[b-greek] Re: ECONTES in rom 8.23

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Wed Mar 27 2002 - 07:52:43 EST

At 10:00 AM -0500 3/26/02, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:

Earlier correspondence deleted

>> Moon, you're perfectly within your rights to apply your understanding of
>> Linguistics as you see fit to describing the relationship between the
>> elements here, and others on this list certainly do that too. Nevertheless
>> some of "old fogies" who have learned and even continue to read Greek "the
>> old fashioned way" have found traditional grammatical categories
>> useful--and so, we distinguish two or three types of participial phrases,
>> (1) a clearly substantival sort commonly, even if not always, preceded by
>> an article, (2) an adjectival sort that really does clarify something
>> important to understand about a noun, pronoun or substantive, and that
>> often can be converted to a relative clause in the target language, and (3)
>> an adverbial sort commonly termed "circumstantial" that, although the
>> participle still is in agreement with a substantive, tends to indicate a
>> causal, temporal, concessive relationship between the main predicate and
>> the behavior of the subject. That's a very rough off-the-cuff division of
>> what is commonly taught in academic Greek classes. I personally think that
>> the ECONTES phrase here is adverbial and that it explains WHY "we too" feel
>> the labor pains of the new-age coming to birth just as the
>> universe-at-large suffers those labor pains.
>Carl, I would agree with your judgement if I analyze the sentence
>in terms of traditional grammatical categories. The participial clause
>can be termed "circumstantial". But I wish we had another category
>to explain the function and use of "adverbial" participial clauses,
>because they involve a weaker connection to the main verb than ordinary
>adverbial phrases. That is why I want to "translate" the sentence as
>Also ourselves - having the first fruit of the spirit -
>also we ourselves groan within oursevles.
>The participial clause is "dangling", being loosely connected to the
>main sentence via the case agreement with the subject. The very attempt
>to categorize participial clauses as adjectival or adverbial seems
>Isn't the above sentence simply a compact way to represent the following
>We have the first fruit of the spirit. Even we ourselves groan within

The attempt to categorize participial clauses as adjectival or adverbial is
often aided by an article indicating attributive function of an adjectival
clause, but otherwise you're right--there aren't any given clues.

But note: this is exactly the same as with so-called "subjective" and
"objective" genitives: the structure of the Greek PISTIS IHSOU CRISTOU
gives us no clue as to whether this means "faithfulness of Jesus Christ" or
"faith directed to Jesus Christ." The grammarians' categories of
"subjective/objective genitive" and "adversative/temporal/concessive/causal
participial phrases" are not descriptive of the STRUCTURE of the Greek at
all, but they have a bearing on how we convert the Greek into English. One
must make some effort, I believe, at interpreting the context of a
partipial phrase if one is to convert the Greek into the target language
effectively. The translation you've offered above:

>We have the first fruit of the spirit. Even we ourselves groan within

may have some validity as a minimal conduit of the Greek to English, but
I'd say it's like reducing Pi from 3.14159..... to 3.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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