Re: Some questions on Mark 9:1-5

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Oct 06 1995 - 07:25:26 EDT

At 9:49 AM 10/5/95, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
> I have a few grammatical questions regarding Mark 9. I hope these aren't
>things I'm supposed to know already.
>1. 9:1 has Qanatou in the genitive. Bauer says that the verb yeuomai takes
>the accusative. What's the genitive doing here, or rather, what does it
>signify case-wise?

I really hate to say this, but if Bauer (I assume you mean BAGD) says that
GEUOMAI takes an accusative, he's flat out wrong. Many verbs of sense
perception, among them AKOUW, GEUOMAI, AISQANOMAI, regularly take a
partitive genitive. There's a danger in overrating the authority of a
lexicon; one ought at least to check it against others and, on a point like
this, grammars, as this is a point usually dealt with in first-year
vocabulary lists.

>2. In 9:3 and possibly 9:7, egeneto appears and seems to form some sort of
>compound "tense" with a present participle. I've never read a description of
>such a construction. Can ginomai replace eimi to form a periphrastic
>participle (knowing, however, that Mark does use eimi in the same block
>of text to form a perhiphrastic makes me doubt that)?

I think there are two factors involved in these instances: (1a) yes, a
periphrastic tense with an auxiliary and a participle is by no means
uncommon in Koine narrative, and (1b) as EIMI has no aorist, forms of
GINOMAI do service for it when an aorist equivalent of EIMI is wanted; and
(1c) you might very well understand STILBONTA LEUKA in 9:3 more as
predicate adjectives than true participles; (2) there may be a spin-off of
the usage of EGENETO as a semitism representing something equivalent to
Hebrew WAYYeHI KI (although I doubt it in this instance).

>3. wphqH in 9:4 is singular, yet it seems to have a plural subject,
>Elijah with Moses, or is Elijah the sole subject of the verb, with the data
>Mwusei an additional qualification upon the subject, but not part of the
>subject itself? I'm aware of neuter plural subjects taking the singular of
>eimi, but not of other finite verbs.

Actually WFQH in 9:4 has only one subject, since the second figure is
indicated as SUN MWUSHi; there then follows a second clause with the plural
(periphrastic imperfect) verb HSAN SULLALOUNTES taking into account both
Elijah and Moses.

>By the way, what would be a goodf replacement for my Dana and Mantey from which
>I derive many of my grammatical terms? I know there are works written by
>members of this list, but I'm not clear which would function in the role of
>an intermediate grammar, adn I gather that D&M if not looked on too
>kindly these days. THanks in advance.

I would like an answer to this myself, as I'm not very comfortable with any
of the NT grammars that I HAVE used. Edward Hobbs has promised us, when he
gets the time, another of his extended treatises on this subject comparable
to the one on lexicons, and I'm eager to read and profit from it. The work
in which I place the most credence at this point is still Smyth, but that
is really a grammar of Classical Attic rather than koine, and koine
certainly does not follow all of the rules of Classical Attic (nor, for
that matter, does Classical Attic follow all of the "rules" of Classical
Attic all the time!).

Hope this helps a little.

Cheers, cwc

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

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