ταπεινωθήσεται / ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν vs. Ταπεινώθητε

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Stephen Hughes
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ταπεινωθήσεται / ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν vs. Ταπεινώθητε

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 15th, 2015, 9:07 am

Subject-affected imperative vs. reflexive (subject-self-affected??) imperative
Matthew 23:12 wrote:Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτόν, ταπεινωθήσεται· καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν, ὑψωθήσεται.
will humble himself
James 4:10 wrote:Ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Humble yourselves ...
Apart from the person, mood and time reference, is there a difference between ταπεινοῖ ἑαυτόν and ταπεινοῦται? (It seems yes - ταπεινωθήσεται is directly contrasted with ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν).
Are they only equivalent because it is imperative? (And an imperative requires someone to do it themselves).

[cf. Sirach 3:18 ταπείνου σεαυτόν - a reflexive imperative.]
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: ταπεινωθήσεται / ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν vs. Ταπεινώθητε

Post by cwconrad » March 15th, 2015, 1:12 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Subject-affected imperative vs. reflexive (subject-self-affected??) imperative
Matthew 23:12 wrote:Ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτόν, ταπεινωθήσεται· καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν, ὑψωθήσεται.
will humble himself
James 4:10 wrote:Ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Humble yourselves ...
Apart from the person, mood and time reference, is there a difference between ταπεινοῖ ἑαυτόν and ταπεινοῦται? (It seems yes - ταπεινωθήσεται is directly contrasted with ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν).
Are they only equivalent because it is imperative? (And an imperative requires someone to do it themselves).

[cf. Sirach 3:18 ταπείνου σεαυτόν - a reflexive imperative.]
Is ταπείνου here a contraction of ταπείνο-ε or of ταπείνε-(σ)ο? i.e., is it active or middle 2 sg. imperative? Probably active.

I've done a quick -- really, much too quick -- look through instances of ταπεινοῦν in the GNT and in the LXX. My first thoughts are these: ταπεινοῦν is a causative transitive verb derived from the adjective ταπεινός. I think that the active form with the reflexive pronoun is more likely to be employed here and that the θη forms too are going to be genuinely passive, for the most part, although clearly Ταπεινώθητε must be middle -- direct reflexive.
One might also question the form in Phil 4:12 οἶδα καὶ ταπεινοῦσθαι -- is that middle or passive? A case could be made for either option -- which may be one reason why Greek, for the most part, doesn't try to grammaticalize the distinction.
I think there may be considerably more to be clarified about this matter.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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