You will learn what a participle is, and begin learning how they were used in Ancient Greek.
The verb εἰμί
Learning the participle forms for εἰμί will teach you the pattern needed for forming the participles of all other verbs.
A participle is formed from a verb but is used in many ways like an adjective or noun. Here are some examples of verb forms used as adjectives in English:
Here are some examples of English verb forms used as nouns:
Greek participles may be used in both of these ways, but they may also be used to describe the setting in which something happens. The Greek equivalent of the following English sentences might use a participle.
The first part of each of these sentences (“While Jessica ate breakfast”, “After cooking the meal”) could be expressed with a participle in Ancient Greek.
While the vast majority of verbs in English can be used in this way, one verb has a much more specialized set of uses: the verb to be. Consider the following sentences:
How are the two sentences different?
Obviously, the phrase "being a dentist" replaces the noun "dentistry," but how does that impact the meaning? In the second sentence a verbal element is added. We are no longer talking only about the profession, "dentistry." We are now talking about the ongoing experience of being in that profession. This is one of the roles of the participle of "be": to add a verbal sense, a progressive aspectual sense, to a phrase. Notice that the sentence contains no focus at all on the beginning or ending of being a dentist, but only on the process or experience. This is progressive aspect.
In English, traditional grammarians have called this -ing form (being) the "present" participle to distinguish it from the "past" participle been, although being can clearly be used to talk about things that are not in the present, and been can be used to talk about things that continue in the present.
In both English and Greek, participles do not communicate time directly. Other elements in the sentence contribute that information.
As with the English participle of "be", the Ancient Greek participle of εἰμί had specialized uses that set it apart from other verbs. We should not assume, though, that "be" and εἰμί are equivalent. They are not.
The participle of εἰμί is sometimes used as a noun, often with the article (ὁ, ἡ, τό). In the example below the participial phrase, ὁ ὤν serves as the subject of the verb (ἐστιν), just as a noun phrase could.
ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ κατ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν (Matthew 12:30)
Whoever is not with me is against me.
The one who is not with me is against me.
The person who is not with me is against me.
We do not have a direct grammatical equivalent for this in English, though we can clearly express the relevant idea using the indefine pronoun "whoever" or a phrase like "the one who" or "the person who". In Greek it's simply ὁ ὤν, the article with a participle.
The participle of εἰμί could be used like an adjective to modify a noun. To represent this usage in English, we often need to use a relative clause with who, which, or that.
Εἰσῆλθεν δὲ σατανᾶς εἰς Ἰούδαν ... ὄντα ἐκ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τῶν δώδεκα (Luke 22:3)
And satan entered into Judas ... who was one of the twelve.
Here the participial clause ὄντα ἐκ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τῶν δώδεκα (being one of the twelve) modifies the noun (name) Ἰούδαν. The participle ὄντα is accusative masculine singular, just like the name Ἰούδαν. When the participle is used adjetivally, it always agrees in case, gender, and number with the noun it modifies.
Observe the same participle form (ὄντα) in Luke 23:7.
ἀνέπεμψεν αὐτὸν πρὸς Ἡρῴδην, ὄντα καὶ αὐτὸν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις (Luke 23:7)
He [Pilate] sent him [Jesus] to Herod, him also being in Jerusalem
He sent him to Herod, since Herod was also in Jerusalem
Here again, the form of the participle matches the noun it modifies (Ἡρῴδην) in case, gender, and number.
Quite often, the participle was used to give the context for the action expressed by the main verb in a sentence.
ἐχθροὶ ὄντες κατηλλάγημεν τῷ θεῷ (Romans 5:10)
Being enemies, we were reconciled to God
While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
If the implied subject of the participle is the same as the subject of the verb it is modifying (as it is here), the participle will match the case, gender, and number of the subject of that verb. The particple ὄντες is nominative masculine plural, matching the subject of κατηλλάγημεν (we were reconciled).
When the participle is used adverbially, but its implied subject is not the same as the subject of the main verb, the entire participial clause is given the genitive case.
ὀψίας ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας, ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα. (Mark 11:11)
The hour already being late, he went out to Bethany with his disciples.
Since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with his disciples.
The participial clause (ὀψίας ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας, the hour being late already) gives the rationale for Jesus' action. In this way it modifies the entire main clause. But the subject of the participial clause is not Jesus, so every word in the participial clause that can be marked for case, is given the genitive case. This is known traditionally as a Genitive Absolute.
All Greek participles share some characteristics with verbs (tense/aspect and voice), and other characteristics with adjectives (case and context-sensitive gender).
