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« Hebrew Corner 9: Curse and Bless by John H. Walton | Main | An Interview with John Azumah Author of "My Neighbour's Faith" »


What then is the exegetical significance of the imperatival participle versus a finite imperative? You spoke of the translational issue, but not the exegetical one. What exegetical difference does it make that Matthew used a participle? I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Great post! And, I must say, Steve Runge asks a great followup question! (Steve, if you're the same who also posted to this blog in the very recent past, great post!) It's seems logical that a participle can assume imperatival force under these circumstances. But how would Matthew have been served differently had he used a finite imperative of poreuw?

Steve: Since word order, etc., is your bailiwick, I think you could probably better answer your question than I! In any case, I do not think Matthew intended to convey any significant exegetical nuance when in 28:19 he used the imperatival participle rather than a finite imperative. The construction is certainly more common than a series of finite imperatives. The only exegetical consideration I can think of is that since a participle of intended circumstance tends to be preparatory and receives less emphasis than the main verb, the "going" is less central than the "making disciples."

That makes a lot of sense. I think a series of finite inperatives would tend to be viewed as being parallel. Matthew's formula tends to make the participle of intended circumstances subservient to the main (and finite imperative) verb, and what is, for Jesus, the main issue here: making disciples.

Thanks for your response. Too often translation overshadows exegesis as the end goal of original language study. I wonder if the exegetical point that you made about 'less emphasis on the participle than on the imperative' is what the pastor was trying to assert by arguing for a different translation. As much as we may try to focus students on *understanding* Greek rather than just translating it, translation is too often the only means for expressing that understanding. The project that I have been working on seeks to provide an alternative means of representing this exegetical information like this. Send an email if you are interested in seeing a sample.

Thanks again for the post and response.


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