Must a participle have a finite main verb?

RandallButh
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by RandallButh » May 3rd, 2015, 1:50 am

Personally, I think that people are reading too much into the Greek, or maybe better said, reading it backwards.

Instead of worrying about a periphrastic pluperfect, one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb. Luke has demoted the clause because it is a background description.

In a fuller perspective it shows the difference between Hebrew and Greek.
Gen 18:11 and 24:1 and Josh 13:1, et al. show where the idiom is coming from. In Gen 18:1 the Hebrew has a participle and this is correctly handled in the LXX with προβεβηκοτες, because the Greek must make an aspectual choice that was not open to the Hebrew. Greek was very sensitive to aspect, Hebrew was NOT sensitive to aspect (sometimes the opposite of what Hebrew students are told). By the way, Josh 13:1b is specifically a finite verb in Hebrew, and translated woodenly in Greek προβεβηκας.

And yes, I do think that there was a Hebrew source to Luke 1 and 2, which fits with this idiom but is not proven by this idiom.

For stronger evidence one looks at the Hebrew poetic idiom of tense change at 1:46 or the mismatched vocabulary choice in 1:23, 57, 2:6. In LXX Greek time is επληρωθη but not επλησθη. επλησθη is primarily for spatial fillling. This is what we call a non-Septuagintal Hebraism. Luke shows a Hebrew idiom but does not use LXX vocabulary, he even goes against the grain. It only takes a few of these sprinkled in a document to make people aware that the other Hebraisms must first be considered as evidence of a source rather than a style of "imitating the LXX". Luke generally smoothed out Hebraisms in his gospel rather than add them "imitate the LXX". With επλησθη, presumably from a Heb2Greek-translated source for Luke, he didn't smooth things out enough and we detect the non-LXX source.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » May 3rd, 2015, 5:01 pm

Randall Buth wrote: Personally, I think that people are reading too much into the Greek, or maybe better said, reading it backwards.

Instead of worrying about a periphrastic pluperfect, one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb. Luke has demoted the clause because it is a background description.
If Luke had adopted the language of his source, I think I would agree with you. But he has actually changed that construction quite substantially.

First though, as I’ve said above, the fact that Luke has chosen a participle does not by itself mean that he has “demoted the clause”. Look for example at the following Lukan periphrastic pluperfects: Lk 2:26 ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον; Lk 8:2 αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι; Lk 9:45 ἦν παρακεκαλυμμένον; and Lk 15:24 ἦν ἀπολωλὼς. In all of these instances the participle is not used to demote the clause and, in fact, I would argue that the structure is used to emphasize the clause.

Then as to how Luke has structured his sentence in 2:36, it is quite different than any of the 3 LXX examples cited – which certainly would appear to be his source. In each of those instances, the writer has used “προβεβηκότες ἡμερῶν” (once with the article) simply to expand on the adjective “πρεσβύτερος”. Thus he/they were “old, (that is) advanced in years.” Luke however has removed the adjective, added “πολλαῖς” and, most significantly, assembled 3 parallel references to Ἅννα, so that his sentence(s) reads:

Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα ----Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς ----vs. 37: καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ---“

Nestle Aland was right to put a full stop after “Ἀσήρ”. The sentence structure demands it. The entire topic of Anna and Simeon is background, of course, to the appearance of Mary and Joseph with the child in the temple, but within this passage I see Luke structuring his sentence(s) to highlight the fact about Anna’s age. The “αὕτη” before “προβεβηκυῖα” especially, and the addition of “πολλαῖς” to Luke’s description (as opposed to his source) is not calculated to demote the clause but rather, is Luke’s way of introducing 3 independent clauses/sentences to develop his characterization of Anna.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 3rd, 2015, 5:43 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Randall Buth wrote: Personally, I think that people are reading too much into the Greek, or maybe better said, reading it backwards.

Instead of worrying about a periphrastic pluperfect, one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb. Luke has demoted the clause because it is a background description.
If Luke had adopted the language of his source, I think I would agree with you. But he has actually changed that construction quite substantially.

