Re: Mt 28:19a, attendant circumstantial partic.

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Oct 29 1997 - 12:54:39 EST

On Wed, 29 Oct 1997 08:20:49 -0500 "Paul F. Evans" <>
>Paul, Carl, et. al.,
>Paul Wrote:
>> "2. Attendant Circumstance: translate as finite verb + and (it
>> describes
>> an action that, in some sense, is coordinate with the finite
>> "piggy-backs" on mood of main verb); five structural clues
>> found:
>> - tense of participle: aorist
>> - tense of main verb: aorist
>> - mood of main verb: imperative or indicative
>> - participle precedes the main verb (both in word
>> order and time of event)
>> - frequent in narrative, infrequent elsewhere" (p.
>I am wondering from what Carl said earlier if I have this right in my
> I am beginning to see from the discussion that we are to understand the
>participles in a similar way to a string of English finite verbs, so
>the action expressed by them is on the "same level" (I don't know of a
>scholarly way to express this) as that of the main verb in the Greek.
>Am I right?

Wo, not so fast. I didn't mean to suggest, in my quoting of Wallace,
that participles should always be taken as attendant circumstantials.
Please not Wallace's above guide. Those were five structural "clues,"
not "rules." My point was simply that I was impressed in my studies at
Dallas how prevalent the attendant circumstantial participle was, a lot
more so than I would have imagined. And, this was the apparent way the KJ
translators saw it in Mt 29:19a.

>In this case, MAQHTEUSATE, BAPTIZONTES, and DIDASKONTES express >the
mission in a threefold sense. The mission is to make disciples, baptize
>to teach. What if anything is the effect of the present tense of the
>participles, other than linking their action as contemporaneous to that
>the finite verb? In other words is there anything inherently durative
>about the action expressed by the participles that is not expressed in
>the aorist verb (a suggestion made by someone on the list earlier)? Or
>are we to understand the action of the particples in light of the tense
>the main verb, since the present simply links the participles to the
>in a particular way but says nothing about whether the action is
>or punctiliar? If these are attendant circumstance participles, exactly
>what does that mean? That the action of the participles supports the
>verb (close to instrumental), or that the action of the participles is
>simply connected with the verb but "independent" of it in all practical

I like what Carl said here. In sum, in Mt 28:19 the aorist imperative
gives the command in simple, undefined language, while the present tense
participles amplify and denote how this is to be carried out: by the
continued practice of baptizing and teaching.
>I am trying to grasp to what extent participles depend upon the main
>verb, and if there is any independent character about them. This may be
>naive suggestion, but I have heard many arguments for the dependence of
>participles which then went on to make wild assertions about them as
>they expressed a great deal of independent quality. (I am asking about
>participles in general not only this particular case.) It seems to me
>that one cannot have it both ways!

Normally, the present tense participles are construed as action
simultaneous with the action of the main verb. Aorist participles, as
Carl has been advocating, often denote action prior to the action of the
main verb. I sense this was believed more strongly in the past (cf KJ
translations with modern day translations), and that nowadays a greater
appreciation for the coincidental aorist seems to exist.

Paul Dixon

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