[B-Greek] "result" expressed by adverbial participles?

Margaret Sim margaret_sim at sil.org
Tue Apr 20 16:13:33 EDT 2010

Steve, Carl, Eddie Ladislav and the 'list',
This is a very good topic and the important of context in understanding the
relationship of the circumstantial participle to the main verb cannot be
stressed enough. I think it is worth thinking about the way in which
particles CONSTRAIN a logical relationship - in other words particles are
added when the reader or hearer might understand a relationship which the
author does not intend. One example for this would be Hebrews 5:8 in which 
KAIPER is added to block the more 'relevant' causal relationship. For the 
Graeco-Roman world the fact of being a son was a reason for learning by 
suffering! My point is that a particle is inserted to block other potential 
relationships, but when absent the reader may select one or more than one 
relationship which
seems relevant to him/her.

Margaret Sim
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Runge" <srunge at logos.com>
To: "'Eddie Mishoe'" <edmishoe at yahoo.com>; "Ladislav Tichy"
<ladislav.tichy at upol.cz>; "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
Cc: <B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 5:51 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] "result" expressed by adverbial participles?

> To Eddie, Ladislav and Carl,
> I think it would be useful to step back and look more broadly at the
> problem raised. Much attention is devoted to what the grammarians had to
> say, to the categories they postulated. However, little attention is given
> to their opening or closing remarks on the matter that often provide
> important caveats. Below is an extended quote from my "Discourse Grammar
> of the GNT." The footnotes are changed to parentheses to survive the
> purging of the server.
> --Begin block quote--
> Second, there is widespread acknowledgement that more specific verb forms
> were available that could have more specifically grammaticalized the
> relation of the participial action to the main verb it is dependent on. In
> other words, if the writer had wanted to be more specific about the
> relation to the main action, he had plenty of more specific options
> available than a participle.
> Funk makes this point commenting on circumstantial participles:
> For this construction, two finite verbs connected by καί would serve
> equally well, since the participle of attendant circumstance does not
> specify the relation between the action of the main verb and the attendant
> circumstance. (Robert W. Funk, Grammar of Hellenistic Greek, §846.8)
> The Greek circumstantial participle is therefore a less precise form of
> expression than corresponding subordinate clauses of time, condition,
> concession, etc. (ibid, §845.)
> MHT make a similar observation regarding participles of means, manner,
> etc.:
> These analogies are only adduced to show that the use of the participle
> always lay ready to hand, with or without the auxiliary verb, and was a
> natural resource whenever the ordinary indicative (or, less often,
> imperative) was for any cause set aside. (MHT 1, 224.)
> Robertson makes the same point in the form of a warning:
> In itself, it must be distinctly noted, the participle does not express
> time, manner, cause, purpose, condition or concession. These ideas are not
> in the participle, but are merely suggested by the context, if at all, or
> occasionally by a particle like ἅμα, εὐθύς, καίπερ, ποτέ, νῦν, ὡς. There
> is no necessity for one to use the circumstantial participle. If he wishes
> a more precise note of time, cause, condition, purpose, etc., the various
> subordinate clauses (and the infinitive) are at his command, besides the
> co-ordinate clauses. (Robertson, Grammar, 1124.)
> BDF affirm Robertson's assertion stating, “The logical relation of the
> circumstantial participle to the rest of the sentence is not expressed by
> the participle itself (apart from the future participle), but is to be
> deduced from the context; it can be made clear, however, by the addition
> of certain particles. Other more extended but more precise constructions
> are available for the same purpose: prepositional phrases, conditional,
> causal, temporal clauses, etc., and finally the grammatical co-ordination
> of two or more verbs” (§417).
> Wallace devotes the most time to classifying verbal participles into
> sub-categories, acknowledging at various points the overlap or ambiguity
> that exists in the classification. After describing all of these
> categories, he concludes with the following caveat: “Yet it should be
> stressed that the participle in itself means none of these ideas”.(Wallace,
> Greek Grammar, 638) These comments make clear that the concepts of means,
> manner, condition or time are not part of the semantic meaning of the
> participle, they are part of the semantics of the context. These concepts
> or relations (theoretically) would have been present whether a participle
> or a finite form had been used. In their absence, these relations are left
> implicit.
> The preoccupation with classification for the sake of translation has done
> much to distract attention from understanding the discourse function of
> the Greek participle. It is as though exegetes would have preferred an
> explicit hypotactic or paratactic marker that makes explicit the relation
> of the action to the main action. However, participles leave such
