Re: PARAGETAI in 1 John 2:8, 17

From: Ronald Ross (
Date: Wed Mar 05 1997 - 17:39:01 EST

Jim West wrote:
> At 12:49 PM 3/5/97 -0800, you wrote:
> >Question: Why is PARAGETAI ("is passing away") in 1 John 2:8 and 17
> >evaluated as passive by BAGD and LSJ?
> It is taken as a "divine passive"- thus, God is the one who brings the
> passing away to be.
> > Its meaning seems so middle to me
> >unless there is some causation: "is led off," "is forced to disappear."
> The Divine passive, as above.
> >Curiously, the active form has both an active and intransitive meaning
> >(e.g., 1 Cor. 7:31). Is this just another sign of AGW's flexibility? Any
> >ideas, Kratistoi Grammateis?
> >
> >Thanks,
> >S. M. Baugh
> >Westminster Theological Seminary
> >in California


> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Jim West
> Adjunct Professor of Bible
> Quartz Hill School of Theology

I know that traditionally Koine Greek scholars have put a lot of stock
in the "divine passive". I can't affirm such a thing doesn't exist, but
I am inclined to agree with Porter (Idioms of the GNT, p.65) when he
says, after pointing out that most putative examples are in the Gospels,
"Scholarly speculation is that direct reference to God was avoided out
of reverence and respect, although the relatively frequent mention of
God in the Gospels minimizes this rationale." The passive voice has
lots of other things to do, such as let us talk about the patient rather
than the agent of an action by demoting the agent from the position of
subject to the position an oblique (prepositional) case, or even
omitting it altogether and promoting the patient to subject position.
However in this particular case, it doesn't seem to be semantically
passive and there doesn't seem to be any agent lurking in the shadows.
It appears to be an intransitive use of the a motion verb, and this
seems to be the position of Blass and Debrunner (section 308), although
at times I confess to having difficulty following their laconic prose.

Ron Ross

> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Jim West
> Adjunct Professor of Bible
> Quartz Hill School of Theology
> or

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