Re: participles

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Tue Oct 28 1997 - 17:14:52 EST

At 10:25 AM 10/28/97 +0000, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>Johathan wrote:
>At 03:59 PM 10/27/97 -0500, Mary L B Pendergraft wrote:
>>What I tell my students is that Greek frequently likes to use one finite
>>verb and one or more participles where English prefers to use parallel
>>finite verbs. So, while the participle isn't really an imperative, it
>>would be more idiomatic in English to use one: "Go and teach." Similarly,
>>in the preceding verse, it's more typical of English to say, "Jesus
>>approached them and spoke to them...."
>Looking at your reply and Carl's, both of you stop just short of saying that
>the adverbial participle takes on the mood of the finite verb with which it
>is associated, e.g. if the finite verb is in the imperative mood, the
>participle is to be interpreted as an imperative; if the finite verb is in
>the indicative mood, the participle is to be interpreted as indicative.
>Would that rule be valid? Does it describe the way NT Greek participles
>really work?
>Are you not letting your English translation drive your understanding of
>Greek syntax? Mary did not say that this participle is an imperative. She
>said it translates well as an English imperative. There is a big difference
>between these two statements. Confusion on this issue seems to be
>rather common in the discussions that take place on b-greek.
>Clay Bartholomew
>Three Tree Point
Actually Jonathan has a point, IMO. I have a paper still in process that
partially addresses this issue. As Clay says, we shouldn't confuse the moods
(if I may allow the participle to be a mood/mode for practical purposes);
that would be a novice mistake. However, I'm convinced that one use of the
participle is to carry the idea of the mood of the governing verb. In these
constructions the participle acts something like a chameleon, so that in
e.g. Matt. 28:19 one can both distinguish the partciples from the governing
verb, and argue that the participles have the force of the governing
(imperative) verb.

Don Wilkins

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