Re: Verb Sequence in Mk 6:36

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 16:36:11 EST

<x-charset ISO-8859-1>Thanks to Joe, Daniel, Wayne (off-list) for some continuing discussion on
this question. I need to spend some time mulling over Joe's very thorough
response but here are a few comments on Daniel's excellent post.

on 03/29/00 7:41 AM, Daniel RiaŌo wrote:

> The very rare construction where two finite verbs in
> the indicative stand in the same sentence, one of them functioning
> as the nucleus of a clause subordinate to the other verb, without
> there being any formal mark of subordination demands that the subject
> of the two verbs be different (the change of subject thus being *the*
> mark of subordination) I don't remember reading about it in Greek
> Grammars, but I've met several examples in the past. I don't have
> any of them at hand, but I could go out and chase some at $2 each
> :-).


You have stated this problem very clearly. I decided to fall back on
Blass-Debrunner-Defunct* #461.2 to look for examples. Luke 3:20 presents
some intriguing problems.

Lk 3:20


If we remove the dubious [KAI] we end up with two fully inflected verbs
(finite) with the same subject but with different objects. There are a
number of ways to sort this out. Do we have two clauses here or one?
Probably two clauses. How are the clauses related to each other?

#1 I would be tempted to see PROSEQHKEN KAI TOUTO EPI PASIN performing an
adverbial function limiting the scope of KATEKLEISEN.

#2 But I could also turn the tables and see KATEKLEISEN TON IWANNHN EN
FULAKHi performing an adverbial function limiting the scope of PROSEQHKEN.

This is where the whole question of verb sequence comes into play. If
constituents which function adverbially to limit the main verb always
precede the main verb then analysis #2 is ruled out. In other words if
PROSEQHKEN was a participle would it most likely precede the main verb?

The question as I originally stated it is somewhat troublesome:

> In the Greek NT we find on occasion two fully inflected verbs in the same
> clause and at the same level of the clause structure.

Do we ever see this with a finite verb in the indicative? Only if we accept
the lack of a clause boundary marker (particle, conjunction, relative
pronoun, etc.) as sufficient evidence that we have only one clause. I don't
think that the lack of such a marker is really sufficient evidence that we
have one clause. I would suggest (tentatively) that either
Change-of-Subject or Change-of-Object are sufficient to mark a different
clause. Only in the case where we have the same subject and object would we
be justified in calling it a single clause and so far I have only found this
with imperatives. There may be cases I have not located.

> When we see two
> fully inflected verbs in the same clause how are we to understand the
> relationship between these verbs? Does one of the verbs function as if it had
> reduced inflection? For example, can a fully inflected verb function
> adverbially to limit the scope of the main verb?

In the case of Luke 3:20 I have suggest that PROSEQHKEN KAI TOUTO EPI PASIN
performs as if PROSEQHKEN were a reduce inflection verb, in this case an
adverbial function limiting the scope of KATEKLEISEN.

Semitic Syntax?

I.H. Marshal, A. Plummer, and BDF all have opinions about the Semitic flavor
of this passage. I don't get much out of these discussions, Semitic or not
Semitic it is part of the grammar of the NT.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*Certain members of the Roehampton Circle as well as others have repeatedly
reminded us that BDF is hopelessly dated. It is still the grammar I use
most. When the Roehampton Circle publish a viable replacement I will
purchase it and use it as well.

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