Re: Questions about AORIST PASSIVE (STREFW)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Nov 16 1996 - 12:07:37 EST

At 10:28 AM -0600 11/16/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I think that I ran into this with Matt 18:3 this week. As I read it, I
>wondered whether STRAFHTE really should be interpreted with passive force:
>Matt 18:3 (GNT) kai eipen: amhn legw umin, ean mh strafhte kai genhsqe ws ta
>paidia, ou mh eiselqhte eis thn basileian twn ouranwn.
>Matt 18:3 (NASU) and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and
>become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
>NASU seeems to give it passive force, others give it middle force, e.g. NIV
>"unless you change and become like little children". I did a quick search
>for other uses of passive STREFW, and the ones I looked at did not seem to
>be passive in force. My favorite example was the first I saw:
>Matt 7:6 (GNT) Mh dwte to agion tois kusin mhde balhte tous margaritas umwn
>emprosqen twn coirwn, mhpote katapathsousin autous en tois posin autwn kai
>strafentes rhxwsin umas.
>Matt 7:6 (NASU) "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your
>pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn
>and tear you to pieces.
>Passive force doesn't make sense here. Just try to picture those pigs
>trampling the pearls, then waiting passively for someone or something to
>turn them so that they can tear you to pieces!

Good point! both uses of STRAFHNAI here should be chalked up as
intransitive or perhaps middle rather than passive. Moreover, it's very
likely, I would guess, that the particular usage of STRAFHNAI in the sense
of "repent" (where one often sees an imperative of METANOEIN) represents
the prophetic Hebrew use of SHUV. What would the Hebraists say about that?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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