Re: Rom. 12:15 infinitives

From: Christopher Hutson (
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 13:55:28 EDT


You keep explaining that participles are hybrids between nouns/adjectives
and verbs. That we all know, sure enough. But to say a word is a noun is
not necessarily to say it is the subject of its clause. I am simply
bumfuzzled by your analysis of the syntax in Rom 12:15.

My previous comments are here marked with double >>, and yours with single

>>I was confused
>>by your comment that "The participles contain the subject." The rest made
>>sense to me, but what did that mean?
>The subject- the one doing the weeping or rejoicing.
>Surely the subject of the imperatives
>>in 12:14 and of the infinitives in 12:15 is an implied "you" (hMEIS or
>There is no need for an "implied" "you" because the participle functions in
>such a way that it has both verbal and nominal aspects. The verbal aspect
>says what is bing done and the nominal aspect says who is doing that what.

>> which must be understood as the readers, a group distinct from the
>>group(s) described in the participles. Right?
>No. Paul is directly addressing them as a group and telling them to
>with those in their midst who rejoice and weep with those in their midst
>weep. The readers are the weepers and rejoicers.

This makes no sense to me. I would not automatically assume that all are
members of the same Christian community. In 12:14, "bless those who
persecute you" seems to exhort Christian readers in their response to
non-Christian persecutors. "Bless those who curse" does not mean that
Paul's readers are themselves cursers. They are a group distinct from those
who curse. In 12:14 the participles are the direct objects of the
imperative verbs, not their subjects.

But even if we do assume that all are members of the same community in
12:15, still, Paul is exhorting his readers who are not weeping to weep with
those who are. We have two groups here: weepers and co-weepers. And two
groups there: rejoicers and co-rejoicers.

>> And then in 12:15, the
>>participles are the objects of prepositions (META). So how could they
>>"contain the subject" of the verbs? I don't understand what you were
>>to say here.
>Again, participles work like this- they are nouns with the quality of a
>verb- and verbs with the quality of a noun. They are hybrid- containing
>action and the actor. It is- then- impossible for them NOT to have a
>subject inherent.

I'm sorry, but this seems like evasive gobbledy-gook to me, and I am
surprised, because usually your answers are clear. Of course these are
substantival participles. Of course they have noun-like properties. In
12:15, they serves as objects of the prepositions META.

If I say: TREXEIN META TREXONTWN, I assume that there is a group out there
running, but I do not assume you are in that group. I am telling you to run
with them. TREXONTWN is not the subject of the infinitive TREXEIN. It is
the genitive object of the preposition META. The subject of the imperatival
infinitive is an implied accusative SE or hUMAS.

Your assertion that a participle is like a noun is granted, but that does
not make it the subject of the infinitive.

What am I missing here?


Christopher R. Hutson
          Hood Theological Seminary
          Salisbury, NC 28144

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