Re: Accusative Absolute

Carl W. Conrad (
Mon, 20 Jan 1997 12:43:25 -0600

At 7:58 AM -0600 1/20/97, Randy Leedy wrote:
> . . . Carlton's example
>from Acts 26:3 (GNWSTHN ONTA SE), though, sure looks to me like an
>incontrovertible instance. I don't think I've seen Carl's alternative
>explanation of that one yet, and even Carlton stopped short of
>calling it the real McCoy. I apologize if in my haste I'm forgetting
>something that's already appeared on the list, but I'm not yet ready
>to give up the Accusative Absolute as a valid NT category of usage,
>and I won't until I see all the potential examples explained

Here's the snippet rom my original response to that item in Carlton's reply
on the 1 Peter passage:

Carlton wrote:

>>No, no. Its in apposition to the pronoun hON. The closest thing to an
>>accusative absolute in the NT would be maybe Acts 26:3 GNWSTHN ONTA, "sinc=
>>you are an expert about . . ."

I replied:

>I agree that this is closer and I agree with Carlton about what it must
>mean, but regarding its structural linkage to the rest of the sentence, I
>think I would make it dependent upon hHGHMAI in vs. 2 and parallel to the
>first object of hHGHMAI, EMAUTON MAKARION--"I deem myself fortunate
>..."--and then, "(because I deem) you especially knowledgeable about ... "

And finally:
At 6:54 AM -0600 1/18/97, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>What IS an accusative absolute--at least in origin--is to be found once in
>"I'll take up residence with you, should the contingency arise, or even
>pass the winter with you..." Here we actually have the neuter accusative
>aorist participle of TUGCANW used impersonally functioning independently of
>these two 1 sg. future tense main verbs; probably, although I don't have an
>LSJ at home with me to be able to tell whether it's so, this TUCON has
>become another adverbial expression meaning "maybe." But it originated as
>an accusative absolute of the sort seen in classical Attic, translatable in
>very crudely literal English as "it chancing."

Apart from this TUCON, which probably ought really to be understood as an
adverb in this instance, I don't see anything in the NT that may
legitimately be called an accusative absolute.

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