[B-Greek] Dative participial clauses

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Jul 4 11:35:16 EDT 2007

With regard to the dative and genitive of time, the traditional  
grammars all note, I think, that the dative (and it is a locative  
dative, rather than instrumental-sociative or true dative) is used  
for time at which, sometimes with EN or EPI, and that the genitive is  
used of time within which, sometimes with DIA.

I agree that a study of dative participial clauses is worth  
undertaking; I rather doubt that they're restricted to noting the  
time, but a wider query should be made, and it should, I think,  
investigate a much broader corpus than the GNT and would do well to  
consider influence of Latin prose usage.

Carl W. Conrad

On Jul 4, 2007, at 8:48 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:

> Form Iver Larsen, comments below:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
> To: "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at sil.org>
> On Jul 3, 2007, at 3:44 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:
>> I did not use the term "dative absolute" because I don't think it   
>> is helpful,
>> nor do I like the term
>> "genitive absolute".
> I noticed that you didn't; the reason I used it for the clauses you
> listed was that you seemed to be arguing that the dative participles
> and nominals  of those clauses were independent syntactically from
> the main clause; my observation that they more likely ARE linked
> syntactically with main-clause verbs taking dative complements was
> intended to counter that claim of syntactic detachment.
> Iver: That was one of the things I was investigating, but only one  
> instance was
> clearly detached, so I ended up by agreeing with you that the  
> dative is probably
> used because it anticipates a dative object in the main clause.
> Carl:
> On the other hand I would readily grant that these dative participial
> clauses do function in the same manner as "genitive absolute" clauses
> in that they precede the main clause and that they are fundamentally
> circumstantial -- adverbial. I'm not so sure that they are
> necessarily temporal only (I rather doubt it, and I doubt that the
> temporal function of the locative dative has anything to do with
> employment of that case for the nominal and participle); as I noted
> in my last post, I really think that this matter deserves a fuller
> investigation beyond the Biblical corpus into Hellenistic prose --
> and I think that such a study ought also to take into account older
> Classical Greek usage as well as Classical Latin prose usage, which
> may very well have influenced those NT writers who had some schooling.
> Iver: The dative case is much more than locative as you know. It  
> struck me when
> I looked at all the fronted dative participial clauses in the GNT  
> that they were
> all temporal. I am not sure whether this is a coincidence, but it  
> needs further
> investigation.
> Yesterday I was looking at two adjacent adverbial phrases in Luk 24:1:
> (On the first day of the week during deep early morning...)
> The temporal dative points to a particular point in time, here a  
> day, whereas
> the circumstantial genitive describes the environment.
> The genitive (and at times the accusative) seems to be used for a  
> time period -
> and DIA could be used to indicate the same idea. It is not  
> pinpointing a
> specific time. For instance:
> (...during day and night - or: whether day or night)
> It seems to me that the temporal dative is "on" or "at" a specific  
> time (related
> to EN) whereas the genitive is during a time period (related to DIA).
> Carl:
> Upon consulting Smyth I find one participial clause in the dative
> cataloged among the circumstantial participial usages; this is pretty
> much like the ones we've reviewed in the GNT:
> "§2061 Time. -- The time denoted by the participle is only relative
> to that of the governing verb, and is to be inferred from the
> context. Each participial form in itself expresses only stage of
> action. ἀκούσασι τοῖς στρατηγοῖς
> ταῦτα ἔδοξε τὸ στράτευμα συναγαγεῖν
> hearing this it seemed best to the generals to collect the troops."
> Xenophon, Anabasis 4, 4.19."
> To which I'd note that I don't really know why this should be
> classified as especially temporal, other than the fact that the
> hearing precedes the decision of the commanders; one might as easily
> see this as causal: "Hearing that made the commanders decide to
> gather the troops." I think we might just stick with the catch-all
> adjective, "circumstantial."
> Iver: On the other hand, I could easily see this as temporal and  
> Smyth has
> apparently classified this under time (§2061 Time). "As soon as the  
> generals
> heard this..."
> What I am investigating is whether it would be reasonable to call  
> the genitive
> absolutes "circumstantial participial clauses" and the dative  
> constructions for
> "temporal participial clauses".
> Iver Larsen
> ---
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