From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Mon Jan 27 1997 - 10:24:49 EST

Ronald Ross wrote;
>Dear Greeks,
>I'm a linguist (as opposed to a Greek scholar) who is currently working
>on a paper dealing with the pragmatic / discourse constraints
>(topicality, etc.) that favor and inhibit the use of the agentive
>passive in biblical Greek, specifically in the writings of Luke. (I
>have restricted myself to Luke solely as a means of limiting --for the
>time being-- my data base.) I have been using GramCord to do my
>searches. But I have some questions I would like to ask of those of you
>whose Greek is better than mine.
>I have been basing my GramCord searches on the following parameters:
>Position 1: verb, passive (any person, number, tense, mood, etc.)
>Position 2: preposition hUPO, genitive
>Position 3: noun/pronoun genitive case
>I have, of course, allowed for intervening words between these three
>My general question is does Greek have agentive passive forms that would
>not be detected by such a search? For instance, are there agentive
>passives that carry out agent demotion with propositions other than
>hUPO? Are there passives in which the order of the constituents could
>be different from that assumed above? Greek has a morphological
>passive and a periphrastic passive with some form of the word EIMI +
>passive participle (for example Lk.21.24). Are there published studies
>on the pragmatic or discourse constraints that determine the choice of
>one form over the other? Are deponent verbs (i.e. passive in form but
>active in meaning) allowed to express the passive voice? How? I ask you
>indulgence if in any of these cases I am asking the obvious.

I do not know if all of these appear in Luke but in the NT you also find
the passive with agency expressed by APO James 1:13, DIA (indirect) Jn
3:17, EK 1 Jn 5:1, PARA Lk 1:45 (with passive ptc), and very commonly hUPO.
There is also the genitive (some say ablative) without a preposition used
with participles or adjectives that indicate passive action (Mt. 25:34, 1
Cor. 2:13, Rom 1:6 & 7.

I do not recall specific studies on the use of passives. As to deponent
verbs (its going to take a while Carl) is it possible that such a case as
you describe is in Matt. 21:42? PARA KURIOU EGENETO hAU/TH "This was done
by the Lord."

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Fax (318) 442-4996
Phone (318) 487-7241

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