John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
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PhillipLebsack
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John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by PhillipLebsack » January 17th, 2018, 10:37 am

Hi! So as far as I know this hasn't been posted yet on the forums...

On gntreader.com John 1:6 reads as

"Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·"

From an overall view of the text, it is very clear what the text is saying. Something along of the lines of "There was a man who was sent from God, his name was John."

But the participle ἀπεσταλμένος really perplexes me. My question is, is the participle functioning primarily adjectively or verbally? And in reference to what exactly? I want to fully understand this word in its context.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


~ Phillip
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 17th, 2018, 11:27 am

"Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·"

ἀπεσταλμένος is adjectival with ἄνθρωπος, they are both nominative masculine singular. The discourse articulation of this sentence is presentational. John the Baptist is being introduced for the first time in the narrative.

A student paper on Participles:

https://www.academia.edu/3488970/The_Ca ... rbial_Uses
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 17th, 2018, 2:44 pm

"Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·"

The highlighted text is used to identify the referent of Ἰωάννης, a very common name[1] in the historical setting. ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ is a significant distinguishing characteristic of John the Baptist.

[1] See Richard Bauckham's research on first century names among Palestinian Jews.
Bauckham, Richard. The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007 page 175.

Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006
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PhillipLebsack
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by PhillipLebsack » January 18th, 2018, 8:57 am

Thanks so much for your replies.

I looked over Straub's paper. It was really helpful. Kind of exhaustive, but very helpful.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 18th, 2018, 2:19 pm

PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 18th, 2018, 8:57 am
I looked over Straub's paper. It was really helpful. Kind of exhaustive, but very helpful.
Straub identifies himself as a student of the late Rodney J. Decker. I found a few pages on Decker's site ntresources addressing the question: How to identify the function of participles in New Testament. He walks you through a process of elimination. I haven't tested it, so I don't know if it is bombproof. Probably worth working at.
A System[1] for Identifying Participle Use
Rodney J. Decker, Th.D.
2007
http://ntresources.com/blog/documents/P ... AndExs.pdf
[1] The rules make reference to a chart in Decker's Koine Reader. You don't need the chart to use the rules. Decker's treatment reminds me a lot of the traditional taxonomy for conditional clauses. The process of analysis is divide and conquer, the "scientific" method of 19th-century philology. However, Decker's methodology is not identical in this respect to D. Wallace. Decker was an advocate of the Systemic Functional School. It would be an interesting project to test each step of the analytical process outlined in these six pages.
Last edited by Stirling Bartholomew on January 18th, 2018, 2:45 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 18th, 2018, 2:36 pm

PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 10:37 am
"Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·"
OK, I haven't read all the papers that are mentioned, but let me ask the question this way.

This is a noun followed by a clause governed by a participle, NP. If there were an article, NAP, then it would clearly be adjectival, but it is not articular.

How can I tell if it is:

1. A relative clause in apposition to the noun, versus
2. An adjectival participle

Are these both possible interpretations? What difference would it make for understanding the meaning? What would tell me which interpretation to adopt?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 18th, 2018, 7:22 pm

After looking through Rod Decker's classifications and sub-classifications[1] for participles, Margaret Sim's comments cited in Straub seem to apply somewhat to Decker's analysis. Margaret Sim put the ax to the root of the tree.

Straub[2] "Underdeterminacy" cites Margaret Sim
She argues that in Greek, participles,
especially circumstantial participles,34 are heavily underdetermined, and this contributes to their
utility and frequency of use. In other words, underdeterminancy does not hinder communication,
but it does force the reader/hearer to infer what the speaker/writer meant.
{snip}
She questions the way
in which “many grammar books confidently identify 'temporal,' 'causal,' 'concessive,'
'conditional,' or 'final' participles.” She adds that “participles do in fact conform to such logical
relations with the rest of the sentence, but such a relationship is determined only by context, and
not by temporal or logical markings in the participle.”35

31 Margaret Sim, “Undeterminacy in Greek Participles,” The Bible Translator 55 (July
2004): 348-359. (It appears that a typographical mistake was made by the journal. The article
title contains the word undeterminacy, but within the article Sim consistently refers to the
concept as underdeterminacy. For this reason, the latter term is used in this paper, rather than the
former.)
[1] A System for Identifying Participle Use, Rodney J. Decker, Th.D., 2007, pp. 5-6.
http://ntresources.com/blog/documents/P ... AndExs.pdf

[2] THE CASE OF GREEK PARTICIPLES:
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN ADJECTIVAL AND ADVERBIAL USES
Benjamin Straub
January 2010, pp. 10-11
https://www.academia.edu/3488970/The_Ca ... rbial_Uses
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paorear
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Re: John 1:6 Questions about the participle ἀπεσταλμένος

Post by paorear » January 19th, 2018, 9:57 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
January 18th, 2018, 7:22 pm
After looking through Rod Decker's classifications and sub-classifications[1] for participles, Margaret Sim's comments cited in Straub seem to apply somewhat to Decker's analysis. Margaret Sim put the ax to the root of the tree.
<snip>
Thank you for this Margaret Sim quote, Stirling!
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