Lesson 53: Nominal Word Clusters/The Participle


0770. Nominal word clusters incorporating participles were excluded from consideration thus far (§§680-767) because the modification structure of such clusters is sometimes affected by the dual nature of the participle: it belongs to both the verbal and the nominal systems (§0467). As a verbal adjective, the participle may function adjectivally in nominal word clusters just like any other adjective (cf. §§687.4-8; 688). But because the participle is also a verbal, it may take complements characteristic of verbs, e.g. an object. It is the verbal properties of the participle that make it necessary to distinguish the participle from ordinary adjectives.

770. Range of functions. Before considering the modification structure of nominal word groups incorporating participles, it will be prudent to survey the range of functions exhibited by the participle. It will thus be possible to hold in view the larger reach of the participle while considering one function in detail.

The following sentences illustrate the three major functions of the participle:

(1) ἐκεῖνος ἦν ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων Jn 5:35
He was the burning and shining lamp
(2) ἐπαύσαντο τὺπτοντες τὸν Παῦλον Acts 21:32
They stopped beating Paul
(3) καὶ ἀκούσαντες ἐθαύμασαν Mt 22:22
And when they heard, they marveled

770.1 In (1) the two participles (καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων) are employed adjectivally to modify λύχνος, as the repetition of the article indicates (ὁ ... ὁ ...) (§684). This use of the participle in nominal word clusters is said to be attributive (to be considered in detail below).

770.2 The participle (τύπτοντες) in (2) is said to supplement the main or finite verb (ἐπαύσαντο) in forming a verb chain. This use of the participle is conventionally called supplementary. It is treated in this grammar under verb chains (§§568, 571f.; see §§584, 585 for additional uses of the supplementary participle).

770.3 In example (3), ἀκούσαντες functions adverbially, in that it depicts the circumstances under which the action denoted by the main verb takes place. Here it is the equivalent of a temporal clause. This use of the participle is termed circumstantial because the participle (and its complements) depicts the circumstances, e.g. time, cause, means, manner, condition, under which the action denoted by the main verb takes place. The circumstantial participle will be treated under adverbial clauses (§§0845-849).

It is the modification structure of nominal word groups incorporating an attributive participle that is to be sketched in the balance of this lesson.

The Attributive Participle in Nominal Word Clusters

771. All participles are verbal adjectives and therefore must, as a rule, agree with some noun or pronoun (present or understood) in gender, number, and case (§§246-2500). The participle is often used as the head term (§§541, 682) in a nominal word cluster, i.e. functions as a substantive (s. §§688-689, 715 for adjectives so used). In this case, the participle may be said to agree with a noun or pronoun 'understood' or to be supplied; descriptively speaking, the participle simply functions as the nominal head.

772. Types of clusters. Attributive participles occur in nominal word clusters of both the simple and complex type (§685), and in clusters both with and without other nominal heads (§771).

772.1 The cluster

(4) ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος χαὶ φαίνων Jn 5:35
the burning and shining lamp

is said to be simple because all terms agree in gender, number, and case. On the other hand, in the cluster

(5) ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ Jn 8:18
the sending me father

με is accusative (it is the object of the participle πέμψας), while the remaining terms are nom. masc. sing. This cluster is therefore complex: The participle heads a complex subcluster (πέμψας με), which as a whole modifies πατήρ: the / sending me / father.

It is to be noted that the complexity in (5) is occasioned by the syntactic relationships that obtain between verbs and their complements, rather than by syntactic relationships characteristic of nominals and nominal clusters (cf. §695) .

772.2 Clusters (4) and (5) both have nominal heads (λύχνος, πατήρ). Attributive participles also occur in clusters which may be said to be 'headless' (the nominal head is not expressed), or in which the participle itself may be regarded as the nominal head. The attributive participle is a verbal adjective (§0770), and may be regarded as having the same range of functions as the adjective. Since the adjective may be 'substantivized' (= regarded as nominal head, §688.1), the participle, too, may be said to function as the head term in nominal word clusters lacking another nominal head.

