Romans 9:28 participles

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ronsnider1
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Romans 9:28 participles

Post by ronsnider1 » January 7th, 2016, 1:18 pm

The text:

λόγον γὰρ συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων ποιήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

It seems pretty evident that the participles modify the nominative kurios, but how are they to be understood? Most treat them adverbially, often citing manner.

Any insights are appreciated, and if this has been dealt with earlier, please direct me to the thread.
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Ron Snider
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 7th, 2016, 2:18 pm

I agree that they are adverbial. Let's remove the participles to simplify the sentence:

λόγον γὰρ ποιήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

That's straightforward: "for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth". An adverb, of course, modifies the verb, so συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων tells you the manner in which the Lord ποιήσει - he will carry out his sentence συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων.

Does that address your question?
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ronsnider1
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by ronsnider1 » January 9th, 2016, 4:55 pm

It does, thanks so much.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 9th, 2016, 5:15 pm

Rom. 9:28 λόγον γὰρ συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων ποιήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

I wonder if the distinction between an adjectival participle and an adverbial participle is just another case of doing syntax analysis driven by translation considerations, in other words, how we would say this in an Italian, English, French, German, Swahili or Icelandic? It seems to me that the participle simultaneously limits both κύριος and the verbal idea.

The passage cited is a delightful and notorious exegetical and theological crux partly because the semantic significance of συντέμνω is not particularly lucid. A little flavor of this can be obtained by reviewing Danker (1999, found on the web, a Russian site??)
συντέμνω pf. συντέτμηκα. Pass.: aor. 3 pl. συνετμήθησαν Da 9:24 Theod.; pf. 3 sg. συντέτμηται Da 5:27; ptc. συντετμημένος to put a limit to someth., freq. w. implication of abruptness, cut short, shorten, limit (Aeschyl., Thu. et al.; PCairZen 577, 11 [II B.C.]; LXX) of time (Philippides [Com. Att. III 308 Kock] 25 [IV/III B.C.] ὁ τὸν ἐνιαυτὸν συντεμὼν εἰς μῆνʼ ἕνα; Da 5:26–28 LXX; 9:24 Theod.; Jos., Ant. 1, 152) τοὺς καιρούς B 4:3. A passage not only of uncertain interpretation, but fraught w. textual difficulties as well, is λόγον συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων ποιήσει ὁ κύριος Ro 9:28 (Is 10:22b–23; these two compounds of συν-are also combined in Da 5:26–28 LXX; sim. Da 9:24 Theod.) the Lord will act by accomplishing (συντελέω 2) his word and by shortening or cutting off; in this case the shortening is thought of as referring either to God’s promise to Israel, which will be fulfilled only to a limited degree (RLipsius, BWeiss), or to the Israelite nation, which is to enter into salvation trimmed and cut down, as a (vs. 27) ‘remnant’ (Jülicher, Sickenberger). Others take it to mean: The Lord will act by closing the account and shortening (the time), i.e. God will not prolong indefinitely the period of divine patience (Zahn; sim. also Hofmann and Althaus; cp. the NRSV ‘the Lord will execute his sentence … quickly and decisively’—Mnesimachus [Com. Att. II 436 Kock] 3, 4 [IV B.C.] σύντεμνε=‘make it short, come to the point’; Musonius p. 87, 6 ἵνα συντεμὼν εἴπω=‘in short’; Psellus p. 232, 31 συντεμὼν τὸν λόγον=I will speak concisely; Philostrat., Vi. Apollon. 7, 14 p. 268, 16 λόγους ξυντεμεῖν πάντας=‘bring the speech to a sudden close’. S. CClassen, WienerStud 107/108, ’94/95, 330f on qu. of rhetorical aspect.).—M-M.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 10th, 2016, 1:22 am

There is always a lot made of these participles that act as adverbials in one way or another. Usually it is in relation to their temporal sequence. Let me take Thomas' advice and help you look at these things in a different way.

They are a little foreign and seemingly unwieldy. One of the easiest ways to control something that seems wild is to tame it through rules, classifications and other things that reduce their randomness, which is along the lines of what Clay was saying just now.

There is, however, another way that we can look at things. Where did they come from? What function did they originally fulfill? What happened to them in the period after the New Testament?

The earliest forms of Greek, and so the Poetic traditions that look back to those forms for literary inspiration, are not so full of them. They are basically due to the turn of speech of the historian Thucydides. His style, his way of very often combining two or more verbs in a sentence became fashionable because of the popularity and influence of his "Histories". As Jonathan showed by taking off the participial element of the sentence, there is something added to the narrative (of a chronicler for example) by the addition of the participles, and their related words. Vividness is introduced to what is being described. Generally speaking, relative clauses may give some background information that is not directly in the line of the narrative.

The exact way that a participle relates to the main line of the narrative action has to be handled with some common sense (educated and experienced guessing). Being as this one is in the nominative case, if it is adverbial - i.e. it describes the action of the verb, then it does so far as the subject (actor) of the sentence is able to change and control the timing, manner or circumstances of the verb's execution (if that is the type of verb that it is).

The verb συντελῶν κhas to do with the extent to which it will be done - "(he) completing" something, and συντέμνων is talking perhaps how quickly something will be done - "(he) swift-ing".

What might the difference be between that and the actual adverbs; συντελῶς καὶ συντόμως? I think it is the deliberateness of the action. There is more emphasis on the doer of the action than on the action done. As Clay intimates, English doesn't have that flexibility, and must go with the adverb, as its idiomatic means of express that kind of thing, so it is classified as adverbial in our English language Greek grammar. In Greek though, it describes the action and frame of mind of the actor (subject), and how he will do what is being described.

In Modern Greek, the mediopassive in μένος -η -ο is used as an adjective or in periphrastic verbal forms. The active participle have been reduced to a single indeclinable form -οντας or -ώντας, which has an adverbial function. Before you process that -οντας / -ώντας with your Koine / classical grammar, let me say that it is most likely masculine, nominative, singular. It is the accusative singular form with the addition of a sigma for the nominative. That is like ο Κώστας formed from τον Κώστα (pronounced /toŋ 'gosta/) by the addition of a telic sigma. That is to say that these words συντελῶν and συντέμνων, would be συντελώντας* and συντέμνοντας* if written in the Modern Greek way, and considered to be adverbials. While that Modern Greek retrospective view of Koine Greek grammar is convenient for English, there is some more to it than what interpreting it through Modern Greek eyes gives us - such as we have described above. Modern Greek indeed helps us, but needn't limit us.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 10th, 2016, 4:26 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Rom. 9:28 λόγον γὰρ συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων ποιήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

I wonder if the distinction between an adjectival participle and an adverbial participle is just another case of doing syntax analysis driven by translation considerations, in other words, how we would say this in an Italian, English, French, German, Swahili or Icelandic? It seems to me that the participle simultaneously limits both κύριος and the verbal idea.

Dana and Mantey p226 §201 come very close to admitting that we call this adverbial because we translate it adverbially. Porter (Idioms, 1994 p187, 3.2) "Many grammarians treat this use of the participle as though the participle were modifying the verb alone. ... although the participle is loosely dependent upon the main verb, it also retains its own relation to the subject of the construction ..."

Looking over the context one might argue that ποιήσει is a colorless finite verb inserted to assist the participles which convey the most salient information. If you remove the participles, the sentence no longer contributes anything to the argument.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Romans 9:28 participles

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 10th, 2016, 8:40 pm

For me, the term adverbial is usually a sign that something is being swept under a rug. I've never like calling participles adverbial in favor of terms like circumstantial, conjunct, etc.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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