Adverbial aor ptcs of subsequent time rfc (LONG)

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Wed Oct 14 1998 - 10:14:55 EDT


<x-rich>This is an interesting question and one that has brought me not only
into some careful reading of what others have had to say about the
problem Jon raises, but also into a clearer understanding of a point
being made about the function of participles in the very textbook out
of which I am teaching beginning Attic Greek, i.e. _Reading Greek_. In
what follows I shall offer my own comments on the passages Jon has
adduced as potential instances of aorist participles referring to time
subsequent to that of the main verb of the predicate, and then cite as
briefly as possible and comment on the discussions of this question
that I have found in the grammarians.

At 5:04 AM -0500 9/30/98, Jon Robertson wrote:

>Hello all, just a quick question (that may generate more than a quick
reply). What are your opinions about the occurrence of adverbial aorist
participles of subsequent action? To put it another way, are there
adverbial aorist participles (particularly in the New Testament) which
describe action that takes place after the action of the main verb? I
did a research paper about this in a graduate grammar class, but I
would prefer to hear the opinions of the list before I put my neck in
the noose!

At 5:25 AM -0500 10/1/98, Jon Robertson wrote:

>Carl,

>Yes, some examples would be in order. I was just being lazy! There are
actually a number in the book of Acts. To name just a couple:

>Acts 23:35 - DIAKOUSOMAI SOU, EFH, hOTAN KAI hOI KATHGOROI SOU
PARAGENWNTAI KELEYSAS EN TWI PRAITWRIWI TOU hHRWIDOU FYLASSESQAI AUTON

> The question here is the temporal relation between when the governor
"said" (EFH) what is reported and when he commanded (KELEUSAS) Paul to
be kept in the Praetorium. While it is possible he did the ordering
first and then spoke to Paul, before he was led away, it seems much
more natural to take it in the opposite order, i.e. - he spoke to Paul
and then ordered him to be taken to the Praetorium. This would mean
that the action of the aorist participle took place after the action of
the main verb. Simultaneous action seems impossible here.

My inclination is to think you are being too precise here about what
actions are going on at the same moment; I take it that the words of
Felix are spoken to Paul as he summons one or two soldiers and tells
them where to take Paul: "As he gave orders for Paul to be jailed in
the Pretorium, he said, 'I'll hear your case as soon as your accusers
are on hand.'" That is, I think that this comment to Paul is part of
the action of having him put away for safekeeping pending arrival of
the accusers.

>Acts 25:13 - AGRIPPAS hO BASILEUS KAI BERNIKH KATHNTHSAN EIS
KAISAREIAN ASPASAMENOI TON FHSTON

> In spite of several attempts I have come across, it seems to me
nearly impossible to understand that Agrippa and Berenice greeted
Festus before they came to Caesarea. Of course, sometimes the action of
an aorist participle can take place at the same time as the main verb,
explaining how the action of the main verb took place (something like
"he did (finite verb) this by doing (aorist participle) this"), but
this seems to really stretch the point here - they arrived at Caesarea
by greeting Festus?? Or that they arrived simultaneously with greeting?
Well, maybe... Again, the aorist of subsequent action, if allowed,
would give wonderful sense - Agrippa and Berenice arrived at Caesarea
and (then) greeted Festus.

A.T. Robertson in the big grammar (pp. 1112ff.) simply lists this as
one of the passages claimed to offer an aor ptc of subsequent action
but says he thinks they are all really coincident. In the _Short
Grammar_ (#460c) he refers to it and says, "The aor ptc is punctiliar,
of course, and is either simultaneous like KATHNTHSAN ASPASAMENOI (Acts
25:13) they came down saluting (when they arrived, effective aorist
KATHNTHSAN)..." BDF#339(1) (p. 175) say, "A future meaning of the aor
ptc is often assumed for Acts 25:13 KATHNTHSAN ... ASPASAMENOI (since
the v.l. ASPASOMENOI is found in C et al. ) (Chambers, JTS 24 (1923)
183-7 [for two references in the LXX and three in the NT]; Howard, JTS
24 (1923) 403-6; "Rob., JTS 25 (1924) 286-9; Harding, TAPA 57 (1926) p.
xxxix [only for Acts 25:13]d); yet the meaning could perhaps be: 'in
connection with which they greeted him': ASPASAMENOI = KAI HSPASANTO."

