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Post Nuclear participle clauses - Acts 1:8

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Post Nuclear participle clauses - Acts 1:8

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:18 pm

The information conveyed in a pre-nuclear participial clause is typically backgrounded visà-
vis the information in the nuclear clause ...
In contrast, the information conveyed in a post-nuclear participial clause is often part of the
focal domain of the nuclear clause.

Adverbial Participial Clauses in Koiné Greek: Grounding and Information Structure1
Stephen H. Levinsohn SIL International p.3.



Parsons-Culy [1] note in Acts 1:8 the position of the genitive absolute after the main verb but do not give any explanation. S. Levinsohn [2] has an extensive treatment of pre-nuclear participle clauses in which post-nuclear genitive absolutes are also discussed briefly. A pre-nuclear (i.e., prior to main verb) anarthrous participle clause is used when there is no discontinuity in the narrative. In other words, the sentence beginning with a genitive absolute is not marked for a break in continuity. The information supplied by the genitive absolute is less salient than that of the main verb. In other words it is background information.

On the other hand, a anarthrous participle clause which comes after them main verb may be equal to or more salient than the main verb. The participle in that position does not indicate continuity with the preceding text segment. This is illustrated by the post-nuclear genitive absolute in Acts 1:8 ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς “when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” The verse starts with ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν “ But you will receive power” where ἀλλὰ marks discontinuity and the participle clause is equal to or more salient than the main verb.

In this post I am just asserting these notions without developing an argument to support them. For a detailed argument and exposition you might want to read Levinsohn. http://www-01.sil.org/~levinsohns/GkPar ... lauses.pdf


Acts 1:6 Οἱ μὲν οὖν συνελθόντες ἠρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες· κύριε, εἰ ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ τούτῳ ἀποκαθιστάνεις τὴν βασιλείαν τῷ Ἰσραήλ; 7 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς· οὐχ ὑμῶν ἐστιν γνῶναι χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ, 8 ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς καὶ ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ [ἐν] πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς. 9 Καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν βλεπόντων αὐτῶν ἐπήρθη καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.
—NA-27

Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
—ESV




The GA is used 336 times in the Greek New Testament.5 Only six do not manifest a change of
surface subject between the GA and the nuclear clause, and five of them involve changes in the
role of the subject between experiencer and agent.[3]


This is also illustrated by Acts 1:8 where λήμψεσθε δύναμινyou will receive power” is an experiencer and ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς “when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” is an agent.

[1]Parsons-Culy Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text, Baylor University Press, 2003.

[2] Levinsohn, Stephen H. Discourse features of New Testament Greek: A coursebook. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 2nd Ed 2000, page 187.

[3]Adverbial Participial Clauses in Koiné Greek: Grounding and Information Structure1
Stephen H. Levinsohn SIL International p.2.
http://www-01.sil.org/~levinsohns/GkPar ... lauses.pdf
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
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