Re: Acts 1:10

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue May 11 1999 - 13:16:15 EDT

At 11:30 AM +0100 5/11/99, John M. Moe wrote:
>At Acts. 1:10 POREUOMENOU AUTOU is consistently taken as a genitive
>absolute with temporal connotation "as He went up" (NKJV). It seems a
>bit awkward since the verse already has a temporal expression hWS
>ATENIZONTES. My question: could this not be a genitive of apposition?
>rendered something like "As they stood gazing into the heaven where he
>was going?" or would that require the article - TOU POREUOMENOU AUTOU?

(1) I really don't see how that's possible. Although some grammars might
list it, I don't really think a "genitive of apposition" exists as such;
the only construction that might be so-termed of which I am aware is where
an expression such as this is attached to a possessive pronoun or
adjective, as, for example:

        hHYATO MOU THS CEIROS POREUOMENOU "he touched my hand as I walked"
(where MOU is a possessive pronoun properly construed with CEIROS)
        OR--you might see the same expression written with a possessive
adjective thus, still with a genitive of the participle:

        hHYATO THS EMHS CEIROS POREUOMENOU (likewise "he touched my hand as
I walked"). In this instance I think one would say that POREUOMENOU is
genitive because it agrees with an EMOU implicit in the pronominal
adjective EMHS. I know I've seen this in classical Attic, but I'm not sure
I've ever seen it in Koine (which, of course, doesn't mean it isn't found

(2) On the other hand, the genitive absolute IS appropriate here because it
refers to a person different from the subject of ATENIZONTES HSAN; that is
to say, the primary subject of the hWS clause is the plural "they" refering
to the disciples--so the force of the genitive absolute is to function as
an adverbial clause SUBORDINATE to ATENIZONTES HSAN: "While they were
staring into the sky as he was going ..."

(3) Apposition to EIS TON OURANON would really need to be introduced by
some adverbial conjunction, I think, such as hOU or hOPOU or hOPOI or hINA
(except that hOPOI and hINA are more likely to be seen in classical Attic
than in Koine).

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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