As you saw in lesson 16, in the indicative mood εἰμί has present and forms (unaugmented) and imperfect forms (augmented). It does not have aorist forms. Just as εἰμί has no aorist indicative forms, it also has no aorist participle forms. The forms shown below are the present participle of εἰμί.
Notice also that the stem seems to be οντ- in the masculine and neuter forms, but ου- in the femine forms. This is not what is actually going on! The stem is οντ- throughout, but spelling changes caused by σ explain what you are seeing. Notice that the stem of the dative plural, even for the masculine and neuter forms, is spelled ου- because the ending begins with σ.
In Hellenistic Greek you cannot find the spelling τσ in any word. Wherever that combination would seem inevitable, the τ is discarded. A very similar rule applies to νσ. Wherever that combination would appear, usually the ν is discarded, but in a few instances, it is the σ that disappears. When the ν is discarded, the stem vowel ο is lengthened to ου. But when the σ is omitted, the vowel does not change. (See, for example the neuter nominative and accusative singular, ον).
The masculine nominative singular form (ὤν) is the only one that does not fit this explanation. The stem vowel lengthens to ω even though the σ was discarded instead of the ν. This makes it clearly distint from the neuter form.
Take a minute now to look at some of the words used in the examples above. Do not try to memorize them yet. Simply read over the list and consider what each word means.
ἀναπέμπω, _____, ἀνέπεμψα, _____, _____, _____
1. send; send back; remit
ἀριθμός, -οῦ, ὁ
1. number (cardinal number)
Note: δώδεκα is indeclinable. That is, it always has the same form, regardless of the gender and case of the noun it modifies.
[παιδίσκος, -η, -ον is a diminuative form of παῖς, child, servant.]
μία τῶν παιδισκῶν
one of the servants
one of the children
Can you tell the gender of the servant? If so, how?
εἷς, μία, and ἕν are the masculine, feminine, and neuter forms of the Greek word for one (1). Since μία is feminine, it was used to refer to one female.
μία τῶν παιδισκῶν
one of the maid servants
one of the girls
ἔρχεται μία τῶν παιδισκῶν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως
One of the maid servants of the high priest came.
One of the high priest's maid servants came.
[κάτω = down; ἡ αὐλή, -ῆς = courtyard]
Καὶ ὄντος τοῦ Πέτρου κάτω ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ ...
And Peter being down in the courtyard ...
While Peter was down in the courtyard...
Καὶ ὄντος τοῦ Πέτρου κάτω ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ ἔρχεται μία τῶν παιδισκῶν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως
And Peter being down in the courtyard, one of the maid servants of the high priest came.
And while Peter was down in the courtyard, one of the high priest's maid servants came.
[ἐκτείνω = I stretch (something) out]
ἐξετείνατε τὰς χεῖρας
You stretched out your hands
Where did "your" come from in the translation above?
In Greek it was not normal to specify whose hands, or feet, or eyes, or any other body part was under discussion if the body part belonged to the person with whom you were speaking. If I were speaking to you about your hands in Ancient Greek, the normal thing to say would be "the hands", not "your hands."
The precise opposite is true in English. If I am talking to you, and I say "the hands", you will automattically assume I mean someone else's hands, not yours.
For this reason, we must include the word "your" in our translation in order to preserve the message communicated by the Greek text. To translate τὰς χεῖρας as "the hands" in this context would misrepresent the meaning of the Greek text.
ἐξετείνατε τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ
You stretched our your hands against me
You grabbed me
οὐκ ἐξετείνατε τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ
You did not grab me
You did not stretch out your hands against me.
11. ὄντος μου μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν
me being with you
while I was with you
[καθ᾿ ἡμέραν = day by day, day after day, etc.]
καθ᾿ ἡμέραν ὄντος μου μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ...
Day after day, while I was with you in the temple ...
Day after day, me being with you in the temple ...
καθ᾿ ἡμέραν ὄντος μου μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ οὐκ ἐξετείνατε τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ
Day after day, while I was in the temple with you, you did not grab me.
Day after day, me being in the temple with you, you did not arrest me.
In the example above, both the participle (ὄντος) and the pronoun (μου) have their genitive case form. Can you tell why?
The pronoun μου tells who was in the temple. It serves as the logical subject of the participle ὄντος. The subject of the participle is not the same as the subject of the main verb (ἐξετείνατε), so both the participle and all of its modifiers are given the genitive case. This is an example of a genitive absolute.