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Attendant Circumstance Participles

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#1 Clint Cozier

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 08:27 PM

I'm trying to look at attendant circumstance participles like πορευθέντες in Matt. 28.19 as they relate to imperatives like μαθητεύσατε. I can do a morphological search that captures the construction using AGREE and WITHIN to narrow down the hits. I thought I'd try a syntax search, but the initial participle is an adjunct predicate, while the imperative is another predicate clause (I think that's right). Is there a simple way to capture the construction using syntax?  I'm not sure I understand why both verbals are not in the same predicate unit since they both convey the verbal action of the sentence.



#2 Daniel Semler

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 11:25 PM

Hi Clint,


  It's questions like these that prompted me to ask about syntax theory underlying the syntax charts the other week. How does one go from a language feature like the 'attendant circumstance' participle to a syntax construction. I have not got very far yet since that question was posed though I am doing the reading. In any case I looked up the attendant circumstance participle in Wallace GGBB and found some interesting things. He defines it as having, in perhaps 90% of cases, the following characteristics :


    • The tense of the participle is usually aorist.

    • The tense of the main verb is usually aorist.69

    • The mood of the main verb is usually imperative or indicative.70

    • The participle will precede the main verb—both in word order and time of event (though usually there is a very close proximity).

    • Attendant circumstance participles occur frequently in narrative literature, infrequently elsewhere.71

Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 642.


  Now, having read the text accompanying this I am wondering whether attendant circumstance (AC) is truly a syntactic definition or not. The clausal structure as it relates to AC is not discussed in Wallace so far as I can see. Wallace describes the category as overused by some and denied by others. The way he describes its identification leads me to think that a syntax search will still leave you with a bunch of weeding to do. Undeterred by all the above I pressed on.


The way I normally approach something like this is to open the syntax diagram at a few examples and see how it is presented and then derive the search from it. I suspect this is not the best approach and it's why I am trying to understand the theory. What I found was that the participle is a predicate in an adjunct clause under an overarching predicate phrase. I tried a few things and came up with this :


Attached File  ACSyntax1.jpg   49.48KB   0 downloads


Due to point 5 above and simply to quicken things up a bit I constrained my range to the Gospels. I then set the scope to Chapter which is more or less required. I would like to have used Sentence or rather top level independent clause but neither are supported. I still got 1017 hits which seems an awful lot. It does contain some key examples from Wallace, and the one you are looking at, so it's not hopeless.


I hope this is of some help to you. It was very interesting to do and educational for me so I'm glad you asked about.




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