Attributive Aorist Participles In Protasis, In The New Testament -- By: W. G. Ballantine

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 046:182 (Apr 1889)
Article: Attributive Aorist Participles In Protasis, In The New Testament
Author: W. G. Ballantine


Attributive Aorist Participles In Protasis, In The New Testament

Rev. W. G. Ballantine

It is a familiar principle of Greek grammar that a participle preceded by the article may be used substantively and is then equivalent to he who or those who with a finite verb.1 Accordingly we have ὁ κλέπτων, he who steals, ὁ πιστεύων, he who believes, ὁ ἀγαπῶν, he who loves, and similar expressions without number. The large majority of such participles are in the present tense, but those of the other tenses are not infrequent. It is the purpose of this inquiry to account for the tense in a certain class of cases when the participle is in the aorist. Incidentally, for the sake of discrimination, it will be necessary to consider somewhat the other uses of the aorist and those of the present.

That an aorist participle connotes generally time antecedent to that of the leading verb is fully recognized on all hands, but the failure of our grammars and commentaries to account satisfactorily for the aorist in those cases where it is unnatural to think of antecedent time has thrown a shade of uncertainty over the whole subject.

After careful study of many instances, we believe the two following rules can be sustained: —

Rule 1. The phrase ολύσας generally corresponds to ὃς ἔλυσε he who loosed. It then expresses time antecedent to that of the leading verb, except when the participle and verb express different aspects of the same act.

Rule 2. The phrase ὁ λύσας occasionally corresponds to ὃς ἂν λύση. It is then equivalent to the protasis of a present general supposition, whoever looses, or to that of a future general supposition, whoever shall loose.

The fact that a participle may be equivalent to a finite verb of any mood of the same tense is generally recognized. It is explicitly stated in Goodwin’s Greek Moods and Tenses § 52. 1; but the full application of the principle to cases of the attributive participle such as we are now considering is not there indicated. It is to Professor T. D. Seymour, of Yale, in a paper “On the Use of the Aorist Participle in Greek,” published in the Transactions of the American Philological Association, 1881, that we owe the first complete exhibition of this second rule. But he makes no reference to the New Testament, and it will not d...

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