RE: Translation Question: Acts 19:14

From: David Sims (
Date: Thu Apr 25 1996 - 23:07:21 EDT

Dear John,

Porter says, on pages 187-188 of Idioms of the Greek New Testament,

>It is often the case that there is no need for determining
>"when" an event referred to by a participle occurred. This
>is frequently the case with substantival and modifying
>uses of the participle. . . . In contexts where issues of time
>are relevant, syntax seems to be important.

Hope this helps you.

Dave Sims
Lakewood Colorado

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Sent: Thursday, 25 April 1996 15:50
Subject: Translation Question: Acts 19:14

I'm working on an exegetical paper on Acts 19:11-20, and I've discovered
something which seems strange. Perhaps it's just my lack of experience with
Greek. . . .

Normally, in the sequence of tenses, an aorist participle means that the
action described in the participle occurs before the action of the main verb.
 In Acts 19:14, however, the aorist participle ("having answered") seems to
be contemporaneous with the main verb ("he said"). To translated it
according to the usual sequence of tenses would result in something like
this: "But after he had answered, the demon said"--which doesn't make sense.

Is this an exception to the usual rules of tense sequence? I think I've
noticed it earlier in Acts, as well. Any tips? references to standard
grammars I've overlooked?

Thanks in advance for your help.

John Barach
Mid-America Reformed Seminary

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