Re: ACTS 10:40

From: Ronald Wong (
Date: Wed Feb 26 1997 - 11:25:09 EST

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> At 8:33 AM -0600 2/26/97, Ronald Wong wrote:
> >Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> >> (1) One of the little points of grammar I've found myself emphasizing
> >> more and more frequently happens to apply here: you tentatively
> >> identify GENESQAI as passive, but actually it is middle. If you have
> >> middle endings and you don't have a clear indication that the verb in
> >> question is being used in a passive sense (which most simply means it
> >> doesn't have the hUPO + genitive agent construction, although there
> >> certainly are passives without a clear expression of agent), then you
> >> ought to assume it is middle and assign it the meaning standard for
> >> the middle of that verb. In this case the verb GINOMAI only appears in
> >> the middle voice (although the root GEN/GON/GN does appear in an
> >> active verb like GENNAW) and normally means "become," "come into
> >> being," or--particularly in the aorist, is often an equivalent of EIMI
> >> which doesn't have an aorist tense. Here I think "to become manifest"
> >> is the basic and simple sense of EMFANH GENESQAI.
> >
> >Carl, sir.
> >
> >isn't the GENESQAI deponent? if it is would that make any bearing what
> >you said...instead of it being the middle voice?
> Ron, this just happens to be one of the things that I throw temper tantrums
> about, one of those boils that's built up over 35+ years of teaching Greek;
> you are probably fortunate not to have been around the last time it burst.
> "Deponent" is precisely the term that I object to, although I'm sure it
> will survive my death by decades and centuries. What I object to is the
> assumption built into the name that this form is somehow out of place
> because it isn't middle or passive in English or whatever language we
> happen to speak--that is, the term is based on the assumption that it is
> natural for a verb with the meaning of GENESQAI to be in the active voice.
> But that's precisely what is not true. It is natural for GENESQAI to be in
> the middle voice (it kicks and screams when you try to put it in the active
> voice!). There are many verbs that have natural forms in the middle voice
> only, and there are several other verbs which, even though they are active
> in one tense and middle in another (e.g. LAMBANW/LHYOMAI/ELABON,
> What's further wrong with the term "deponent" is that, the way voice
> generally is taught, the assumption seems to be that the normal verbs are
> active and passive and middle is an odd-ball thing that Greeks had but that
> we are superior to, we who speak English.
> A more accurate description of the voice system of Greek is that it has two
> real voices, an active and another that would be best called
> "middle-reflexive." What we call "passive" is not really so much a distinct
> voice as a function that is assigned to the middle voice forms when the
> object of an active verb becomes the subject--that's what happens in most
> tenses. In two tenses, the aorist and the future, a distinct passive form
> has developed out of the intransitive aorists in an H- or QH- stem.
> I will put up with the term "deponent" because too many people whom I
> respect continue to use it, but I "groan inwardly" every time I hear anyone
> use that term orally or read it in print. To make a long story short,
> GENESQAI is a verb that was born to be middle voice; it isn't passive; it
> isn't in any way irregular; it is a normal, garden-variety Greek verb that
> happens to be middle, which is to say, like the soul as Plato defines it
> somewhere, it is self-moving, like all respectable verbs of the
> middle-voice persuasion.

with all respect...and a novice's questions.. I understand that the
forms may change in tense...but how does the voice change from tense to
maybe being the novice is the prob...but like what you have used the
verb..AKOUW--"I hear" how does the it change to middle voice because of
I don't argue on the basis of assumption that it must be active...but by

Is this assumption of the "deponent" (sorry for using it again) :) just
in the NT greek?

hoping to learn more!
Ronald Wong
O'Brien, FL.

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