First though, as I’ve said above, the fact that Luke has chosen a participle does not by itself mean that he has “demoted the clause”. Look for example at the following Lukan periphrastic pluperfects: Lk 2:26 ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον; Lk 8:2 αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι; Lk 9:45 ἦν παρακεκαλυμμένον; and Lk 15:24 ἦν ἀπολωλὼς. In all of these instances the participle is not used to demote the clause and, in fact, I would argue that the structure is used to emphasize the clause.
Uhh... the claim is not about the mere choosing of a participle as if that means something "by itself," but the choice to use a participle instead of a finite verb ("one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb"). The periphrastics have a finite verb component, and are therefore not to the point.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » May 3rd, 2015, 6:28 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Uhh... the claim is not about the mere choosing of a participle as if that means something "by itself," but the choice to use a participle instead of a finite verb ("one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb"). The periphrastics have a finite verb component, and are therefore not to the point.
Well, actually, I think the periphrastic question is very much to the point. The whole discussion is whether Luke intends us to assume "ἦν" to go with both instances of αὕτη. If he does, which is what Culy suggests and I think the structure calls for, then you don't have a participle but a periphrasis ("finite component"), to use your language, and 'one should NOT notice that it is a participle'.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 3rd, 2015, 6:40 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Uhh... the claim is not about the mere choosing of a participle as if that means something "by itself," but the choice to use a participle instead of a finite verb ("one should notice that it is a participle, not a finite verb"). The periphrastics have a finite verb component, and are therefore not to the point.
Well, actually, I think the periphrastic question is very much to the point. The whole discussion is whether Luke intends us to assume "ἦν" to go with both instances of αὕτη. If he does, which is what Culy suggests and I think the structure calls for, then you don't have a participle but a periphrasis ("finite component"), to use your language, and 'one should NOT notice that it is a participle'.
I think Culy is trying to help beginners think about the clause syntactically, but Buth is better here on the discourse pragmatics. The fact is, if Luke wanted to be explicit about the ἦν, he had that choice and could easily have done so by including the word, but did not. Choice implies meaning. Culy does not explain Luke's choice; Buth does.
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RandallButh
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by RandallButh » May 4th, 2015, 12:10 am

First though, as I’ve said above, the fact that Luke has chosen a participle does not by itself mean that he has “demoted the clause”. Look for example at the following Lukan periphrastic pluperfects: Lk 2:26 ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον; Lk 8:2 αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι; Lk 9:45 ἦν παρακεκαλυμμένον; and Lk 15:24 ἦν ἀπολωλὼς. In all of these instances the participle is not used to demote the clause and, in fact, I would argue that the structure is used to emphasize the clause.
Thomas, I think that we are talking about different things. In discourse analysis, material is divided between the structural events of a story and the descriptive material that is hung on that structure.

He did A he did B he did C can be called a foregrounded structure, the main structural events of a story. "Being very old he did A and while going up to the city he did B and in order to be happy he did C" shows that structure with backgrounded material. So "being very old" and "in order to be happy" are not events of the story, but background, as is "while going up to the city". "Having done A and having done B he did C" shows another layer of grammatical ranking, with C being the highest ranked and A and B demoted.
Backgrounded, foregrounded, and demoted refer to how a communication is packaged and presented but do not necessarily imply insignificance or unimportance to one thing or another. Many times the "why" and "moral" of a story can only be extracted from knowing the material in the background.

Since you quoted Porter, you may need to be aware that Porter puts discourse terminology on its head from the rest of the linguistic world. He calls "aorist" background and present "foreground" and attributes heightened prominence (I forget P's exact term) to anything in the perfect. That's not how Greek works or language in general. Steve Runge did a paper on that within the past couple of years, showing in effect how P misrepresents general linguistics and skews the reading of the texts. But Runge does this more politely than this too short note.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » May 4th, 2015, 12:20 pm

RandallButh wrote:
First though, as I’ve said above, the fact that Luke has chosen a participle does not by itself mean that he has “demoted the clause”. Look for example at the following Lukan periphrastic pluperfects: Lk 2:26 ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον; Lk 8:2 αἳ ἦσαν τεθεραπευμέναι; Lk 9:45 ἦν παρακεκαλυμμένον; and Lk 15:24 ἦν ἀπολωλὼς. In all of these instances the participle is not used to demote the clause and, in fact, I would argue that the structure is used to emphasize the clause.
Thomas, I think that we are talking about different things. In discourse analysis, material is divided between the structural events of a story and the descriptive material that is hung on that structure.