My own inclination is much as in the previous instance: I think the
salutation is something that belongs to the picture of Agrippa's
arrival in Caesarea; again I don't think it's really so much a matter
of one event being subsequent to another as it is of their being part
of a single scenario: "King Agrippa and Berenice arrived in Caesarea
with greetings for Festus."

>Other examples to glance at are Acts 12:25 (where some translations
make the preposition EIS mean "from" to make sense out of an aorist
participle of antecedant action); [later correction:] In Acts 12:25,
the translation "from" is not connected with EIS but rather with EX, an
alternate reading attested by p74, A and some other manuscripts.

BARNABAS DE KAI SAULOS hUPESTREYAN EIS IEROUSALHM PLHRWSANTES THN
DIAKONIAN, SUMPARALABONTES IWANNHN TON EPIKLHQENTA MARKON.

This is actually a rather immense and vexed problem that is discussed
in a lengthy note in Metzger's textual commentary on UBS3 (the older
version of the commentary, pp. 398ff.). I will only note the upshot of
the committee's decision: (a) "several writers regard [PLHRWSANTES] as
an instance of the rare usage of the 'futuristic' aorist expressing
purpose. Attractive though this proposal may be, it involves taking
also the following aor ptc (SUMPARALABONTES) as an aorist of subsequent
action--a category whose existence is denied by most grammarians.", and
(b) "After long and repeated deliberation the Committee decided that
the least unsatisfactory decision was to adopt EIS." There's a good
deal more there--and I haven't looked at Metzger's second edition of
the commentary (reversal of the usual situation: that's at home while
I'm at my office). Most telling is fn 22: "The Committee confesses that
more than once K. Lake's admission of despair reflected its own mood
...."

>16:6,7; DIHLQON DE THN FRUGIAN KAI GALATIKHN CWRAN KWLUQENTES hUPO TOU
hAGIOU PNEUMATOS LALHSAI TON LOGON EN THi ASIAi; ELQONTES DE KATA THN
MUSIAN EPEIRAZON EIS THN BIQUNIAN POREUQHNAI, KAI OUK EIASEN AUTOUS TO
PNEUMA IHSOU ...

I suppose it is argued here that KWLUQENTES should refer to time
subsequent to that of the aorist DIHLQON. I don't really see why it
should: Asia is the Roman province of Asia, the former kingdom of
Pergamum bequeathed to Rome by the last of its kings. F.F. Bruce, in
his commentary on Acts, says, "They completed their journey (DIHLQON)
through the 'Phrygian and Galatian region,' which took them through
Iconium and presumably Pisidian Antioch, and would have crossed the
rpvoincial frontier into Asia had they not already received a
prohibition (KWLUQENTES) from preaching in the latter province. The
prohibition had perhaps been given at Lystra ..." I suppose it might be
argued that vs. 7 is parallel in construction to vs. 6: the prohibition
comes after the effort to move on into the new territory to do
missionary work. That isn't altogether implausible. Yet my impression
is that the whole movement of 16:6-10 is unitary: their attempts at
further missionary work in Asia Minor were thwarted consistently by the
Holy Spirit because they were destined to move on into Europe. So I
don't really see any clear sequential force to KWLUQENTES following
upon DIHLQON.

>23:27 (where we

>could then take the tribune's words to mean exactly what is

>previously described, rather than a "white lie"),

TON ANDRA TOUTON SULLHMFQENTA hUPO TWN IOUDAIWN KAI MELLONTA
ANAIREISQAI hUP' AUTWN EPISTAS SUN TWi STRATEUMATI EXEILAMHN MAQWN hOTI
RWMAIOS ESTIN.

Yes, you COULD take it that way--but it is not the way it has been
described, and on the surface, it certainly appears that in this letter
the tribune is trying to put himself in the best possible light. I
would not assume this MAQWN is an aor ptc describing subsequent
action.

