Re: Passives

Ronald Ross (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 01:13:57 -0600

Carlton Winbery wrote:

> I do not know if all of these appear in Luke but in the NT you also find
> the passive with agency expressed by APO James 1:13, DIA (indirect) Jn
> 3:17, EK 1 Jn 5:1, PARA Lk 1:45 (with passive ptc), and very commonly hUPO.
> There is also the genitive (some say ablative) without a preposition used
> with participles or adjectives that indicate passive action (Mt. 25:34, 1
> Cor. 2:13, Rom 1:6 & 7.
> I do not recall specific studies on the use of passives. As to deponent
> verbs (its going to take a while Carl) is it possible that such a case as
> you describe is in Matt. 21:42? PARA KURIOU EGENETO hAU/TH "This was done
> by the Lord."

Thank you for this *very* helpful information. Some of the references
you cite were even more helpful than they might have first seemed. For
instance, James 1.13 not only had an example of an agentive passive with
the preposition APO, but also a different constituent order, since the
prepositional phrase constituting the oblique agent is preposed. This
is very interesting because one of the main functions of the passsive
voice is to promote the Patient (direct object) to the status of Topic
and demote the Agent even to the point of omission. By preposing the
oblique Agent it seems to be defeating its purpose by moving it back
into Topic position. The same verse also seems to contain an example of
the prepositionless passive you mention with the Agent in the genitive,
and demonstrates the possibility of passives being formed with
adjectives ('APEIRASTOS'), rather than just with verbs.

Thanks again!

Ron Ross
Department of Linguistics
University of Costa Rica
UBS Consultant