Re: Acts 4:23-37, several questions

Carl W. Conrad (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 05:37:54 -0600

At 10:12 PM -0600 12/17/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Chapter 34: In which the Little Greek insists that he knows what a genitive
>absolute is and wonders out loud what the term nominative absolute means
>anyways, but he is sure he has heard it somewhere....

Wie es einmal gesagt ward, "well begun is half done!"

>At 05:43 AM 12/17/96 -0600, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>>At 10:25 PM -0600 12/16/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>>>OK, it is a genitive aorist participle, but what does that mean? Zerwick'=
>>>Grammatical Analysis has a terse reference to "absolute of prayer, geniti=
>>>absolute". How is this phrase to be understood?
>>Jonathan, how could you!? After all that earlier discussion of genitive
>>absolutes (and even some talk about them yesterday)? This is simply "as
>>they prayed."
>But Carl, I *know* what a genitive absolute is and how it would be
>interpreted. I just have absolutely *no* idea what an "absolute of prayer"

=46irst: my apologies for misunderstanding the intent of your question. Well=
for one thing, it's not a classification of Greek constructions (at least,
I certainly hope that nobody has added it to a textbook of syntax! What
Zerwick MAY be talking about is that Luke has a characteristic mode of
noting in narrative that such and such an action takes place during or
after the party or parties have been engaging in prayer, and the genitive
absolute is his most common means for this: e.g. Lk 3.21 KAI KHSOU
BAPTISQENTOS KAI PROSEUXOMENOU. If I recall rightly, I think some of these
in Acts were in the list that you started by searching for genitive
participles when we first talked about genitive absolutes.

>>>Acts 4:34 PWLOUNTES
>>>Is this a nominative absolute?
>>Let us not even speak of such things as nominative absolutes!
>I'm not quite sure what the phrase means, frankly. I know what a genitive
>absolute is, and if I pretended that this were genitive rather than
>nominative, it would make good sense if I treated it as a genitive absolute=
>"selling (them), they brought...". I thought I had heard the term
>"nominative absolute" somewhere, so...well, what *is* a nominative absolute=

=46undamentally, it is a misnomer for a detached noun phrase that has no
predicate. My stomach protests against the term! You will have seen
yeserday afternoon's exchange between A.K.M. Adam and myself on this topic,
so I'll say no more if I can avoid it.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR