Re: Acts 1:8: epelqontos

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Oct 31 1996 - 17:48:26 EST

At 12:31 PM 10/31/96 -0600, Carl Conrad wrote:
>At 11:56 AM -0600 10/31/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:

>Which raises a question that has puzzled me many a time: WHY is it so
>difficult for students to recognize genitive absolutes, when the
>construction is as normal to Greek narrative expression as apple pie to the
>American palate?

For the same reason that most NT Greeks have a hard time recognizing apple
pie -- they just haven't seen it that often, and it isn't part of their
universe. Of course, one exposure to apple pie should be enough to prompt
recognition, especially if it has sharp cheddar on top, but it is taking me
many exposures to the genitive absolute...

>I've found this repeatedly in both Greek classes and Latin
>classes: the genitive absolute construction is not automatically
>recognized. Perhaps we should issue a warning: if you see a participle in
>the genitive, you should probably start looking for a genitive subject!

Hey, a simple heuristic! I love it! I *know* when I see a genitive
particible, and I know what a subject is, so this is a rule I can actually use.

>I haven't checked on this, but my gut sense is that far more often than not
>the participle precedes the subject when the genitive absolute appears in a
>narrative. I know, I know, gut feelings are perilous--better do some

How would you search for this?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C.
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
email:, <--- shockwave enabled!

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:55 EDT