>and Luke 1:9. KATA TO EQOS THS hIERATEIAS ELACE TOU QUMIASAI EISELQWN
EIS TON NAON TOU KURIOU,

I don't quite see what the suggestion of subsequent action here is. I
take EISELQWN as nom. sg. agreeing with the implicit subject of ELACE
and to indicate what is necessarily prior action: "upon entering into
the temple of the Lord in order to cense"

>Acts 17:26 is also often cited, but theological concerns make it more

>difficult to decide what is in mind. EPOIHSEN TE EX hENOS PAN EQNOS
ANQRWPWN KATOIKEIN EPI PANTOS PROSWPOU THS GHS, hORISAS PROSTETAGMENOUS
KAIROUS KAI TAS hOROQESIAS THS KATOIKIAS AUTWN ...

Okay, but on the surface, it looks to me like this aor ptc, hORISAS,
should be construed with EPOIHSEN, not considered a reference to a
subsequent action.

>In all of these narratives, the

>syntactical order seems to establish the narrative order. Porter,

>in his Verbal Aspect, pp. 385-6 also cites a number of possible

>extra-biblical cases. I came up with a couple of classical instances

>he does not mention, but I don't have them at hand. (My work was

>done in Chicago, I now am in Quito Ecuador and my somewhat "over

>zealous" wife seems to have packed it in the boxes to stay...)

>Robertson's treatment (in the BIG grammar) of the issue is (and I say

>it with great reverence) quite cavalier and does not really answer

>the issues, in my opinion (HTIB="humble though it be").

I've read carefully over what Robertson says in the BIG grammar and in
the "little grammar" as well. I don't really think he's equivocating.

>I would love

>to hear a little more feedback on this!! Another interesting point

>is that in all the possible cases the aorist participle comes after

>the main verb (thus possibly setting up the relation between

>syntactical order and narrative order). Also, in my study of aorist

>participles in Acts (which conveniently I cannot produce at the

>moment), I was surprised to find that aorists of contemporaneous

>action actually outnumbered the aorists of antecedent action. Of

>course, all of this has to do with the larger picture of verbal

>aspect and how far the greek tenses grammaticalize (or not) temporal

>ideas. I would prefer not to enter into that now and stay on the

>issue of the meaning of these passages.

In a later challenging post, Jon listed the following also as
potentially to be understood as aorist participles of subsequent time:
Romans 4:19, 21; Heb. 9:12; Phil. 2:7; and 1 Peter 3:18. Here's my
understanding of these additional passages:

Rom 4:19 KAI MH ASQENHSAS THi PISTEI KATENOHSEN TO hEAUTOU SWMA
NENEKRWMENON, hEKATONTAETHS POU hUPARCWN, KAI THN NEKRWSIN THS MHTRAS
SARRAS; (20) EIS DE THN EPAGGELIAN TOU QEOU OU DIEKRIQH THi APISTIAi
ALL' ENEDUNAMWQH THi PISTEI, DOUS DOXAN TWi QEWi (21) KAI PLHROFORHQEIS
hOTI hO EPHGGELTAI DUNATOS ESTIN KAI POIHSAI.

I don't discern anything that could be understood as aor ptc of
subsequent action here: certainly not the initial ASQENHSAS which must
coordinate with KATENOHSEN, neatly conveying the paradox of faith that
grasps its imagined absurdity even while it does not fail; hUPARCWN is
a present ptc, coordinated also with KATENOHSEN. But since the rfc to
the passage extends to include verse 21, perhaps PLHROFORHQEIS (perhaps
DOUS as well?) is being understood in this instance as the aor ptc of
subsequent action.

I take the sense of PLHROFORHQEIS here as best described in L&N
<color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>#31.45 "PLHROFOREOMAI; PLHROFORIA,
-AS f: to be completely certain of the truth of something - 'to be
absolutely sure, to be certain, complete certainty.'</color>"

At any rate, I still don't see anything problematic here; I would
understand both DOUS and PLHROFORHQEIS as aor ptcs coincident with OU
DIEKRIQH THi APISTIAi ALL'ENEDUNAMWQH THi PISTEI, NOT as indicating
behavior subsequent to the birth of Isaac but rather coincident to his
demonstration of such profound faith.

