From: Carlton L. Winbery (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu May 23 1996 - 10:17:16 EDT
Carl Conrad wrote;
>Looking at these two passages:
>(1) Rev 8:12 KAI hH hHMERA MH FANHi TO TRITON AUTHS KAI hH NUX hOMOIWS.
>Well, I suppose it might be argued that TO TRITON AUTHS is object of an
>active verb, but I think it would make more sense to see it as an adverbial
>phrase and understand FANHi as an athematic aorist 3d sg. subj, active in
>form, intransitive in sense--sooner, at any rate, than to assume an
>otherwise unattested aorist active stem. By the way, you certainly don't
>mean FOURTH principal part, do you: pf. active? Isn't that ALWAYS
I meant third pp. My mind was ahead of me.
>(2) Rev 18:23 KAI FWS LUCNOU OU MH FANHi EN SOI ETI ...
>In view of the fact that the preceding clause,
> KAI FWNH MULOU OU MH AKOUSQHi EN SOI ETI ...
>is parallel and DOES have what is unmistakably an aorist passive, I can see
>how it might be argued that FANHi should be understood the same way.
>Nevertheless I really think this is much more clearly an athematic aorist
>3d sg. subj, active in form, intransitive in sense. Is the lamplight being
>MADE TO SHINE? Or is it simply SHINING? At any rate, I would sooner
>understand this FANHi as an aorist passive than as an aorist ACTIVE in any
The old Grimm-Wilke that I used often when at NO Seminary (from some notes
I made give both of these as active. It does mention that the form is of
>To repeat what I posed previously, I really thing that we should understand
>the form EFANHN as an athematic ("second") aorist (active in form,
>intransitive in meaning) corresponding to a sigmatic ("first") aorist EFHNA
>which is active in form and active in meaning.
>And I think that the whole description of so-called "passive deponents" as
>"passive in form but intransitive in meaning" is intolerably obscure
>because it either must be taught as (a) an unintelligible idiosyncracy of
>Greek morphology as related to function, or (b) --what amounts to the same
>thing--a usurpation of the passive FORM for no reason anybody can explain
>to serve an intransitive function. It's much better, I think, to begin with
>the athematic aorists with intransitive function, sometimes in -H-,
>sometimes in -QH-, and then see that THESE aorists have come to assume a
>genuinely passive function that was not native to them. That is to say, it
>is the FUNCTIONING of these aorists AS PASSIVES that is anomalous when they
>do so function; their REGULAR function is as intransitives: compare ESTHSA,
>ESTHN, and ESTAQHN. The athematic aorist ESTHN is intransitive and
>corresponds to the present MIDDLE form hISTAMAI, whereas the sigmatic
>aorist ESTHSA corresponds to the present ACTIVE form hISTHMI. The so-called
>"passive deponents" are altogether inappropriately labeled, IMHO.
Either way you go you have to correct yourself. It seems to me that the
majority of the functions of the athematic sixth pp is either aorist
passive in function or future passive. My students do not seem to have too
much trouble dealing with those exceptions though they are many. I agree
that our descriptive efforts may leave something to be desired for the
history of the language, but we have most of these students for only a
year. Its like pulling hen's teeth to get them to take a second year.
>I am glad that you brought up these passages in Revelation. How are they
>classified, indeed? I am now looking at Schmoller's _Handkonkordanz_ which
>lists separately (I) FAINEIN, 1x FAINESQAI "shine" (LUCERE) and II
>FAINESQAI, FANHNAI : "appear," (APPARERE, PARERE) "seem" (VIDERI). It
>appears, however, that every instance in both category I and category II
>must be understood intransitively: NOT A ONE has any direct object. What we
>have, then, so it "appears" (FAINETAI), is alternate forms, one active, the
>other middle, both of which are used in the same INTRANSITIVE sense.
One other example that I can think of now (at home without Aland, etc.) is
Acts 21:3, ANAFANANTES. This is certainly third pp with the active ptc
ending ANT + third declension endings. I know this form is Doric in
origin, but there is no place in the NT that I am aware where we can
demonstrate an aorist active of FAINW in the form EFHNA. That was my point
in my original post. That a descriptive grammar of the Greek NT should use
words and forms that the students most likely would see in the text.
I am in agreement that for those who will go on to become Greek scholars,
they should study classical Greek as well as LXX, Apostolic Fathers, etc. I
have wished many times that I had studied Homer first. But for most of our
students, one year will teach them to read the best commentaries (good ones
like Burton) and gain some comprehension and feel for the text. I guess as
I have fought the wars thru the years with declining enrollment in advanced
Greek, my hopes have become more modest.
Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
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