With (4) may be compared

(6) οἱ πενθοῦντες Mt 5:4
the mourning (ones)

in which article and participle function as a nominal cluster. Since both terms are in agreement, the cluster is simple. With (5) may be compared

(7) ὁ πέμψας με Jn 8:26
the sending me (one)

which is also a complex cluster, but in which the participle serves as nominal head. A literal translation of (6) and (7) does not make sense in English, so one must supply the generalized nominal head, one (from the context of (7) father could have been supplied).

773. The attributive participle and the relative clause. The literalistic translation of (5), the sending me father, is unacceptable grammatical structure in English. The attributive participle and object is perhaps best rendered into English by a relative clause: the father who sent me. This translation suggests that attributive participles (with complements) and relative clauses are agnate constructions in Greek as well as in English, i.e. they are alternate ways of saying the same thing. This agnate relationship for Greek was demonstrated in §672, in connection with the discussion of relative clauses.

Even when a literal rendering into English is acceptable, as in the case of the translation of (4), the burning and shining lamp (only the word order has been modified), a relative clause may still substitute: the lamp which burns and shines.

The relative clause is thus a means of transforming a verbal (participle) into a verb. Looked at from the other side, the attributive participle is the means by which a verb can be employed in nominal position: The verb is transformed into a verbal and used as an adjective.

The relative clause is common enough in Greek, but Greek is hospitable to the attributive participle and encourages its lavish use.

774. n-clusters with a participle. Examples (4) and (5) (§772.1) are n-clusters (= a word cluster headed by a noun, §6840.1) incorporating an attributive participle. Example (4) is a simple n-cluster, while (5) represents a complex n-cluster.

774.1 Simple n-clusters with an attributive participle follow the patterns of simple n-clusters with an attributive adjective (§687.4-7). The participle may appear in first attributive position (for a summary of attributive positions, s. §684):

(8) ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς Mt 3:7
from the coming wrath

Or in second attributive position:

(9) ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων Jn 5:35
the burning and shining lamp

Or in third attributive position:

(10) θεοῦ σοφίαν ... τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην 1 Cor 2:7
the hidden wisdom of God

An attributive participle may also modify an anarthrous noun, in which case it normally follows the noun:

(11) Χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον 1 Cor 1:23
Christ crucified

These four patterns with attributive adjectives were described in §6870 in accordance with the symbols of the analytic notational scheme, i.e. t = any article, n = a noun, a = an adjective. The descriptions are repeated in the lefthand column below. In the righthand column will be found the corresponding descriptions of n-clusters with an attributive participle: g = a participle.

(i) t-a-n t-g-n = (8)
(ii) t-n-t-a t-n-t-g (C) g = (9)
(iii) n-t-a n-t-g = (10)
(iv) n-a n-g = (11)

774.2 Complex n-clusters with an attributive participle and complements may also be described with reference to attributive positions. With participle and complements in first attributive order:

(12) ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ Jn 8:18
the father who sent me

In second attributive order:

(13) τὸν πατέρα τὸν πέμψαντα αὐτόν Jn 5:23
the father who sent him

And in third attributive order:

(14) ἔθνη τὰ μὴ νόμον ἔχοντα Rom 2:14
Gentiles who do not have law

As in the case of simple clusters, complex clusters may be formed without benefit of article:

(15) πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον Jn 4:14
a spring of water welling up into life eternal

First attributive order is not common with complex clusters (example (12)), nor is the anarthrous type (15) met frequently. Structures like (13) and (14), however, are common.

774.3 The attributive participle in complex n-clusters may theoretically take any of the complements or adjuncts the corresponding finite verb may take. The participles in (12), (13), and (14) take direct objects. Were these participles transformed into relative clauses, the relative clauses would be included type III sentences (§508). The participle in (15) is complemented by a p-cluster functioning as an adverb; the transformation of this cluster would thus yield a type I sentence (§§504-505).

Other types of complements are also found. In (16), for example, the participle takes an indirect object (μοι):

(16) τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι Gal 2:9
the grace which was given to me

The participle is passive; its direct object in the active form has become the antecedent (the grace), which, in the transformation into a relative clause, would become the relative pronoun subject. The transformation would therefore yield a type IVP sentence (§510).

