[b-greek] Re: present active participle in Hebr. 6:6

From: Kimmo Huovila (kimmo.huovila@helsinki.fi)
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 10:54:54 EDT

dixonps@juno.com wrote:
> On Thu, 03 May 2001 20:54:19 +0300 Kimmo Huovila
> <kimmo.huovila@helsinki.fi> writes:
> > dixonps@juno.com wrote:
> >
> > > No, it does not indicate the time of the action. These
> > > articiples are probably causal and should be taken
> > > as indicating why it is impossible to renew them to
> > > repentance - because, if it were possible to renew
> > > them to repentance, then it would also include a
> > > crucifying to themselves the Son of God and a putting
> > > Him to open shame. But, it is impossible for Christ
> > > to be crucified again. Therefore, it is impossible to
> > > renew them to repentance. Clearcut logical implication
> > > recognized and spelled out by the author.
> >
> > Does the participle ever have this sense? This is no normal causal
> > participle, in which case both propositions (the matrix clause and
> > the participial clause) are both true (simultaneously). In other words,
> > a normal causal participle would say that it is not possible to renew
> > them because 'they do X', not that because 'it would require X'. Very
> > different semantics, IMHO.
> That is an interesting thought. I wonder what a similar construction
> (ADUNATON + present infinitive + present [causal] participle) would
> yield. But, there really is no problem here. The whole thing is
> hypothetical anyhow. The ADUNATON tells us it is actually an impossible
> situation that follows, as the author proves it by assuming it was
> possible to renew such (who had fallen away) to repentance, then showing
> the necessary consequent (a recrucifying of the Son of God) which is
> impossible.
> So, he is really saying, to use your lingo above, when 'they do Y,' 'they
> do X.' But, X is not possible; therefore, neither is Y.

All circumstantial participles seem to express something as true with
the matrix clause (even if only hypothetically).

I think your expression of the author's logic above is not what the text
expresses. Either he is saying X and Y are not possible together, or Y
is not possible because of X (assumed as a true case (even if true only
hypothetically, as might be the case e.g. with a concessive
participle)). There is nothing in the grammar to favor a logic that if X
is not possible, neither is Y. The text says nothing of what follows
from an impossibility of X.

The semantics of the participle is quite loose, but both the matrix
clause and the participial clause are always presented as true (even if
only hypothetically). We could take a look at each of the 8 categories
Wallace gives to circumstantial participles (not that this is a
sacrosanct classification, but useful nevertheless). The 8 categories
are: temporal, manner, means, cause, condition, concession, purpose,

In each case they either (re)crucify or something (impossibility) is
said of the hypothetical case that they do - never is anything said of
the hypothetical case that they do not. This seems to be true of all

Manner and means are hardly likely, because the agent is different: the
participle is plural referring to those with the listed experiences,
whereas the renewer is anyone (it is active, not passive). Also purpose
seems odd. Concession is hardly the solution, either, since who would
have suggested that PARADEIGMATIZEIN Jesus helps being renewed back to
(Christian) repentance? Thus we have temporal, cause, condition, and
result left. (I take the repentance to be of a Christian nature here,
because it is one that the audience had had (sense of renew), and
contextually it is desirable (GAR in verse 4).)

The semantics of the adverbial participle could be underspecified as
being (simultaneously) temporal, cause, and condition. The impossibility
holds because of (re)crucifiction, as long as the ground holds, if it
holds. To try to define it further may be going further than what native
semantic intuition might have been (they in this context were hardly
thinking of these three semantic categories just by the mention of a
participle. Given the general flexibility of participial semantics, I
think that it is a good analytical approach to think of
underspecification (in terms of this modern classification by Wallace).
There are hardly (con)textual reasons to make a more specific

Result would also make some sense. Because they cannot be renewed, they
will (re)crucify and PARADEIGMATIZEIN Jesus. In this case the author
would leave no hope of repentance to these people, only a life of
other view he leaves the possibility of repentance open if they cease
from (re)crucifying and putting Jesus to shame.

Then there is the question of what ANASTAUROW means here. Whatever it
is, it seems that the author thought of it as possible, either really or
hypothetically. A hypothetical view seems to presuppose that the
audience or the author thought that ANASTAUROUN and PARADEIGMATIZEIN
help renew to repentance. This would be the concessive use of the
participle. If that is rejected then there is hardly any reason left to
think that the author did not consider ANASTAUROUN to be possible, but
only hypothetical. I suggest that ANASTAUROW hEAUTWi is used of a mental
attitude here - that would be in the realm of possibility that seems to
presupposed by the author.

So, here are a few thoughts on the participle. I am looking forward to
any of you showing weaknesses in my arguments or conclusions.

Kimmo Huovila

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