Reading one scholar's comment on this text, they say the participle θεωροῦσαι is adjectival and give no further comment. In the larger context of the work, "adjectival" should be understood as referring to the "attributive adjective" function of the participle (as opposed to "predicate adjectival", aka conjunct/adverbial). I was struck by this interpretation because, while admittedly possible, it is far from a certain case.Matt. 27:55 Ἦσαν δὲ ἐκεῖ γυναῖκες πολλαὶ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, αἵτινες ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας διακονοῦσαι αὐτῷ·
I understand the passage as follows:
1. ἦσαν is thetic (aka presentational), introducing new people into the scene: "there were many women there"
2. ἀπὸ μακρόθεν goes with the participle, as opposed to the thetic ἦσαν (though I would not argue strenuously if anyone wanted to take it as part of the thetic, giving something like "they were there a long ways off", though that would be a rather locative-heavy thetic, and thetics generally don't like locatives).
3. The participle is not (attributive) adjectival, but conjunct/adverbial/predicate adjectival. It is making a predication describing what the women were doing: "watching from afar"
Others argue this is periphrastic.
What stood out to me the most is that said scholar takes the exact same understanding of the breakdown of the phrases as I do only concludes that the participle is adjectival. It is further confusing in that they point to the NRSV as an example of this "adjectival" understanding. The NRSV reads "Many women were also there, looking on from a distance". Now, arguing from translation about the Greek grammar is neither good practice nor the point of this forum (or this post), but if someone were going to try to translate this passage as an "adverbial"/conjunct/predicate adjective participle, that is exactly how they would do it! To explicitly represent the participle as attributive adjectival would generally be done by turning it into a relative clause: "many women...who were watching..." Within the context of said scholar's argument, taking this clause as a predicate rather than attributive participle goes against the grain of what they are arguing, making the easy dismissal of this reading more attention worthy.
I guess I am not really asking any specific question about the passage, more just thinking in public on this forum about this text. The delineation between predicate and attributive adjectives, in the absence of an article, is often quite dicey. Now that I have sufficiently thought myself through, I shall merely say, anyone else have any thoughts?