Mt. 18:3

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Fri Aug 20 1999 - 06:43:30 EDT

<x-flowed>In Mt. 18:3, there occurs STRAFHTE -- 2nd aorist subjunctive passive of STREFW
As I began to look at the change from E to A, I saw that BAGD lists this
2nd aorist passive as occurring ( in addition to Homer ) in pap., LXX, and
several examples from Josephus.

This might lead one to think that this was a Koine form, or at least
something that emerged around the turn of the era --- at least I might have
<g> had I not turned to Smyth s.586 where I find this note:

b. Liquid stems of one syllable change e to a,
                     as te-ta-mai, e-ta-thn (tein™ stretch, ten-). But
                     streph™ turn, trep™ turn, treph™ nourish have
                     estrephthn, etrephthn, ethrephthn (rare),
                     though the perfect middles are estrammai,
                     tetrammai, tethrammai.

                     586 b. D. estraphthn is Ionic and Doric; Hom.
                     and Hdt. have etraphthn from trep™. Hom. has
                     etarphthn and eterphthn from terp™ gladden.

[ as you can see I have left the Perseus transliteration intact ]

Which raises a more general query:
How much of what might be seen as Koine forms are in fact the persistence
of long-standing dialect forms which in course of time and usage
predominate over "pure" Attic
( = literary ? ) forms?

Perhaps Carl, Edgar et al. might have examples that come to mind --- I
don't expect any sweeping generalisations from scholars <g>

A subsidiary query, on the specific verse:
The widespread translations
RSV, NAB: "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and ....
NRSV: "Truly I tell you, unless you change

turns the passive into an active, to accommodate the English usage.
Why not a middle form, rather than a passive, in the original, I wonder?

BTW, in the Matthean use of " turn " I detect a very direct connection
with the OT use of SHUV, literally "turn", in the physical sense, for the
idea of repentance which in Greek becomes METANOIA, an intellectual concept.


Maurice A. O'Sullivan
[ Bray, Ireland ]

Confucius said: "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study
is dangerous."
Analects 2:15

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:36 EDT