Re: what to do with three adverbs?

From: Daniel L Christiansen (
Date: Thu Jan 27 2000 - 02:08:30 EST

Gordon Goltz wrote:
> I am currently studying Mark 1:29-39, and at the start of v. 35 there are
> three adverbs in a row after the initial KAI--PRWI ENNUCA LIAN. How do you
> handle (and explain) this? I seems like St. Mark is allowing Peter to
> dictate from the Semitic side of his brain.

I would go with "in the early morning, very dark." In other words, "In
the darkness just before dawn."

Having said that-- and leaving aside the question of Peter's dictation
:) -- this is an intriguing phenomenon.

In the GNT, I am aware of only 2 other texts
which concatenate three adverbs: John 19:20 is not of note, since it is
merely a cataloguing of three nationalities, and not interdependent
adverbs; 1Cor 3:2 reads OUDE ETI NUN, which is not difficult, since one
of the adverbs is a negative.

In the LXX, there are some 23 passages with a triple adverb; however,
19 of these are due to the use of negatives (e.g. MH OU MH in 2Kings
2:10 !); in addition, 3 passages have cognate adverbs or pure repetition
(e.g. PRWI PRWI OUK in 2Sam 13:4). Judges 19:9 reads hWDE ETI SHMERON,
but SHMERON doesn't really seem to me ever to function truly as an
adverb. This leaves only 2Mac 15:2 (MHDAMWS hOUTWS AGRIWS), which might
be rendered by "not at all so ferociously."

Perhaps Carl et al may be able to shed light on the frequency of such
constructions in Classical Greek. I will be surprised, however, to hear
that this construction (apart from negatives) is often used. Regardless
of the specific language in question, it seems to me that piling
adverbials on adverbials taxes the hearer's logical faculties
**exceedingly far too much** to be used in any "normal" conversation or
narrative situation. Of course, I could be wrong :)


Daniel L. Christiansen
Department of Bible
Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR  97220
(Also Portland Bible College, Prof of Biblical Languages)

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