He did A he did B he did C can be called a foregrounded structure, the main structural events of a story. "Being very old he did A and while going up to the city he did B and in order to be happy he did C" shows that structure with backgrounded material. So "being very old" and "in order to be happy" are not events of the story, but background, as is "while going up to the city". "Having done A and having done B he did C" shows another layer of grammatical ranking, with C being the highest ranked and A and B demoted.
Backgrounded, foregrounded, and demoted refer to how a communication is packaged and presented but do not necessarily imply insignificance or unimportance to one thing or another. Many times the "why" and "moral" of a story can only be extracted from knowing the material in the background.

Since you quoted Porter, you may need to be aware that Porter puts discourse terminology on its head from the rest of the linguistic world. He calls "aorist" background and present "foreground" and attributes heightened prominence (I forget P's exact term) to anything in the perfect. That's not how Greek works or language in general. Steve Runge did a paper on that within the past couple of years, showing in effect how P misrepresents general linguistics and skews the reading of the texts. But Runge does this more politely than this too short note.
Thank you for the explanation of the discourse approach, Randall. I am becoming familiar with Runge's work, and I don't think there is anything you've said here which I have not understood - although the particular application can still be a bit hazy, and I am still working my way through Runge's examples.

All of your examples of foreground and background have to do with a 'main indicative verb' and subordinate clauses. If one construed the passage under discussion (Luke 2:36+) as follows,
Luke 2:36 wrote: "Now Anna was a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, as she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, v.37 and she had been a widow for eighty-four years ...".
... then I understand that "She was very old" would be considered 'foreground' in that sentence. Is that right? That is, as in your examples, I understand that 'foreground' / 'background' / 'promoted' / 'demoted' have to do with the sentence itself, and not with a larger context. If that is true, then the question still is how to read "αὕτη (ἦν) προβεβηκυῖα", and I still see it as a periphrastic structure. "Choice implies meaning" surely cannot be applied only to what is explicitly written, but also to what is intended. Don't we have to consider context, (sentence structure, anacoloutha, parallelisms, etc.) along with the ink on the page, in order to get at what the "choice" was/is? A writer has many ways to signal his/her choices, besides the ink laid down on the page, even as a speaker has many ways to signal 'choice' besides the words which come out of his/her mouth.

Regarding Porter, I am aware of the issues, and I have read either Runge's paper, or an excerpt from it, if I it is the one where he describes the two camps at the conference both describing one part of the elephant and both being - both - right and wrong. I did forget about the specifics with respect to his handling of the perfect tense, which has been mentioned on B-Greek a few times, I think. In any case, that is peripheral to the main point here, and I should have left it out. Forget Porter and the perfect; the question with respect to Luke 2:36, I think, still comes down to whether we have an implied periphrasis or not.
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RandallButh
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by RandallButh » May 4th, 2015, 1:23 pm

"She was very old" would be considered 'foreground' in that sentence. Is that right?
No, background. It is not an event of the paragraph.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » May 4th, 2015, 1:35 pm

RandallButh wrote:
"She was very old" would be considered 'foreground' in that sentence. Is that right?
No, background. It is not an event of the paragraph.
Ah! Lights go on! Thank you! I'm reading Luke these days, and have been quite interested in your comments on the Hebrew influence in Luke, and also the relationship between Luke and the LXX.

I've seen some shades of that in some of Fitzmyer's stuff, but is there anyone else that you know of who has addressed that topic in particular? Incidentally, Frank Smith's "Understanding Reading ..." has got to be one of the more interesting things I've ever read on the topic. Thank you for suggesting it back when.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Must a participle have a finite main verb?

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 4th, 2015, 1:47 pm

I see perfect forms of προβαίνω in three places in the New Testament, all of them are in Luke. I'm not really good at discourse analysis, here's how I understand the use of εἰμί in these verses.
Luke 1:7 wrote:καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον, καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλισάβετ στεῖρα, καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν.
Background, imperfects ἦν and ἦσαν "painting the scene" at the time of the story.
Luke 1:18 wrote:ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς.
Background, the present tense "painting the scene" at the time of speech.
Luke 2:36 wrote:Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ (αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς, καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων,) ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν.
Background, imperfect ἦν "painting the scene" at the time of the story.

Did I get that right?
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