Re: DIATASSW -- Titus 1:5

From: Mike Sangrey (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2000 - 10:27:38 EST

Perhaps I've been spoiled by A.T. Robertson, but I react, usually mildly,
when ever I hear: "here's a place where A is used in the place of B;"
or, "here's a place where using A or B makes no difference."

I suspect there is always a distinction, though sometimes the purpose
is very subtle and in some cases not even related to the meaning
(e.g. alliteration). Usually, I think, the statement is motivated more by
the difficulty in bringing the meaning into the destination language than
by any alleged weakness in the original.

Could it be the middle is a milder form of "tell"? To illustrate: when
I tell someone to do something I choose different words in different
situations. Typically, I try to respect the person I'm telling what
to do and I convey that in my words--"Fred, would you photocopy and
distribute these documents for me." Which is really not a question
at all. Fred knows I view it as a request, but he also knows he should
do it, that's his job. There are sometimes when respect takes a back
seat--"Johnny, get off the road, now!" These illustrations are more
extreme than the subtleties expressed in the middle and active forms,
though. But I think the authors have shown some natural care in their
choice of words and even the choice of form.

I see in DIATASSW already a mutual involvement of the other person in
the "telling". I see it there in the same way I see mutual involvement
in DIALOGICOMAI (which interestingly doesn't have an active form) and
in DIALOGISMOS. Perhaps the distinction between middle and active
in DIATASSW is nearly the same distinction as in DIALOGICOMAI and
DIALOGISMOS. A distinction, in the DIATASSW case, too small to bring
over in translation, yet nevertheless there.

SUNTASSW seems to be 'telling with a list'. PROSTASSW seems to be a
'intimate form of telling'; maybe a 'whispered telling'. EPITASSW
seems to be a 'reactive telling'. UPOTASSW appears to assume a very
definite chain of command.

If I were teaching Titus 1, I wouldn't mention it. If I were teaching
about authority in the church, I would.

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