pariphrastic constructions

Mike Phillips (
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 09:19:40 -0700

Thanks for all the valuable exchange regarding pariphrastics pertaining
to Mar 1:6 -- I tend to agree that the sense of the narrative, i.e., an opening
description of John, supports (sensibly) the use of both participles here as
pariphrastic constructions. The first, as a pluperfect, concerning his
garments (he wore or he clothed himself -- I would tend toward a middle form,
though given previous discussion, I'm not sure if the question re: middle v.
passive wasn't a bit tongue in cheek <grin>); the second, as an imperfect,
suggesting his habitual meal(s). It occurs to me that the alternative view --
apparently preferred by 9 in 10 grammarians -- that we have a single
pariphrastic (if any), is more difficult to read logically, i.e., he wore /
eating (stiff or unusual at best) vs. he wore / ate (using an imperfect
pariphrastic sense). However, this may have to do with the ongoing discussion
re: tense and aspect, that is, what feels stiff to me as a Hoosier, might not
have felt 'bent' to an ancient speaker / writer / hearer of Greek.
At any rate, I want to say that if I don't respond to all the valuable
input, it's because I don't wish to interrupt -- not because I haven't been
listening. I hope you can all imagine my 'counseler's nod and hum' (to use a
pastoral care term) as you pen your replies.


Mike Phillips

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging;
it is the skin of living thought and changes from day
to day as does the air around us. - Oliver Wendell Holmes