Re: Passive Infinitive in John 3:30

From: Jim Beale (
Date: Mon May 26 1997 - 09:27:39 EDT

At 10:40 AM -0700 5/26/97, Lee R. Martin wrote:

>I may be wrong, but it seems that the terminology itself is weak.
>Very simply, I see the the voices this way:
>Active when the subject acts
>passive when the subject is acted upon
>reflexive when the subject acts upon itself
>middle when the subject neither acts nor is there an agent acting upon
>John must decrease. He neither acts nor is acted upon. It is middle.

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the comments. In reply, I ask:

But how can John neither act nor be acted upon? I don't understand
that at all. Wouldn't that be equivalent to saying that there is no
relation between EME and ELATTOUSQAI???

In John 3:30, the active and the middle/passive occur side-by-side;
which according to Robertson, is meant to draw attention to the
distinction (The Big Yellowish One, 805). (He also indicates that
ELATTOUSQAI is passive, _Word Pictures_, ad loc.) How do you see
the distinction?

>I know this is simplistic but it helps me. Part of the difficulty is
>the overlap of form and function. Middle,passive, and reflexive are
>sometimes found in the same form.

That's the problem all right! I guess we must be ever sensitive to
the context! (Q. Do you intend to make reflexive a distinct voice
which is sometimes found in a different form from the middle???)

In Christ,
Jim Beale

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