Re: Passive Infinitive in John 3:30

From: Jim Beale (
Date: Mon May 26 1997 - 09:48:30 EDT

At 1:27 PM -0400 5/26/97, Randy Leedy wrote:

>Someone else has probably already have answered this, but in case
>not, I'll put in a brief word. Lots of verbs (especially those which
>are causative in the active voice) are transitive in the active and
>intransitive in the passive. BAGD usually notes this by dividing the
>article into sections on the active and passive, often labeling the
>passive as intransitive. I'm sure Carl's pet peeve about the way we
>teach the Greek voices comes into play here.
>At any rate, with this verb, the active means "to make [something]
>less"; the passive means "to become less," intransitive. How would
>the Greek writer say "to be made less" (true passive)? As far as I
>know, he would use the passive and leave it for his reader to figure
>out what he means, or else he makes it explicit by some means such as
>adding an agent in the dative or as a prepositional phrase.

I think that if I can place myself in John's context, and infer
from his use of DEI that he refers to the Divine unconditional
necessity, we should supply a TWi QEWi to complete the thought.
I think that John is resigning himself to the course laid out
before him in the Providence of God.

>One of my favorite verbs of this sort is EGEIRW. When we read that
>Jesus HGERQH, should we understand that "He arose" or that "He was
>raised"? I believe we have strong arguments in favor of both
>readings, so I tend to accept them as equally true. Certainly the
>line between passive and intransitive can be mighty fine at times.

And perhaps there is the conscious employment of a systematic
ambiguity on the part of the writers to induce such an effect.

In Christ,
Jim Beale

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:17 EDT