ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

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MGV Hoffman
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Joined: December 29th, 2011, 1:28 am

ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by MGV Hoffman »

I'm trying to make sense of Matthew's use of ὡμοιώθη in 3 parables of Jesus.
-13.24: weeds and wheat w/ the fiery destruction of the weeds
-18.23: the unforgiving slave who ends up being tortured
-22.2: the wedding banquet where the city gets burned up and the one person w/out the garment ends up in outer darkness
I.e., these are all quite severe judgment parables.

The synoptics all regularly use some form of the ομοι- stem:
- ὁμοία ἐστὶν
- With Indicative: future passive: ὁμοιωθήσεται or future active: ὁμοιώσω
- With subjunctive: ὁμοιώσωμεν (ὁμοιώσω)
The odd usage is the Matthean aorist passive indicative ὡμοιώθη. >> The kingdom of the heavens was like...

I found this article by DA Carson in NTS 31.1985, 277-282 "The homoios word-group as introduction to some Matthean parables"
He noted that it was distinctive, and to summarize:
A) It’s a passive deponent >> NOT “was likened” but simply “was like”
B) He takes it as “gnomic” or “effective” aorist. >> NOT “was like” but “has become like”
C) the real sense is: “The kingdom of heaven has become like the case of a person who…”
>> “Mt uses the aorist to affirm that Jesus claims the kingdom has already dawned in his own mission, and therefore failure to recognize it in Jesus’ day was already a mark of spiritual hardness.”

While that certainly is a possibility, I am wondering if does indeed mean something more like: "The kingdom of heaven was (understood to be) like.."
I.e., I'm wondering if the aorist passive is similar to the aorist passive ἐρρέθη in Matt 5.21, 27, 31, 33, 38; 5.43 where Jesus states: "You heard that it was said..., but I say..."
I.e., in those three parables where ὡμοιώθη is used, we are not to read it as positive parable but as parable contrasting what common conception has been, in contrast to a new understanding of God's dominion that Jesus is trying to communicate.
(I will grant that my sense is that Matthew reads the parables as positive ones, but it's interesting that just the three parables noted used this introduction.)
Thanks for any insight!
Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

1. With all due respect to Carson, ὁμοιόω is no where else treated as a deponent in the aorist. If it shows up in the aorist passive, it's simply passive.

2. I think the category to consider this, however, is gnomic. Cf. BDF:
333. The gnomic and futuristic aorist. (1) An act which is valid for all time can be expressed by the aorist, either because the aorist indicative serves for a non-existent perfective present (for which the imperfective present can also be used, §320), or because (originally at least) the author had a specific case in mind in which the act had been realized (cf. the parabolic narratives in Mk 4:3–9, Lk 10:30–5 and Aesop’s Fables; Abel 256). This gnomic aorist appears infrequently in the NT and is found nearly always in comparisons or in conjunction with them...
Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 171). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

We often translate gnomic aorists as present tense in English to capture the same force.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
MGV Hoffman
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Joined: December 29th, 2011, 1:28 am

Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by MGV Hoffman »

Thank you!
I agree about the passive nature of the verb. (not deponent, whatever that means!)
So as gnomic >>
The kingdom of heaven is likened to...
OR
The kingdom of heaven is compared to...

(NOT: The kingdom of heaven is like... << which is how NASB, NIV, CEB translate, though the difference is not significant)
Stephen Carlson
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Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Stephen Carlson »

Gnomic sounds right for this aorist. I do wonder if they are preferred in judgment contexts.

"Deponent" is deprecated terminology; "middle" is better. What I think is going on is that Carson views "passive" narrowly as having an external agent in mind, which is not the case here, so he says "deponent." I'd say that ὡμοιώθη is one of the cases where the aorist "passive" is encroaching on the territory of the middle, whether it's a spontaneous process or some de-agentival process. In any event, the agent is not really in view here.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Stephen Carlson wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:54 pm Gnomic sounds right for this aorist. I do wonder if they are preferred in judgment contexts.

"Deponent" is deprecated terminology; "middle" is better. What I think is going on is that Carson views "passive" narrowly as having an external agent in mind, which is not the case here, so he says "deponent." I'd say that ὡμοιώθη is one of the cases where the aorist "passive" is encroaching on the territory of the middle, whether it's a spontaneous process or some de-agentival process. In any event, the agent is not really in view here.
It's deprecated by a relatively small number of NT scholars. The vast majority of classicists have no problem with it, as long as it's properly defined.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3062
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
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Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Stephen Carlson »

Barry Hofstetter wrote: April 8th, 2021, 7:52 am
Stephen Carlson wrote: April 7th, 2021, 9:54 pm Gnomic sounds right for this aorist. I do wonder if they are preferred in judgment contexts.

"Deponent" is deprecated terminology; "middle" is better. What I think is going on is that Carson views "passive" narrowly as having an external agent in mind, which is not the case here, so he says "deponent." I'd say that ὡμοιώθη is one of the cases where the aorist "passive" is encroaching on the territory of the middle, whether it's a spontaneous process or some de-agentival process. In any event, the agent is not really in view here.
It's deprecated by a relatively small number of NT scholars. The vast majority of classicists have no problem with it, as long as it's properly defined.
Sorry, but you’re just behind the curve on this one. It’s being taken out of the textbooks.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1950
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Stephen Carlson wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:46 pm Sorry, but you’re just behind the curve on this one. It’s being taken out of the textbooks.
Such as?
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3062
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: ὡμοιώθη in parables of Matthew 13.24; 18.23; 22.2

Post by Stephen Carlson »

Barry Hofstetter wrote: April 9th, 2021, 5:28 am
Stephen Carlson wrote: April 8th, 2021, 5:46 pm Sorry, but you’re just behind the curve on this one. It’s being taken out of the textbooks.
Such as?
Decker’s immediately comes to mind.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
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