[b-greek] Re: Matthew 28:19,20

From: Steven Lo Vullo (slovullo@mac.com)
Date: Sun Mar 03 2002 - 15:29:08 EST

on 3/3/02 11:39 AM, Chuck Tripp at ctripp@ptialaska.net wrote:
> I was thinking about this after my earlier email. The meaning of the two
> participle verbs can convey the idea of sequence. I was thinking for
> example one could construct a sentence where the indicative verb is 'build
> houses' and the two participles are 'laying foundations' and 'constructing
> roofs.' It would go something like this: 'go into the world and build
> houses, laying foundations and constructing roofs.' My greek is nowhere
> good enough to construct this in greek (though I think I would throw in a
> word like EPEITE to avoid ambiguity), but imagine this sentence in greek.
> There would be an obvious sequence in the meaning to the two participles.
> The sequence is not inherent to the syntax of the sentence i.e. indicative +
> participle + participle but instead comes out of the meaning of the words.
> My point is this: it is possible that to the first century hearers of this
> sentence that there was an obvious sequence of BAPTIZONTES then DIDASKONTES
> that was as clear as laying foundations and building roofs. The difficulty
> is this discussion is that we are 20 centuries removed from that time. What
> was intuitively obvious to them is less so to us. I am not saying that the
> case can't be made one way or the other, but that one has to go beyond the
> syntax of the sentence to come to a conclusion.

There are two problems here:

(1) This requires us to think in English rather than Greek, where it would
be much more natural to view these adverbial participles as semantically
instrumental (means in this case).

(2) In English, "go into the world and build houses, laying foundations and
constructing roofs" is vague, and without qualifiers such as "first" and
"then" could also easily be taken as instrumental: "Go into the world and
build houses by laying foundations and constructing roofs."

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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