Re: Mk 3.5

From: Jay Adkins (
Date: Wed Apr 14 1999 - 10:33:15 EDT

Dear Sirs,
Moon-ryul Jung wrote:
>>1) After joining this mailing list, I seem to learn a lot about the
middle voice of Biblical Greek. But I remember that I read some book which
said the force of the middle voice almost disappeared in BG. What is the
rationale for this claim or hypothesis?>>

Carl wrote
>>If you can find any such rationale, or if you can remember what book it
was, I'd like to know. It strikes me as a claim or hypothesis that would be
difficult to defend.>>

This subject has confused this Īlittle Greek' and I have a few questions
and quotes that may be useful in either explaining the problem or helpful
to someone in helping sort it all out for me.

First off a quote from, It's Still Greek To Me, by David Black;
"I have translated the middle voice as if it had a reflexive meaning. But
the reflexive sense of the middle voice was only the way it got started.
By the time the New Testament appeared on the sene, this reflexive meaning
had almost completely disappeared. The sense of the middle voice is really
like underlining the subject or putting it in italics: I hear." Page

Following directly after further discussion on voice he then precedes to
discuss deponent verbs on the very next page. Which may or may not be
common practice in some grammars.

Ray Summers in his book, Essentials of New Testament Greek, says;
"Deponent verbs are verbs which appear in the middle or passive form but
are active in function....Somewhere along the way of the development of the
language the active forms were dropped out of preference for the middle or
passive. Thus while the form changed the function did not change." Page

Allow me to make reference to one more quote from Dana & Mantey's, A Manual
Grammar of the Greek New Testament, who quotes from a source I do not own,
but one or both of you may;
"Moulton says, "But nothing is more certain than that the parent language
of our family possessed no Passive, but only Active and Middle, the latter
originally equal with the former in prominence, though unrepresented now in
any language, save by forms which have lost all distinction of meaning" (M.
152)." Page 157 which addresses the Middle voice.

I am not sure I understand the context of Moulton. Could someone please
tell me what he means?

I have found the distinctions of the various Middle voice nuances very
difficult to understand, IE. Direct, Intensive, Reciprocal, Indirect,
Permissive. Due to this, I now believe, and confusing deponent verbs with
the middle voice itself, I too thought that the entire Middle concept had
become deponent or nearly so. I found Carl's explanation of the middle
voice better then any of the grammars I had read or at least it has enabled
me to better understand them, or I hope so anyway.

This may not of been of a help to anyone but me. In writing this out, at
least I understand some of my own confusion.

I had translated the verse as follows;
"After having looked at them with anger, he was feeling sorry for them on
account of their willful stubbornness. He said to the man, "Stretch out
the hand." Then he stretched out his hand and it was restored.
Does the use of the middle voice here then require a change or is it
implied in the English? Because as you say, "who else would?"

Thank you;"

The Īlittlest Greek,'
Jay Adkins

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