Re: Attendant Circumstance Participles

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat Aug 07 1999 - 16:11:41 EDT

Keven Smith wrote;

>>>>>>>> Shawna Steiner mentioned Wallace's (Greek grammar beyond the
>>>>>>>>basics, 1996) criteria for classifying a participle as an
>>>>>>>>attendant circumstance 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) Although my experience of working with
>>>>>>>>the language is limited, these criteria seem overly restrictive to
>>>>>>>>me. From what I understand, Class. Gk was much more hypotactic
>>>>>>>>than Koine Gk and made more extensive use of participles. I would
>>>>>>>>therefore guess that it frequently used participles to express
>>>>>>>>ideas co-ordinate with that of the main verb, regardless of the
>>>>>>>>tense or the verb or the participle, the mood of the verb, or the
>>>>>>>>genre of the writing. If this is the case, surely it would not
>>>>>>>>have disappeared from Koine to the extent that Wallace's criteria
>>>>>>>>would imply. 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. Furthermore, none of the other NT grammars
>>>>>>>>I've consulted impose similar restrictions. It seems to me that
>>>>>>>>att. circ. participles are a standard feature of Gk style and are
>>>>>>>>more widespread than Wallace believes. (e.g. AFENTES in Heb. 6:1
>>>>>>>>violates 3/5 criteria--FERWMEQA is present, subjunctive and the
>>>>>>>>genre isn't narrative--yet it can only be an att. circ.
>>>>>>>>participle) What is the general feeling on this matter? Is
>>>>>>>>Wallace's view "standard"? Maybe I'm seeing att. circ. participles
>>>>>>>>where I shouldn't be? I'd appreciate your views.<<<<<<

I do not have Wallace's book at home with me and I have not examined the
book closely with regard to the participles, but I would say that the ptc
used for attendant circumstances is more often present following (usually)
the main verb. The main verb is most often (in the NT) an aorist, but I
don't think always. Sometimes a participle can be attendant to another
participle but that may (in the NT) be because of the loose use of the
language. I have not noted that such ptcs are in narrative, but I think
that would be more normal. I happen to have been reading John 19 yesterday
and remembered 19:17 BASTAZWN hEAUTWi TON STAURON EXHLQEN. "Bearing his own
cross he went out." Note that the order of this eg. is unusual.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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