RE: Attendant Circumstance Participles/Antecedent Action construction

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sun Aug 08 1999 - 22:13:34 EDT

Joe Friberg wrote;

>To reiterate Wallace's criteria, they are:
>>(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)

I did not have Wallace at home and did not have a statement of his exact

>First, though, the terminology is confusing. What Wallace calls an
>"attendant circumstance participle" is not the same construction that
>Carlton Winbery [Saturday, August 07, 1999 3:12 PM] calls by the same name
>(Jn 19.17: BASTAZWN is *present*, and he states the particple usually
>follows the main verb). Nor is the *meaning* the same.

I was going by the terminology alone.

>Greenlee's _A Concise Exegetical Grammar of NT Gk_, where he identifies the
>following two different adverbial constructions/functions of participles
>(pp. 57-58):

I have always thought Greenlee an excellent outline of NT Greek Syntax. In
the summer of 1958) I committed virtually every word of this little book to
memory after having made what I considered a bad Grade in Greek. (The pages
in mine were 66-67 instead of 57-58 but the text is identical).

>"9) Attendant circumstance. Normally follows the leading verb in word
>order; normally is present tense. Describes a circumstance as merely
>accompanying the leading verb, with the sense of 'and in addition, this,'
>and semantically in the same mood as the leading verb.... [Note: this is
>Carlton Winbery's usage/example]

I have cited this eg. many times since 1958.
>"10) Coordinate circumstance. Normally precedes the leading verb in word
>order; normally aorist tense. Describes an action coordinate with, prior
>to, and of the same mood semantically as the leading verb, although often
>not equal in importance with the leading verb. It gives new information.
>Its action does not qualify the action of the leading verb. It may be
>translated by the same tense and mood as the leading verb and connected with
>it by 'and'. It occurs with any mood: e.g.,
>Indicative--Jn. 12:36, APELQWN EKRUBH, he departed and hid himself.
>APEOQANHi, unless the grain of whet falls into the ground and dies.
>Imperative--Ac. 16:9, DIABAS EIS MAKEDONIAN BOHQHSON hHMIN, Come over into
>Macedonia and help us.
>Infinitive--Lk. 11:7, OU DUNAMAI ANASTAS DOUNAI SOI, I am not able to arise
>and give to you."
>Note that this second category (#10) essentially matches Wallace's criteria,
>but under a different name. The differences in specifications between
>Wallace and Greenlee is that Greenlee omits (b), counters (c), and omits
>(e). Daniel L Christiansen [Saturday, August 07, 1999 2:49 PM] pointed out
>that Wallace is speaking by way of statistical inference at this point, not
>of grammatical rule, so these differences between Greenlee and Wallace are
>merely descriptive and not prescriptive in nature. [Note further, the
>"narrative" criterion (e) is itself contrary to the "imperative" option of
>criterion (c) :( .]
>Now, for this little noted and largely overlooked construction (Aorist Ptc
>preceding main verb), called Attendant circumstance by Wallace and
>Coordinate circumstance by Greenlee, I offer an alternative designation:
>*Antecedent (Preparatory) Action*. In each case, the action of the
>participle precedes the action of the main verb, and is generally prepartory
>to the main action. It is *not* merely a circumstance, but an integral part
>of the sequence, but temporally and logically antecedent. Hence, the Ptc
>semantically takes on the same mood and tense as the main verb. The
>sequence may also be described semantically as step-Goal (ptc->V),
>emphasizing the telic function and logical prominence of the main V.
>The Antecedent Action construction contrasts with a Present Ptc (before or
>after the verb) construction that can function as a true, simultaneous,
>circumstance (Greenlee's Attendant circumstance).

I try to help students spot this function in the text by encouraging them
to see it as two actions running on parallel tracks though the relationship
is more.


>To say it differently, my conclusions align with Greenlee's minimal criteria
>(Aorist Ptc preceding main verb) as the necessary and sufficient
>specifications for the Antecedent Action construction.
I agree with your terminology for what Wallace calls attendent
circumstances. It is far less confusing.

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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