Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby NathanSmith » March 1st, 2013, 7:51 pm

I came across an interesting paragraph in Anderson & Taylor's Writing Greek regarding attributive adjectives:
There is however an important caution with the attributive use. In Greek the stupid slave necessarily implies a contrast with e.g. the clever slave: it serves to identify the slave in questions. In English adjectives are often added to nouns more casually, to give colour, or to describe a preson's character or behaviour on a particular occasion (rather than to contrast the person with someone else). In Greek here the adjective would have the present participle of ειμι (ὢν οὖσα ὂν: see Chapter 6) added, or an adverb might be used instead.
The stupid slave stole the wine.
ὁ δοῦλος μῶρος ὢν ἒκλεψε τὸν οἶνον.

Perhaps I am the victim of not being widely read outside of the NT and LXX, but I had never come across this concept before. Does it ring true for others? Are there citations in grammars?
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » March 1st, 2013, 10:41 pm

Sounds to me like a linguistically uninformed proposition.

And the translation offered for ὁ δοῦλος μῶρος ὢν ἒκλεψε τὸν οἶνον is inadequate. There's a nuance in the use of the participle that isn't reflected in that rendering. "Because he was stupid the slave stole the wine" or something to that effect is needed.
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby MAubrey » March 2nd, 2013, 12:05 am

NathanSmith wrote:Perhaps I am the victim of not being widely read outside of the NT and LXX, but I had never come across this concept before. Does it ring true for others? Are there citations in grammars?

I'd say its pretty bogus. Greek does make formally marked distinctions between descriptive and restrictive adjectives, but that distinction generally involves word order patterns--descriptive adjectives are invariably post-nominal, which restrictive ones may appear before the noun or after the noun. I've also never seen the participle used that way in general. Maybe its a Classical thing, but it isn't Koine.
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:And the translation offered for ὁ δοῦλος μῶρος ὢν ἒκλεψε τὸν οἶνον is inadequate. There's a nuance in the use of the participle that isn't reflected in that rendering. "Because he was stupid the slave stole the wine" or something to that effect is needed.

No...their translation is perfectly adequate (aside from the fact that its an odd use of the participle). You're reading more into the participle than necessary--for example, τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ in Ephesians 1:1. The more useful generalization about εἰμὶ as a participle in NPs is that is used for referring entities and participants that are located (or possessed) in some manner:

τοὺς ὄντας τῶν Ἰουδαίων πρώτους
'the leaders of the Jews' Acts 28:17

πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ
'to all those in Rome' Rom 1:7

τῷ νόμῳ τῆς ἁμαρτίας τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς μέλεσίν μου
'the law of sin [that] is in my members' Rom 7:23

ἀσπάσασθε τοὺς ἐκ τῶν Ναρκίσσου τοὺς ὄντας ἐν κυρίῳ
'Greek those from [the family of] Narcissus who are in the Lord' Rom 16:11

τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ 
'the churches of God in Judea in Christ Jesus' 1 Thess 2:14
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby NathanSmith » March 2nd, 2013, 1:04 am

MAubrey wrote: Maybe its a Classical thing, but it isn't Koine.

This very well could be, because I've failed to mention that this composition volume's subtitle is "learning to write the language of classical Athens."
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » March 2nd, 2013, 1:24 am

MAubrey wrote:No...their translation is perfectly adequate

Mike:

As I read them, all the examples you've cited are adjectival uses of the participle. The usage in the original post is adverbial. It's not "The slave who is stupid stole the wine."
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby MAubrey » March 2nd, 2013, 2:06 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
MAubrey wrote:No...their translation is perfectly adequate

Mike:

As I read them, all the examples you've cited are adjectival uses of the participle. The usage in the original post is adverbial. It's not "The slave who is stupid stole the wine."

How can you tell?
NathanSmith wrote:This very well could be, because I've failed to mention that this composition volume's subtitle is "learning to write the language of classical Athens."

Ah hah. Well, that would do it. I have looked at some more instances and there are a few more non-restrictive attributives:

Luke 22:3: Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Ἰσκαριώτην ὄντα ἐκ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τῶν δώδεκα
John 19:38: Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἁριμαθαίας ὢν μαθητὴς τοῦ Ἰησοῦ
Acts 24:24 Δρουσίλλῃ τῇ ἰδίᾳ γυναικὶ οὔσῃ Ἰουδαίᾳ

So it seems that the pattern described in your Attic book is still around, but its definitely no longer the standard pattern for descriptive adjectives.
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 2nd, 2013, 4:25 am

Like a lot of writing advice, the particular recommendation seems to be poorly generalized. The use of adjectives is more complex than the advice seems to make it. Unfortunately, the only really good advice for composition is to read so much of good models that one begins to internalize their practice.
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » March 2nd, 2013, 5:00 am

MAubrey wrote:How can you tell?

How can I tell that the examples you cited are adjectival rather than adverbial or how can I tell that the sentence doesn't mean "The slave who is stupid stole the wine"?
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby MAubrey » March 2nd, 2013, 11:27 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
MAubrey wrote:How can you tell?

How can I tell that the examples you cited are adjectival rather than adverbial or how can I tell that the sentence doesn't mean "The slave who is stupid stole the wine"?

How can you tell the usage in the original post is adverbial?
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Re: Use of present participle of ειμι with adjectives?

Postby David Lim » March 2nd, 2013, 2:15 pm

MAubrey wrote:
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
MAubrey wrote:How can you tell?

How can I tell that the examples you cited are adjectival rather than adverbial or how can I tell that the sentence doesn't mean "The slave who is stupid stole the wine"?

How can you tell the usage in the original post is adverbial?

Because it should have been "ο δουλος ο ων μωρος εκλεψε τον οινον" if it were adjectival.
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