Re: Periphrastic construction "EIMI + Participle" in Acts

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 10:05:50 EDT

At 9:53 AM -0400 5/3/00, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>Randall Buth <> said:
>> Post-Alexander, when Heb and Aram came in heavy contact with Greek,
>> bi- and tri-lingual speakers became much more sensitized to ASPECT
>> through using Greek and started to greatly increase periphrastic
>> 'be'-plus-participle constructions in both Hebrew and Aramaic.
>Would this imply koine periphrastic constructions bring 'tense' to the fore?

I'd be more inclined to say that it brings 'aspect' to the fore--when, for
instance, the Johannine prologue says that FWS TO ALHQINON HN ... ERCOMENON
EIS TON KOSMON or Ephesians 2:5 and 2:8 CARITI ESTE SESWiSMENOI. The writer
could have written SESWiSQE both times but seems to want to underscore the
present FACT of salvation by using the participle with the auxiliary,
whereas in the Johannine prologue, the writer seems to want to emphasize
the progressive aspect of the "coming" of the Light; he could certainly
have written HRCETO, and technically that might have meant precisely the
same thing--but I think this illustrates precisely what Randall was saying:
use of the participle with an auxiliary permits the aspectual force of the
participle to weigh in heavily.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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