Re: Questions about AORIST PASSIVE

From: Lee R. Martin (
Date: Sat Nov 16 1996 - 03:36:11 EST

Dear Carl,

Thank you for your thoughtful responses (as usual). One thing I failed
to mention, however, was reason that I began looking into the passives
that are used like the middle (intransitive). That reason is the Hebrew
Niphal stem. I do not like to impose too many Semiticism upon the NT
text, but this one MAY be a possibility. The niphal functions as a
double-status stem. It may be passive, if an agent is stated or
implied. Or, it may be middle (or even reflexive). As an expert in the
Classics, you could tell me whether the Greek passive often functions
like the middle. What do you think?

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> At 11:29 AM -0600 11/15/96, wrote:
> >Carl Conrad wrote:
> >
> >> On the other hand, however, I would still argue
> >>that when the verb> EGEIRW/EGEIROMAI is used of resurrection from the
> >>dead, it is without> exception transitive and has either an explicit
> >>or implicit agent--God--as> responsible for the resurrection. Which
> >>is to say: HGERQH, when it denotes the restoration of life to one
> >>who is dead, is not intransitive but passive. And while it is true
> >>that the ANESTH does appear later as an intransitive designation of
> >>Jesus's resurrection (the Easter formulae: XRISTOS ANESTH/ANESTH
> >>ALHQWS), yet the earlier formulation appears to be
> >>"God has raised him" or "He has been raised (by God)."
> >
> >I am very grateful to Carl Conrad for his excellent and
> >exact explanations of so many problems of the New Testament Greek.
> >But a master needn't be always precise. In 1 Thess 4:14 -- the
> >oldest book of the New Testament according to majority opinion --
> >we read: IHSOUS APEQANEN KAI ANESTH. So, ANESTH isn't late. The middle
> >voice of the verb EGEIRW, it seems to me, cannot be altogether
> >excluded even in the texts concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
> This is a very valuable reference; indeed it looks like a confessional
> formulation, doesn't it? So yes, ANESTH is about as early as one can get,
> particularly if, as many hold, all of Paul's letters are earlier than the
> first of the gospels to be published (I realize that this is by no means a
> universal view even if it is widely held).
> So Randy Leedy is right here: we DO need to re-examine the evidence for an
> intransitive use of HGERQH, i.e., of the passive stem of EGEIRW in an
> intransitive sense--and it's not necessarily an easy issue to resolve where
> there's no indicator of an agent by some hUPO + genitive construction. And
> the facts that EGEIRW can mean "awaken" and KOIMAW and the like, verbs for
> sleeping, are commonly used of the dead, there's a range to be scrutinized.
> I would think (but could be wrong here too!) that the active sense "awaken"
> and intransitive sense "awake" would more directly relate to the conception
> of resurrection indicated by the verb, rather than that other sense where
> EGEIROMAI overlaps with ANISTAMAI, namely "rise from a seated or recumbent
> position"--but maybe that shouldn't be excluded either.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University
> One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
> (314) 935-4018
> OR
> WWW:

Lee R. Martin
Part-Time Instructor in Hebrew and Biblical Studies
Church of God Theological Seminary
Cleveland, TN 37311
Pastor, Prospect Church of God

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