From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sun Jun 01 1997 - 08:09:25 EDT

In Rom 9:22, Paul wrote:


Which interpretation is better:

1. "vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction"
2. "vessels of wrath, having prepared themselves for destruction"

Wallace's "Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics" argues for the first.
Chrysostom said that the perfect participle was to be interpreted as middle
in this verse, and took the second interpretation. Wallace says that
Chrysostom's view "has little to commend it", and goes on to say, for
instance, that middle-passive is always to be taken as passive in the
perfect tense.

I looked for other other middle-passive perfect participles, and found many
examples where the construction seemed to be middle, and many where it
seemed to be passive. Gramcord lists 32 middle-passive perfect participles
which are to be taken as middle. For instance, this looks middle to me:

Mark 1:6 (GNT) kai hn o Iwannhs *endedumenos* tricas kamhlou kai zwnhn
dermatinhn peri thn osfun autou kai esqiwn akridas kai meli agrion.

I think John *wore* camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist.
Translations like "was clothed with" attempt to give this a passive meaning,
but this doesn't feel right to me.

Most instances of the middle-passive perfect participle *do* seem to be
passive, e.g.

Matt 5:10 (GNT) makarioi oi *dediwgmenoi* eneken dikaiosunhs, oti autwn
estin h basileia twn ouranwn.

So both translations actually seem plausible to me. Can anybody comment on this?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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