Re: hWMIOWQH: Says who?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Apr 14 1997 - 06:54:00 EDT

At 4:12 AM -0500 4/14/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Ellen Adams <>
>Date: Sun, 13 Apr 1997 22:54:44 -0600
>Subject: hOMIOWQH: Says who?
>>A friend of mine is doing his thesis on parables.
>>He noticed the instances in Matthew where the word hWMIOWQH is in the
>>aorist passive. Literally, wouldn't that mean "was compared to" (aorist
>>passive indicative)?
>BAGD says that the active meaning of hOMOIOW is "make like TINA TINI", and
>the passive meaning is "become like, be like".
>I think some translations say "the kingdom of heaven is like", which isn't
>too bad. The other interesting thing about this, though, is the use of the
>aorist here. This example makes interesting data...does anybody know of a
>good discussion of the meaning of the aorist in hWMIOWQH?

I don't know offhand whether the word is discussed in either of the two old
classics on parables--C.H.Dodd and Joachim Jeremias--but I'll check at the
office later.

This verb is interesting in two respects, however, the aorist AND the
passive--if it really is passive. Certainly it has the -QH- commonly
associated with the aorist passive but also associated with the so-called
"passive deponents" that tend to be intransitive in meaning.

This strikes me as being more of an aorist intransitive verb than one that
is truly passive. It also strikes me as being in the "gnomic" category of
timeless aorists. I'm looking at Schmoller's Handkonkordanz which (a)
offers quite a variety of meanings: ACTIVE: deem similar, call similar,
make like (+ dat); PASSIVE: be likened to, become like, be like, imitate;
and (b) lists quite a variety of forms:
        Mt 6:8 MH hOMOIWQHTE AUTOIS "Don't be like them."
        Mt 7:24 hOMOIWQHSETAI "He will be like ..."
        Mt 11:36 TINI DE hOMOIWSW THN GENEAN TAUTHN "To what shall I liken ...?
        Mt 13:24 hWMOIWQH hH BASILEIA ... ANQRWPWi "The kingdom is like ..."
        Mt 25:1 hOMOIWQHSETAI ... DEKA PARQENOIS " ... will be like ..."
        Mk 4:30 PWS hOMOIWSWMEN THN BASILEIAN ? "What shall we liken ...?"
        Lk 13:18 TINI hOMOIWSW? "To what shall I liken ...?"
        Acts 14:11 hOI QEOI hOMOIWQENTES ANQRWPOIS ...
        Rom 9:29 hWS GOMORRA AN hWMOIWYHMEN "We would have been like ..."
be like his brohers in every respect ..."

Definitely worth further investigation. I suspect assimilation to the older
(already in Homer present active EISKW but more common perfect intransitive
EOIKE(N) + dative. ("is like")--a real stative verb. I wonder whether the
aorist of a gnomic type isn't functioning in these aorist and future
passives very much like an old-fashioned stative verb.

Probably there's a standard work that has researched all this. Otherwise
all this is top-of-the-head speculation.

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

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