These examples merely illustrate the wide range of constructions possible with the attributive participle. Further treatment of these possibilities will be found in §776.

0775. A nominal word cluster with a participle as head term (g-cluster) appears in Greek texts much more frequently than the n-cluster with attributive participle, considered above (§774). Like the latter, the g-cluster appears in both simple and complex forms (§772).

775. The simple g-cluster, consisting of article and participle, occasionally with the negative, abounds in both active and passive forms.

The active form is illustrated by the following:

(17) ὁ σπείρων Mk 4:3
the one sowing
(18) ὁ καυχώμενος 1 Cor 1:31
the one boasting

With negative:

(19) ὁ [δὲ] μὴ πιστεύων Jn 3:18
the one not believing

The passive form is illustrated by:

(20) oἱ [δὲ] κεκλημένοι Mt 22:8
the ones invited

776. In the complex g-cluster, as in the complex n-cluster (§774.3), the participle may take any of the complements the corresponding finite verb may take.

776.1 The complement may consist of a direct object in the accusative case:

(21) ὁ πέμψας με Jn 8:26
the one sending me

The direct object may itself consist of a complex nominal cluster, with the head term in the accusative case:

(22) ὁ [δὲ] ποιών τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ 1 Jn 2:17
the one doing the will of God

The object may be in the dative case (cf. §§591-593):

(23) ὁ ἀκολουθῶν ἐμοί Jn 8:12
the one following me

Or in the genitive case (cf. §§594-596):

(24) ὁ κατηγορῶν ὑμῶν Jn 5:45
the one accusing you

776.2 The complement may consist of a p-cluster:

(25) ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτόν Jn 3:18
the one believing in him
(26) ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος Jn 1:27
the one coming after me
(27) ὁ ὤν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ Jn 8:47
the one who is of God
(28) τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος Jn 3:6
that which is born of the spirit

Notice that the p-cluster is in first attributive order in (26). The p-cluster, εἰς αὐτόν, in (25) is agnate to a direct object in the dative case (§591.5-6). The transformation of (26) into a relative clause would yield S-I: he who comes after me; the transformation of (27) would yield S-II: he who is of God. The participle in (28) is passive (cf. §775 (20)).

776.3 The complement may consist of an adverb:

(29) oἱ κλαίοντες νῦν Lk 6:21
the ones weeping now
(30) οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν Lk 6:21
the ones hungering now

Or an adverb and a direct object:

(31) ὁ διώκων ἡμᾶς ποτε Gal 1:23
the one persecuting us then

776.4 Examples (21)-(31), when transformed into relative clauses, would all yield sentences of types I-III. For an example of a g-cluster that would yield S-IV, note:

(32) ὁ δούς σοι τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην Lk 20:2
the one giving this authority to you

777. A high frequency construction is πᾶς with an articular participle, which is agnate to πᾶς with a relative clause (§747).

(33) πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν Jn 8:34
Everyone committing sin
(34) πᾶς ὁ ὑψών ἑαυτόν Lk 18:14
Everyone exalting himself

With a negative:

(35) οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι, κύριε, κύριε Mt 7:21
Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord'

The affinity between the participial construction and the relative clause can be observed in the following parallel constructions:

(36) πᾶς ὁ πίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος τούτου Jn 4:13
Everyone drinking of this water
(37) ὃς [δ'] ἂν πίῃ ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος Jn 4:14
Whoever drinks of the water

Cf. §747.2 (36) for an example with ὅστις instead of ὃς ἄν.

778. g-clusters as constituent elements in S-types. The internal structure of complex g-clusters was considered in §776; that structure was found to correspond to S-I-IV, i.e. the g-clusters, when transformed into relative clauses, would yield sentences of types I-IV. Another way of looking at g-clusters, of both the simple and complex types, is to consider what role the g-cluster as a whole may play in the larger grammatical structure of the sentence. We may generalize: the g-cluster may play virtually any role in the structure of the sentence that any other nominal or nominal word group may play.

