometimes an object and other elements.
These participial clauses are all dependent on and precede the main clause, because they in some way
or other describe the setting for the main clause.
I have never come across a participial clause in the accusative as a setting, but the clauses are
common in both nominative, genitive and dative, with dative being the least common.
When the participle (and subject) is in the nominative, the subject of the participle is the same as
the subject in the main clause. In the two other cases, the subject in the participial clause is
different from the subject of the main clause. The subject would be genitive if the participle is
genitive and dative if the participle is dative.
In the case of a dative participial clause, there is a strong connection to a dative element
(object) in the main clause, and this may well be the reason that the dative is used rather than the
genitive. On the other hand, these dative participial clauses apparently always indicate the time
setting for the main clause, and time is often indicated by a dative. We have seen one example of
such a time clause where there is no dative object in the main clause to govern the dative (Mat
14:6). I am inclined to agree with Carl that the dative participial clauses anticipate the dative
nominal (whether explicit or implicit) in the main clause, but what I find of greater interest is
trying to describe the function of the fronted participial clauses relative to the main clause. That
the subordinate clause occurs before the main clause indicates that it sets the scene. The
nominative part. clause sets the scene in terms of what the subject of the main clause has already
done (or is doing). The genitive part. clause sets the scene in general terms of important and
relevant background information. It is a kind of circumstantial genitive. The dative part. clause
sets the scene in terms of time - what the dative object has just been doing or is doing (or what
has happened to it). The relative time between the participial verb and the main verb is indicated
by the tense of the participle, which would usually be aorist, but at times present.
These are my present thoughts. I would certainly welcome a thorough analysis going beyond the GNT,
but this is beyond my time resources at the moment.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
> Mark 16:9 Ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου
> ANASTAS DE PRWI PRWTHi SABBATOU
> [Jesus] having arisen early on the first [day] of the week
> ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ
> EFANH PRWTON MARIAi THi MAGDALHNHi
> he first of all revealed himself to Mary Magdalene
> Mark 16:12 Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν ἐφανερώθη
> META DE TAUTA DUSIN EX AUTWN PERIPATOUSIN EFANERWQH
> After these things he showed himself to two of them who were walking along
> ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν·
> EN hETERA MORFHi POREUOMENOIS EIS AGRON
> in a different form [and] who were walking towards the countryside.
"into the countryside"?
> Mark 16:14 Ὕστερον [δὲ] ἀνακειμένοις αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἕνδεκα ἐφανερώθη
> hUSTERON DE ANAKEIMENOIS AUTOIS TOIS hENDEKA EFANERWQH
> Later he showed himself to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table.
> Mat 8:23 Καὶ ἐμβάντι αὐτῷ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον
> KAI EMBANTI AUTWi EIS TO PLOION
> And after he had entered the boat,
> ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ
> HKOLOUQHSAN AUTWi hOI MAQHTAI AUTOU
> his disciples followed/joined him
This too I would understand as another instance of the dative
participial phrase/clause preceding a verb that construes with a
dative complement. I admit that the second AUTWi is superfluous, but
it is the sort of superfluous pronoun that is not so uncommon in the
LXX. My inclination here would be to explain the construction as a
dative participial phrase/clause employed where otherwise a geniive
absolute would have been used -- the dative chosen PRECISELY BECAUSE
the speaker/writer is aware that a verb requiring a dative complement
will follow. The second AUTWi is superflous, but I don't think it
requires us to understand EMBANTI AUTWi EIS TO PLOION as a "dative
> Mat 9:27 Καὶ παράγοντι ἐκεῖθεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ
> KAI PARAGONTI EKEIQEN TWi IHSOU
> And as Jesus was on his way away from there,
> ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ δύο τυφλοὶ κράζοντες καὶ λέγοντες
> HKOLOUQHSAN AUTWi DUO TUFLOI KRAZONTES KAI LEGONTES
> two blind men who were shouting and who were saying... followed him.
