Re: Questions about AORIST PASSIVE

Carl W. Conrad (
Fri, 15 Nov 1996 10:52:02 -0600

At 11:29 AM -0600 11/15/96, wrote:
>Carl Conrad wrote:
>> On the other hand, however, I would still argue
>>that when the verb> EGEIRW/EGEIROMAI is used of resurrection from the
>>dead, it is without> exception transitive and has either an explicit
>>or implicit agent--God--as> responsible for the resurrection. Which
>>is to say: HGERQH, when it denotes the restoration of life to one
>>who is dead, is not intransitive but passive. And while it is true
>>that the ANESTH does appear later as an intransitive designation of
>>Jesus's resurrection (the Easter formulae: XRISTOS ANESTH/ANESTH
>>ALHQWS), yet the earlier formulation appears to be
>>"God has raised him" or "He has been raised (by God)."
>I am very grateful to Carl Conrad for his excellent and
>exact explanations of so many problems of the New Testament Greek.
>But a master needn't be always precise. In 1 Thess 4:14 -- the
>oldest book of the New Testament according to majority opinion --
>we read: IHSOUS APEQANEN KAI ANESTH. So, ANESTH isn't late. The middle
>voice of the verb EGEIRW, it seems to me, cannot be altogether
>excluded even in the texts concerning the resurrection of Jesus.

This is a very valuable reference; indeed it looks like a confessional
formulation, doesn't it? So yes, ANESTH is about as early as one can get,
particularly if, as many hold, all of Paul's letters are earlier than the
first of the gospels to be published (I realize that this is by no means a
universal view even if it is widely held).

So Randy Leedy is right here: we DO need to re-examine the evidence for an
intransitive use of HGERQH, i.e., of the passive stem of EGEIRW in an
intransitive sense--and it's not necessarily an easy issue to resolve where
there's no indicator of an agent by some hUPO + genitive construction. And
the facts that EGEIRW can mean "awaken" and KOIMAW and the like, verbs for
sleeping, are commonly used of the dead, there's a range to be scrutinized.
I would think (but could be wrong here too!) that the active sense "awaken"
and intransitive sense "awake" would more directly relate to the conception
of resurrection indicated by the verb, rather than that other sense where
EGEIROMAI overlaps with ANISTAMAI, namely "rise from a seated or recumbent
position"--but maybe that shouldn't be excluded either.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR