Re: 1Co 1.18

From: Shaughn Daniel (
Date: Sun May 05 1996 - 00:06:27 EDT


>So far as I can tell, SWZW is used in the middle principally for "to save
>*for* oneself" or "to recall"
>("to save in one's mind"). While I suppose Paul may be innovating, I would
>hope to see an
> argument to back up the claim.

OK, then back up the claim that "to save *for* oneself" is properly and
principally middle! <grin> If you don't have the time to demonstrate it
here, then please tell me how one would demonstrate that. I suppose the
approach that I would take is this: if all middle/passive occurrences of
SWZW-words in LXX point towards "to save *for* oneself" AND/OR are
ambiguous, and if Paul depends on the LXX anywhere near his SWZW passages,
then we've got a case. Further areas would include LXX and HB verbs
compared, then Paul with greater NT, and then with Hellenistic literature.

>One of the hardest jobs I have is persuading students that people didn't
>simply use the middle
> voice to
>express reflexive constructions, but that some verbs were used in the
>middle voice with specific
>significance (and others weren't). And the middle *doesn't* simply express
>action with respect to
>oneself, but that its significance varies widely from deponent forms to
>standard action-for-self.

I need persuading, of course, but what you are saying isn't new to me. It's
just that PRINCIPLE usages mean practically nothing to me anymore, except
that Paul doesn't know Greek worth a hoot when measured with a fine-tooth
comb against his hellenistic counterparts. I could demonstrate that this
Greek word is used principally everytime as such-and-such and that doesn't
make one iota of sense when Paul chooses to use Semitic grammar to construe
his Greek. To make the task even more difficult: we have a 50/50 chance on
everything. Maybe he's using Semitic categories, maybe he is using thoughts
developed out of philosophical debates in synagogue concerning LXX
rendition, or maybe he is just depending on his "Jesus told me this" story.
It's not that I disrespect the man for that. It just makes him very hard to
figure out.

> By the way--and I realize that here I'm tangling threads, I apologize--as
>I work on (yet another)
> introductory Greek textbook, I wanted to include a section on Greek
>idiomatic phrases.
> I'll include KAI
> TA LOIPA and KAI EGENETO, and various others; have you all any favorite
> that I may be
> missing?

YES! LXX Greek idiomatic phrases -> Pauline language/NT. I can't think of
any off hand, but I'm certain that they exist.

Shaughn Daniel
Tuebingen, Germany

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