778.1 The g-cluster may function as the subject of the sentence:

1g+ NN-> 2
(38) ὁ ἀκολουθῶν ἐμοι / oὐ μὴ περιπατήσῃ /
ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ Jn 8:12
the one following me shall not walk in darkness
1g+ 3a 2e
(39) ὁ πέμψας με / ἀληθής / ἐστιν Jn 8:26
the one sending me is true

778.2 The g-cluster may function as the predicate in S-II:

1b 2e 3g+
(40) ἐγώ / εἰμι / ὁ μαρτυρῶν περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ Jn 8:18
I am the one bearing witness to myself

778.3 The g-cluster may function as the direct object in S-III, with the head term in the accusative case:

1a+ 4g+
(41) οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ / τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας αὐτοὺς /
ἀγαπῶσιν Lk 6:32
The sinners love the ones loving them

With the head term in the dative case:

2-1 5g+ i
(42) δύναται / τοῖς περαζομένοις / βοηθῆσαι, Heb 2:18
He is able to help the ones being tempted

778.4 The g-cluster may also function as the indirect object in S-IV:

4n 2-1 5g+
(43) ἵνα] ἀπόκρισιν / δῶμεν / τοῖς πέμψασιν ἡμᾶς Jn 1:22
in order that] we may give an answer to those
who sent us

Examples (38) -(43) are merely illustrative of the possibilities.

779. Levels of complexity. In considering complexity in n-clusters with an attributive participle (§774.2-3), and in g-clusters (§776), attention has thus far been restricted to the relationships that obtain between the participle and its complements. Attention should now be called to other types of complexity to be found in nominal clusters with a participle. Such additional complexities are of course those characteristic of nominal word clusters without a participle (§§685, 695ff.). Although not altogether common in simple Greek prose, one occasionally finds two, three, or even more types of complexity exhibited in word clusters with an attributive participle. The following discussion suggests the range of possibilities.

779.1 As an example of a g-cluster that is doubly complex, we may take (22) given in §776.1:

(22) ὁ [δὲ] ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ 1 Jn 2:17
the one doing the will of God

In the first instance, the cluster as a whole is divided into two parts

(22) ὁ [δὲ] ποιῶν / τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ

since the second word group represents the direct object, with head term in the accusative case, going with the participle. But this subcluster is itself complex:

τὸ θέλημα / τοῦ θεοῦ

The relationship of the second sub-subcluster to the first sub-cluster is signaled by the genitive case (s. §695). Cluster (22) is thus doubly complex but at two different levels, and the second level is on the downward scale, i.e. it has to do with the next smaller, constituent grammatical units.

779.2 There are also clusters doubly complex where the second level of complexity (from the point of view of the participle) is on the upward side, i.e. in the next larger grammatical structure. In the cluster

(44) φωνὴ / βοῶντος ' ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Jn 1:23
A voice of one crying in the wilderness

the half slash [ '] represents a cut between the participle and its p-phrase complement (cf. §776.2), which together form a subcluster in the larger cluster. The larger cluster is itself complex, in that the second subcluster is headed by a term (participle) in the genitive case, which signals the relationship of the second subcluster to φωνή: A voice / of one ....

779.3 Complexities on both the upward and downward sides of the participle are not difficult to grasp if the cluster is taken as a whole and allowed to fall apart at the grammatical seams. For example, observe the complexities on the downward side of both participles, at various levels, in this cluster:

(45) ὁ ἀφορίσας / με
ἐκ κοιλίας / μητρός ' μου
(καὶ) καλέσας
διὰ τῆς χάριτος / αὐτοῦ
Gal 1:15
The one setting me apart
from the womb of my mother
(and) calling
through his grace

In (46) complexities are to be observed on both sides of the participles:

(46) εἷς / ἐκ τῶν δύο
τῶν ἀκουσάντων ' παρὰ Ἰωάννου
(καὶ) ἀκολουθησάντων ' αὺτῷ
Jn 1:40
One of the two who
heard from John
(and) followed him

The types of complexity found in (45) and (46) are already familiar from simpler constructions. Here they are merely piled up as a means of packing the sentence with detail.