Heb 9:12 OUDE DI' hAIMATOS TRAGWN KAI MOSCWN DIA DE TOU IDIOU hAIMATOS
EISHLQEN EFAPAX EIS TA hAGIA AIWNIAN LUTRSIN hEURAMENOS

Is it being argued that hEURAMENOS here is an aor ptc of subsequent
action, such that "he discovered an everlasting ransom" only AFTER he
"entered once alone into the inner Sanctum." Surely hEURAMENOS must
refer either to time preceding or time coincident to that of EISHLQEN.

Phil 2:7 ALLA hEAUTON EKENWSEN MORFHN DOULOU LABWN, EN hOMOIWMATI
ANQRWPWN GENOMENOS ...

I can see (I think) the possibility of understanding the participles
LABWN and GENOMENOS as pointing to time subsequent to that of the verb
EKENWSEN, but personally I think it makes more sense to understand them
as circumstantial and referring to the simple action described in
hEAUTON EKENWSEN rather than being temporal in any real sense. I.e., I
think you could convey this as "he emptied himself when he took on the
form of a slave, when he was born in the likeness of humanity ..." but
I'd be more inclined to convey them as adverbial explanatory in sense:
"he emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave (=in that he took
on the form of a slave) and by being born (=in that he was born) in the
likeness of humanity ..."

1 Pet 3:18 hOTI KAI CRISTOS hAPAX PERI hAMARTIWN EPAQEN, DIKAIOS hUPER
ADIKWN, hINA hUMAS PROSAGAGHi TWi QEWi QANATWQEIS MEN SARKI ZWOPOIHQEIS
DE PNEUMATI ...

Nor even here do I see how the aor ptcs QANATWQEIS and ZWOPOIHQEIS
could fall into the category of aor ptcs. of "subsequent action." While
it may surely be said that ZWOPOIHQEIS refers to an event subsequent to
EPAQEN, yet in terms of the syntax of the sentence, BOTH of the ptcs
QANATWQEIS and ZWOPOIHQEIS have to be construed with the aor.
subjunctive of the purpose clause, PROSAGAGHi, so that these ptcs need
to be understood as the foundation upon which Christ's "bringing us
before God" and so either as pointing to prior action or to means.

Let me simply list here, without quoting them, the grammatical
references that I have consulted in the researches bringing me to this
response: <color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>Smyth, Greek Grammar
2060; ATRobertson, A Grammar of the Greek NT, pp. 1112-14; A.T.
Robertson, A Short Grammar of the Greek Testament 460 c; Robert W.
Funk, A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek 845.2 (p.
668); Blass, Debrunner, & Funk, 339 (1) (p. 175); Wallace, Greek
Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 614 (s.v. The Verbal Side of the
Participle, a. Time).

Reference is made to the possible existence of such a grammatical
category as aor ptc of subsequent time and even to the existence of
non-Biblical instances, but nothing cited in any of these discussions
has struck me as genuinely convincing. In my opinion, for what it's
worth, the only passage to which I'd be ready to acknowledge a serious
possibility of instancing such an aor ptc. is </color>Acts
25:13<color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>, where ASPASAMENOI is
coordinated with SUNHNTHSAN; but even that one seems to me best
understood in terms of coordination rather than a greeting action that
follows significantly later than the arrival in Caesarea.

My thanks to Jon Robertson for a very interesting poser. It would
certainly not surprise me if others who may be interested enough to
examine these passages and arguments carefully should reach different
conclusions from my own; it would also not surprise me if there are few
if any who really want to consider the problem seriously. Nevertheless,
I've found this a fascinating exploration, and although I may not have
convinced Jon of the questionability of viewing these passages as
instances of an "aor ptc of subsequent action," I have at least assured
him that his assertion that they are such doesn't go without a
challenge. </color>

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics/Washington University

One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018

Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cconrad@yancey.main.nc.us

WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

</x-rich>



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