Re: Attendant Circumstance Participles

From: Daniel L Christiansen (
Date: Sat Aug 07 1999 - 15:48:46 EDT

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Kevin Smith wrote [snipped]:
<blockquote TYPE=CITE>&nbsp;<font face="Times New Roman">Shawna Steiner
mentioned Wallace's (<i>Greek grammar beyond the basics, </i>1996) criteria
for classifying a participle as an <i>attendant circumstance</i> participle.
Wallace suggests that (a) the pt should be aorist, (b) the main verb should
be aorist, (c) the mood of the verb should be indicative or imperative,
(d) the pt should precede the main vb, and (e) it should occur in narrative
literature. (see p. 642)</font> <font face="Times New Roman">Although my
experience of working with the language is limited, these criteria seem
overly restrictive to me.</font></blockquote>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; By way of clarification, one needs also to read the
paragraph beginning on p. 641.&nbsp; Wallace does not say that all five
conditions listed above must be present for a participle to be considered
as attendant circumstance.&nbsp; Rather, he notes that all five conditions
are present in "90% of attendant circumstance participles."&nbsp; His point
is that, the fewer of these conditions which are present, the less likely
that one is viewing such a participle.&nbsp; Wallace's discussion notes
that it is unlikely for such a participle to not have at least "one or
two" of the conditions present, but that anything is possible.&nbsp; Also,
while the "requirements" as quoted onlist are presented as what should
be, Wallace presents the conditions as descriptions of what usually is.
<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I tend to agree with his position on this point.&nbsp;&nbsp;
Given the nature of attendant circumstance (the logical parameters, rather
than grammatical), I would expect it to be found in narrative most frequently,
and would be surprised to find it joined to a subjunctive or optative idea.&nbsp;
The use of aorists (or present) in most cases also makes sense, given the
too-specific nature of some of the other tenses.&nbsp; I am not sure why
the participle usually precedes the main verb . . . most likely something
to do with emphasis?
<blockquote TYPE=CITE><font face="Times New Roman">Surely Koine speakers
(many 2nd language speakers at that) would not have been sufficiently grammar
sensitive as to restrict their use of att. circ. participles to the situations
Wallace suggests</font></blockquote>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It seems to me that this is a point which could be made
against the grammars of any language: most speakers of English have no
formal training in the language (even if they went to college!), yet they
have no trouble understanding the many subtleties of speakers and writers.&nbsp;
Koine speakers may not have been able to identify attendant circumstantial
participles in their speech; however, that doesn't mean they would not
have followed the standard format of speech being used within their society.
<blockquote TYPE=CITE>&nbsp;<font face="Times New Roman">Furthermore, none
of the other NT grammars I've consulted impose similar restrictions.</font></blockquote>

<p><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Tracking down what some of the older grammarians
think about attendant circumstance can be difficult.&nbsp; For example,
BDF doesn't seem to use the term, and discusses participles in a much more
general manner.&nbsp; Robertson doesn't list conditions a la Wallace; however,
if you take a look at Robertson's examples, you will find that they generally
fall within Wallace's noted parameters.
<br>Daniel L. Christiansen
<br>Department of Bible
<br>Multnomah Bible College
<br>8435 NE Glisan Street
<br>Portland, OR&nbsp; 97220
<br>(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)


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