Re: John 14:1 TARASSESQW

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Nov 19 1998 - 12:34:59 EST

<x-flowed>At 7:38 AM -0800 11/19/98, wrote:
> I just returned home from Mpls where this verse was used at a funeral
> service, and because this sentence is greatly comforting to me, I took
> another look at it.
> The KJV gives it "Let not your heart be troubled", and I have always
> rendered it "Not be troubling of you the heart", for this keeps hUMWN
> in its syntactic center between the verb and the subject, and conjoins
> MH with TARASSESQW, while keeping the present tense sense of the verb.
> I understand this verb to parse as a 3rd person present tense
> middle-passive imperative of TARASSW, with MH as a kind of conditional
> negation, where the entire sentence forms a 'center/middle bridge'
> between the preceeding prediction of Peter's thrice denial and the
> 'believing' chiasm that follows.
> The tricky part for me, that has me wallering a tad, is the Greek
> understanding of a 3rd person mid/pass imperative. Is this a middle?
> Or is it a passive? Or a mixture of some kind? And why MH, when the
> following sentence lacks a GAR, or an EI. How does the 'conditional'
> negation MH work with this? Is this one of those Johannine sentences
> that makes perfect sense without much grammatical grip?

Taking the questions one at a time:
(a) Yes, TARASSESQW is a middle/passive imperative--one of those that
really won't quite readily be understood as a passive but are a bit tricky
to render as a middle; still, I would understand it as essentially
reflexive, "trouble itself," "get into a disturbed condition," "become
(b) There really isn't anything "conditional" about the MH here:
imperatives are normally negated with MH, never with an OU (although there
very emphatic OU MH + aorist subjunctive may be a powerful negative
(c) I don't see any problem with the position of hUMWN here either; while
it is certainly more common for a possessive pronoun to follow its noun, it
is not at all uncommon to have it precede the noun with which it must
construe, as here, and that works just fine and doesn't even require the
usual conversion into English word-order that hH KARDIA hUMWN would
require--"your heart" certainly is a lot more comfortable than "the heart
of you," even if it ultimately means the same thing.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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