Re: Passive Infinitive in John 3:30

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Mon May 26 1997 - 03:53:21 EDT

Jim Beale wrote;
>Mounce tags ELATTOUSQAI as passive. The only other non-active
>infinitive in John is in 3 John 2, which is similar in syntax to
>this case, SE EUODOUSQAI. I think this is passive. Does the
>presence of the accusative help to decide whether the middle or
>passive is in view?
>>This verse always reminds me of the very idiomatic Thucydidean dictum, a
>>sort of expression of the second law of thermodynamics: PANTA FILEI
>>ELATTOUSQAI, "Everything tends to degenerate."
A more difficult use of the middle/passive form is in Heb 2:9. TON . . .
PAR' AGGELOUS HLATTWMENON . . . IHSOUN. "Jesus . . . who was made lower
than angels . . . This is deducted from Psalm 8 where the Psalmist uses
the active form with God as the subject. "You made him lower than angels."
Would not the perf. form be passive as a transformation of the Psalm
passage where God is the subject of the active? In the vs 9 God would be
the understood agent. The old Thayer lexicon as well as Zerwick/Grosvenor
both give these (Jn 3:30 included) as passives. LSJ give definitions only
for the active & Passive.

I would agree with Carl Conrad if we had only Jn 3:30. That seems much
more to me to be reflexive, but that is contra to all the resources that I
have at home at the moment. Heb. 2:9 (cf with 2:7) seems surely to be
passive as a transformation of the active possibly to avoid the use of the
name of YHWH.

Carlton L. Winbery
114 Beall St.
Pineville, LA 71360
Fax (318) 442-4996
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