> relations implicit. Had the writer chosen to make them explicit, there are
> ample remedies available. The exegetical significance of this choice must
> not be overlooked. The propensity to assign classifications to the kind of
> participle seems driven by a desire to address the mismatch in usage
> between Greek and English by minimizing or eliminating it.
> --End Block quote--
> My point here is that Greek did not require the same degree of specificity
> as we are used to or perhaps prefer in English. Remember that English has
> constructions that allow imprecision just as Greek had constructions that
> allowed for more precision, as noted by the grammarians above. This
> "exegetical problem" about the kind of participle has more to do with
> differences between the languages than it does with classifying Greek
> participles. Knowing that the Greek writers had every ability to be more
> specific, had they wanted to, we must not overlook the fact that *they
> opted not to provide the detail we would have liked.* Yes, I am yelling
> here! We need to get over this. So our options are to either to conjecture
> what they meant to say had they spoken English, or to let the Greek be
> Greek instead Englishing it. This is where the wide reading and sense of
> the language comes in. Translation can sometimes be just as poor a
> metalanguage for communication as grammatical or linguistic jargon, IMHO.
> Steven E. Runge, DLitt
> Scholar-in-Residence
> Logos Bible Software
> srunge at logos.com
> www.logos.com
> www.ntdiscourse.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Eddie Mishoe
> Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:11 AM
> To: Ladislav Tichy; Carl Conrad
> Cc: B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] "result" expressed by adverbial participles?
> It almost seems like an obligation to defend Dr. Wallace's book GGBB, and
> I do think that Carl is well aware of our differences. I really do not
> think Wallace in his book under stresses the need to evaluate any
> word/phrase/clause in the context in which it appears.
> Secondly, Wallace is often faulted for explaining Greek nuances using
> English grammatical terms, but I'm really not sure what other way there is
> to communicate a second language.
> To address Carl's opening comment, "I think we've noted in other instances
> that Wallace's categories and
> subcategories are based upon interpretation of the context rather
> than on anything inherent in fundamental semantics of a construction."
> Here, Wallace is acknowledged for his use of the "context" to bring about
> nuances of the Greek construct. His "interpretation" is simply his
> explanation of the inter-relationship among context, words, phrases,
> grammar, syntax, semantics. Again, I know of no other way to explain a
> Greek text to a non-Greek speaker than his approach. And "Yes," I believe
> a native Greek mentally goes through what Wallace suggests, only as a
> native speaker s/he is able to do this in a nano-second or two.
> Carl knows as well as others who have paid attention to my previous
> comments out here that I think Carl's knowledge of Greek surpasses that of
> Wallace, and an other scholar. But for the life of me I just can't
> understand his comments about GGBB and Wallace's methodology. Explaining
> Greek concepts with English terms is perfectly legitimate and often the
> only way to teach a second language. Greeks had to determine if a
> participle was used as Purpose or Result; we do too. Wallace is simply
> explaining what is going on behind the scenes, in the mental processes of
> understand a text.
> So, I do believe that a native Greek speaker had to run through a list of
> adverbial participial functions to interpret correctly what was written or
> said. In other words, the native Greek guy goes through the categories and
> subcategories at a blinding mental speed, quite able intuitively to
> eliminate most categories in a moment's time, whereas those learning Greek
> have to go down the categories and subcategories line by line until you
> reach the level of a Wallace or Carl (I'm not omitting Buth or many
> others, I'm just using these two as examples).
> On this comment by Carl, "they seem designed to train the student to
> identify readily which
> category or subcategory of usage one has encountered and so avoid
> thinking through the contextual factors in every exegetical analysis"
> I think this statement fails to take the book as a whole. Nowhere does
> Wallace lead one to "avoid thinking through the contextual factors..."
> Wallace is simply putting the microscope on one aspect of grammatical
> analysis. This seems a bit unfair to say.
> Let me conclude that I've not found many who agree with my assessment of
> Wallace so take my comments with caution. Every time I have this exchange
> with Carl I feel like I am overlooking the obvious, that I'm
> misunderstanding something so basic as to preclude us from having a
> rational discussion over this. I really think what I am saying is simply
> Grammar 101; that is what is so perplexing to me.
> As I've said before, if you have to choose between my comments and Carl's,
> go with Carl... every time. You will be far better off. Obviously you can
> tell that I've found GGBB of great help to my understand of Greek, even
> thought I rate myself as a sophomore, a perpetual student who has few
> instincts when it comes to grasping grammar.
> Eddie Mishoe
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