Re: Participle in Matt. 27:35

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 24 1999 - 06:32:29 EST

At 11:44 PM -0500 2/23/99, wrote:
>Greetings! I note that Matthew uses a participle in Mt.27:35 where Mark (and
>Luke and John) use a verb in the indicative mood. Mt.27:35 reads:
>(Mk.15:24) uses an historical present: KAI STAUROUSIN AUTON KAI DIAMERIZONTAI
>TA hIMATIA AUTOU. Both Luke and John use the aorist ESTAURWSAN. I take
>Matthew's construction as a participle of attendant circumstance, and would
>translate "And they crucified him and they divided his garments," rather than
>treating the participle adverbially: "And after having crucified him, they
>divided his garments." In either approach, Matthew's participle seems to me
>to carry a weaker force than the finite verb Mark employs. Matthew's
>construction seems weaker than Mark's - and this, at a crucial (sorry) moment
>in the passion narrative. I accept that Matthew had Mark in front of him. So
>why the weaker expression? Or is this attendant circumstance participle a
>Matthean trait?

I would say simply that Matthew's construction (STAURWSANTES DE AUTON
DIEMERISANTO TA hIMATIA AUTOU) is standard good Greek prose expression of a
sequence of past actions in which the preceding actions are indicated by
aorist participles, the final action by a finite verb. I don't see any
significant difference in meaning whether you call it a participle of
attendant circumstances and translate it the second way, other than that
the first version produces better English. I think both mean the same and I
think that Matthew's construction is the standard Greek narrative prose
combination of participle and finite verb.

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 OR

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