From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sun Jun 01 1997 - 23:50:23 EDT

At 10:13 PM -0400 6/1/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 08:41 PM 6/1/97 -0400, wrote:
>>Concerning Wallace's comment on the perfect middle/passive participle, I
>>think his point is the all perfect middle/passive participles in the NT
>>should be taken as passive. It seems that the alternate translation "wore"
>>for *endedumenos* in Mark 1:6 is more an active meaning than middle.
>Take a look at BAGD: the active sense of ENDUW is to dress or to clothe
>someone; the middle sense is to clothe oneself in something, i.e. put on or
>wear something.
>If "was clothed in" were a true passive, I think it would imply that someone
>else was clothing John. I don't see how to read this as a true passive. The
>fact that you can come up with a passively phrased English sentence that
>expresses the same thing intelligibly does not mean that the real force of
>the Greek sentence (or the English sentence, for that matter) is passive.

Well said, Jonathan. A true passive of ENDUW *would* imply someone who
dresses John, since ENDUW does not mean "get dressed" or "dress oneself" in
the active voice, but "dress [someone]". This 'someone' becomes the subject
in the passive construction, and person who would have been the subject of
the active verb (the person doing the dressing) may be omitted altogether,
but is implied. The Greek *middle* voice of this verb is more closely
related to our English verb "wear" (which allows the interpretation that
the subject put the cloths on him/herself).

>Also, if he wants to argue that a particular middle/passive participle
>should be taken as passive, then saying that *all* middle/passive
>participles should be taken as passive doesn't prove his point at all, since
>he doesn't prove this latter point either.

In fact, saying that all perfect middle/passive participles are passive
while discussing whether or not to understand a particular perfect particle
as passive is a wonderful example of circular reasoning:

        Should this perfect middle/passive particle be understood as passive?

        1. Yes, since all perfect mid./passive participles are to be taken has

        How do you know they are all to be taken as passive?

        2. Because THIS ONE and all the others I've examined are passive.

        But how do you know this one is passive?

        2. Because all perfect middle/passive participles are passive.

In a earlier post about Romans 9:22 Jonathan wrote:

>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 haven't checked the reference to Wallace's grammar (I have the early
edition which had no index). Does he actually say this so boldly? I find it
a little surprising since I know him to be a very careful exegete and a
skilled grammarian.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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