Re: Periphrastic constructions with multiple participles (Mar 1:6)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 07 1996 - 15:13:29 EDT

At the outset, let me note that I have read all three of your posts on this
matter, Carlton, and I appreciate your checking the authorities.

At 3:20 AM -0500 9/7/96, Carlton L. Winbery wrote:
>Mike Phillips wrote;
>> I just want to confirm that Mar 1:6 has one imperfect form of
>>EIMI that
>>might be construed in periphrastic construct with two participles, the first,
>>ENDEDUMENOS (Perfect) and the second, ESQIWN (present). I am uncertain as to
>>the latter - whether it can use the same EIMI as the former or requires its
>A better example of verb to be with two ptcs would be Matt. 9:36 where the
>two participles are joined immediately by KAI. Whether Mk. 1:6 is
>periphrastic is questioned by more than one of the recognized grammars.
>There are no agreed upon criteria to determine whether a participle is part
>of a periphrastic construction or is used in another way. Another
>questionable example is Lk 6:43, present periphrastic. I can cite no
>certain (agreed upon periphrastics with more than one ptc where the ptcs.
>are in different cases.) They are all questioned by one or more of the
>syntax books known to me.
>A good eg. of an imperfect periphrastic is Mk 14:54, HN SUGKAQHMENOS . . .
>QERMAINOMENOS. "He was sitting with . . . and warming." Other egs. that I
>consider certain are Acts 9:28, Mt. 24:38 (4 ptcs with HSAN), Mk. 5:5, Acts
>22:19, Phil. 2:26 (where HN is between the ptcs.).
>There are many imperfect periphrastics in the NT, not as many presents,
>very few if any future or aorist periphrastics (probably because a
>periphrastic construction tends to emphasize linear aspect), a few perfect
>active, and a suprising number of perfect passive (seems that the perfect
>often borders on linear action), and a number of pluperfect (using the
>perf. ptc with the imperf. of EIMI). One of the pluperf. passives with two
>ptcs is Mt. 9:36. Another that some question is Rev. 17:4. There are six
>future perfect passive periphrastics in the NT using the future of EIMI
>none double.

I cannot escape the impression that the grammarians have created the
category of the periphrastic verb in Koine Greek and are determined to
bring it under regulation willy-nilly. I have no quarrel with the examples
cited here. I just don't understand how one is supposed to understand the
grammar of Mk 1:6--


--without understanding both ENDEDUMENOS and ESQIWN as dependent upon the
initial auxiliary verb HN. Maybe we don't want to use the term
"periphrastic" here, but, as I already stated, I think that it is the
grammarians who are disturbed here, not the ordinary reader who knows very
well that we have here an equivalent for a pluperfect = imperfect in HN
ENDEDUMENOS (and say, is that participle middle or passive?) which really
means "he was wearing"--and precedes to take an acc. direct object and then
a second equivalent of an imperfect in HN ESQIWN with its own direct
object: "he was wearing A & B" and "he was eating C & D." HN ENDEDUMENOS
is "imperfect" in exactly the same sense that hEISTHKEI and HiDEI are
imperfects because the Perfect tense here supplies the present tense
meaning. It seems to me then that it's quibbling to say that this is not an
instance of two periphrastics because the tense of the participles is

>note: before I posted this I noted that Carl Conrad had answered. I'm
>will read his answer after I post. Note: Joe Billy McMinn was teaching at
>the Univ. of Alabama, but is not listed in recent bulletins, perhaps

Thanks for the info, Carlton, I'll take it from there and contact the
appropriate department at the Univ. of Alabama to see whether he's still
alive and within reach of some sort of communication.

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

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