> Mat 9:28 ἐλθόντι δὲ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν
> ELQONTI DE EIS THN OIKIAN
> But after he had entered the house
> προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ τυφλοί
> PROSHLQON AUTWi hOI TUFLOI
> the blind [people] came up to him
> Mat 14:6 Γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου
> GENESIOIS DE GENOMENOIS TOU hHRWDOU
> When Herod's birthday celebrations had come around,
> ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ... καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ
> WRCHSATO hH QUGATHR THS hHRWiDIADOS..KAI HRESEN TWi hERWDHi
> the daughter of Herodias danced... and it pleased Herod
This is the single really problematic text, and yes, HRESEN must
construe with TWi hHRWDHi. I do indeed think that this is based on
Mark 6:21, but I would sooner undrestand this as a dative of time
when with a circumstantial participle: "at Herod's birthday
celebration, when it came round, Herodias' daughter danced ..."
I would guess that the evangelist did have in mind the same sort of
construction as in 8:23, 9:27 and 9:28; it may be that he was aware
at the outset that he intended to use the verb HRESEN and so chose to
introduce the sentence with a dative noun and a participle in the
dative. Unquestionably the phrase/clause here functions as does a
gentiive absolute in that it cannot be made to construe with the main
clause syntactically. I think that happens sometimes as it does when
we are composing e-mail: anacoluthon as a consequence of changing
grammatical horses before formulating in mind the sequential parts
of a sentence.
> Lk 8:27 ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν
> EXELQONTI DE AUTWi EPI THN GHN
> As he came out (from the boat) onto the land
> ὑπήντησεν [αὐτῷ] ἀνήρ τις
> hUPHNTHSEN [AUTWi] ANHR TIS
> a certain man came up to him
> Luke 17:7 Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα ἢ ποιμαίνοντα,
> TIS DE EX hUMWN DOULON ECWN AROTRIWNTA H POIMAINONTA
> Who of you who has a slave who has been plowing and tending sheep,
> ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ
> hOS EISELQONTI EK TOU AGROU EREI AUTWi
> who as he [the slave] has come in from the field, will say to him?
> Act 7:26 τῇ τε ἐπιούσῃ ἡμέρᾳ ὤφθη αὐτοῖς μαχομένοις
> THi TE EPIOUSHi hHMERAi WFQH AUTOIS MACOMENOIS
> On the next day he showed himself to them as they were fighting.
> This is different, but I find it interesting that the temporal setting is in the dative.
But the use of the locative dative to indicate a temporal setting is
> Act 28:10 καὶ ἀναγομένοις ἐπέθεντο τὰ πρὸς τὰς χρείας
> KAI ANAGOMENOIS EPEQENTO TA PROS TAS CREIAS
> And as (we) were setting out to sea they presented (us) with the things for our needs
> Here there is no hHMIN in the text, although it must be understood as an implied object for the
> verb. There is a hHMAS in the preceding context which is pragmatically carried forward.
Here I must agree that hHMIN is implicit, and it's also the case here
that EPEQENTO "expects" a dative complement.
I think it would be worth investigating the frequency of dative
nominal + participial phrases/clauses with verbs construed with
dative complements in Greek literature or at least in Hellenistic
literature (beyond the GNT!). As I argued when I first discussed the
problem of Luke 5:1, I also think this is a common construction in
Latin prose. The instance I was trying to think of a few days ago was
the very opening of Cicero's De Oratore (1.1): "Cogitanti mihi saepe
numero et memoria vetera repetenti perbeati fuisse, Quinte frater,
illi videri solent, qui ... " (Often as I ponder and recollect olden
days, those men tend to seem to me profoundly blessed, who ... ").
Here note that the MIHI with with COGITANTI and REPETENTI construe
ultimately depends upon the verbal phrase VIDERI SOLENT: "they tend
to seem to me when I ponder ... "
Carl W. Conrad
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