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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

greek article with a participle

The articular participle is another standard use of the greek article. Since the participle is inflected for case number and gender, the function of the article cannot be explained as providing this information like it is with the infinitive.

2Cor. 8:1 Γνωρίζομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν δεδομένην ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Μακεδονίας, 2 ὅτι ἐν πολλῇ δοκιμῇ θλίψεως ἡ περισσεία τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτῶν καὶ ἡ κατὰ βάθους πτωχεία αὐτῶν ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς ἁπλότητος αὐτῶν·

Here we see τὴν δεδομένην which qualifies τὴν χάριν and is separated by the adnominal genitive τοῦ θεοῦ. It is common for traditional grammars to explain this use of the article before the participle as functioning like a relative pronoun introducing a subordinate clause. I sometimes wonder if that explanation is motivated primarily by english syntax. We tend to explain greek syntax in terms of our native language. This is a difficult habit to break. I am guilty of it. The traditional NT greek grammars are full of translation exercises, every greek idiom is explained in terms of how it would be said in english. I sometimes wonder if a professor who teaches first and second year greek for decades and decades ever stops to think about what he is doing. I don't see much evidence of this in the most widely used publications for seminary greek classes.

This participle behaves like an adjective. The article serves a syntactical function. It marks the participle as occupying the position of an attributive adjective. Herbert W. Smyth #1156


Anonymous Luke Johnson said...

Good observations! Though, I've never heard of an "adnominal" genitive. How does that one work?

I don't know if you've seen these articles yet, but Marty Culy has published a couple of very helpful articles on participles in Koine Greek:

Double Case Constructions

The Clue is in the Case

8:19 PM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Thank Luke,

I have read the articles by Martin Culy. I try and read all of his articles. His linguistic framework is somewhat different from mine.

8:25 AM  

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