Re: TE . . . KAI

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Aug 03 1997 - 21:18:02 EDT

At 9:29 AM -0400 8/3/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>In Acts 6:12 we have a TE . . . KAI which sent me to BDF
>#443,444 for help. It seems that TE in this context is
>linking clauses and the following KAI is linking nouns.
>What I cannot figure out, reading BDF, is whether this
>is an example of TE operating on it's own or an example
>of TE . . . KAI. I am leaning toward to first
>explanation but am rather befuddled (as usual) by BDF's
>discussion of the topic. I am guessing that Luke chose
>TE here because of the close connection between the
>events transpiring in the joined clauses.
>Can anyone clarify what is going on here?

I just looked through BDF ##443, 444, and I wondered whether this might be
one of those instances about which Edward Hobbs once said that BDF was
really written for people who already knew Classical Attic. One important
aspect of TE ... KAI that really is not made clear in BDF #444 is that
there may be several KAI's in a row following upon the initial TE when the
TE points to a tight linkage in what follows. Yet I would agree with Clay
here that it is the clauses that are chiefly linked by TE ... KAI; what is
potentially confusing is that SUNEKINHSAN is followed by a TE and then by
three accusatives that are themselves linked by KAI's, while two more KAI's
that correspond to the original TE link the clauses beginning with
EPISTANTES SUNHRPASAN and HGAGON to that original clauses begininning with
SUNEKINHSAN. So we have ordinary linking of accusative objects of
SUNEKINHSAN with KAI's, and within the same sentence we have a linking of
three whole clauses by TE ... KAI ... KAI. I cite and translate thus in an
attempt to hypertranslate the effect of the TE .. KAI ... KAI.


"Not only did they stir up the populace and the elders and scribes, but
they also urgently (EPISTANTES) seized him and even led him to the Council."

This is a "hypertranslation," but it perhaps illustrates the sort of
leading role that Luke wants to emphasize and the zeal that these Diaspora
Jews poured into the actions leading to the stoning of Stephen--this usage
of TE ... KAI ... KAI seems to me to add rhetorical weight to what is
already a pretty clear statement about their zeal.

One additional note: one might initially suppose that the KAI's linking TON
follow upon that initial TE that follows the verb SUNEKINHSAN. The reason
that is not so (at least in any careful writer) is that the TE always
follows the first word of a sequence that is linked by TE ... KAI (...
KAI). Since this TE follows a verb form, one ought to expect that any KAI
used as a link with the TE should immediately precede a verb of a form
parallel to SUNEKINHSAN.

>Has anyone noticed how Carl Conrad is able to figure out
>what I am saying even when I use the wrong words, like
>grave/acute in my question about TIS. I wonder if this
>has any implications for semantics?

This question gives me the opportunity to say that I think I can understand
what your question about the Greek means, Clay, even if you don't state it
quite clearly. I would attribute that to 35+ years of teaching Greek and
responding to questions about Greek. HOWEVER, when you ask a question or
raise an issue about linguistics, I very often haven't a clue what you're
talking about! I don't doubt this is my own shortcoming, but I confess it
to be true.

Regards, c

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243 OR

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