Wallace Indices and "Please be seated!" (was Re: Romans 9:22)

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Jun 02 1997 - 07:41:56 EDT

At 6:57 AM -0400 6/2/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 08:50 PM 6/1/97 -0700, Micheal Palmer wrote:
>>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.

Those who are not aware of this might note that the indices (Greek and
English) to Wallace's First Edition (and very valuable they are) are
downloadable as MSWord files (should be printable on both Mac and Windows
platforms) at Mounce's web/FTP site. I've printed them and keep them with
the book; they certainly enhance the value of the book. Sorry, I don't have
that URL handy, but this should be readily found in the BG archives.

>P.S. In church yesterday, I finally figured out how to understand the
>phrase, "please be seated". Ever since I was a child, this phrase has
>puzzled me (who was going to seat me, and if someone else was going to do
>it, why phrase it as a request?). Is this an example of a real middle in

O BENE DICTUM, Jonathan! While I would NOT call this "an example of a real
middle in English," I would argue that the only proper form for this in
classical or KoinŽ Greek would in fact be a middle imperative, something
like KAQISASQE. This is comparable to my observation that Spanish "Aqui se
habla espa–ol" is the equivalent of the English passive, "Spanish is spoken

For what it's worth, I recall reflecting, upon hearing our hostess at the
first Pension I came to in Germany for the first time, "Nehmen Sie bitte
Platz!" I was thinking how odd that in German "Be seated, please" turns
into "Please take place," whereas the American-English "take place" becomes
a German "sich stattfinden" (I THINK it's reflexive, isn't it? or am I
mistaken?) This is precisely the shady area that I'm finding very
interesting: that certain kinds of what we deem intransitive verbs in
English: sit, stand, go--have standard forms in Greek as middle in the
present and future, athematic long-vowel aorists ("3rd aorist") with
active-endings, and second-perfect (not-kappa) active forms:
hISAMAI/ESTHN/hESTAA. I'm not sure there really are enough of these to
constitute a category, but they're interesting.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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