Re: perfect passive participle

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 15 1996 - 09:04:41 EDT

At 8:42 PM -0500 9/15/96, John Oaklands wrote:
>Thank you for your thoughts on Acts 20:7. I once heard a lecturer, who had
>his doctorate in Biblical Languages from the Chicago University I think it
>was, suggest that SYNHGMENWN here meant that when the first day arrived they
>had been assembled and were still assembled. I've read other things about
>this verb form and other interpretations of it but I was interested to read
>that you see this as "part of a genitive absolute." Do you have some source
>for this that you could share with me? I've always thought of it as somehow
>qualifying SABBATWN. Or may be you might be able to just give me your
>insights on how you arrive at this being a genitive absolute. Apparently
>you don't see any perfective force in the verb. I'd be interested in your
>reasons for that too. I'm aware of course that it need not have the
>perfective force and I think that what you say makes a lot of sense.

If I may butt into these discussions (Including the one on John 9:3), I too
see SUNHGMENWN in Acts 20:7 as almost certainly part of a genitive
absolute; I can't see it dependent upon SABBATWN very easily by any normal
grammatical construction, but the primary assurance to me that it is a
genitive absolute construction is that the standard sense of this verb
SUNAGOMAI in the middle or passive voice is "gather" and it is used
regularly of persons coming together for a meal, meeting, worship, etc..
Cf. Lk 22:68; Mt 13:2, 18:2, 25:32; Mk 6:30; Acts 4:31, 15:6, etc.

>And while I'm here, thank you for your thoughts on John 9:3. You know, I've
>read the chapter many times in Greek but haven't see the connexion you point
>out with hOTI in v.2. I makes sense. For me it doesn't matter a lot
>whether the use of hINA in v.3 indicates purpose or result--theologically I
>mean. What does matter for me is what the Greek can be seen to say here.
>I've been reading a lot of dictionary references in connexion with hINA and
>the aorist subjunctive but haven't found it easy to sort through.

I posted something in the course of this last week to the list (the
question, I think was on a passage in Revelation) on hINA + subjunctive
clauses in Koine as equivalent to infinitives, both of purpose (= genitive
articular infinitive with implicit but usually unexpressed hENEKA, or EIS
TO + infinitive with or without a subject accusative) and of result (=
older Greek hWSTE + infinitive, common Koine EIS TO + infinitive with or
without a subject accusative). I did a quick check in BDF and saw that
these types were dealt with in a fashion, but I wonder whether there is a
comprehensive study of the widely-varied usage of hINA + subjunctive
clauses in the NT or in Koine generally (and in the longer history of the
Greek language). These clauses seem to me to range in usage at least as
broadly in Koine as do UT + subjunctive clauses in Latin, and, as in the
Latin clauses, it is not always easy to distinguish clearly between a
"purpose" and a "result" clause.

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

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