From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Jun 02 1997 - 08:30:28 EDT

At 08:17 AM 6/2/97 -0400, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
>I would like to voice a note of caution in this exercise in identifying
>whether a particular medio-passive perfect participle is middle or
>passive. We must be cognizant of the possibility that the meaning of
>this participle may be (intentionally) left imprecise. The formal
>morphology of Greek allows for either possibility, and the perfect
>"tense" puts the focus on the present state that resulted from a past
>action. Thus, in Mk1:6, John the baptizer's present state is that he
>is endued with the camel's hair and leather belt. Who endued John is
>not the point of the author and neither of Matthew, by the way (John
>had a garment).


Thanks, Stephen, this really helps - I had spent some time sweating blood
over specific middle-passive perfect participles, but looking at them again,
there really isn't any reason to worry about whether most of these are
middle or passive - the meaning is clear, and just as you say, the focus
*is* on the present state. I think that you have just saved me many hours
industriously chasing down a dead end...

>Likewise in Rm9:22, the present state is that the vessels are now fit
>for destruction, and the point is that God is enduring with much patience
>the vessels that are in that present state. How the vessels got into
>that state is immaterial to the grammar of the passage. We can try to
>determine what Paul probably thought about that issue from a thorough
>understanding of the context in specific and Paul's theology in general
>(my views are, in fact, contrary to the apparent consensus on this list),
>but I think we need to recognize that avoiding the active voice obscures
>or de-emphasizes, for whatever reason, the actual agent of the verb.

I would be interested in hearing your views if they support a different
interpretation. I'm not comfortable with my understanding of this passage yet.


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

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