Re: TOU GNWNAI AUTON Phillipians 3 9

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat May 06 2000 - 20:56:34 EDT

<!doctype html public "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">
<html><head><style type="text/css"><!--
blockquote, dl, ul, ol, li { margin-top: 0 ; margin-bottom: 0 }
 --></style><title>Re: TOU GNWNAI AUTON Phillipians 3
<div>At 11:44 AM +1200 5/7/00, Eddie Van Gent wrote:</div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1"
<blockquote type="cite" cite>&nbsp;</blockquote>
<blockquote type="cite" cite>&nbsp;</blockquote>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">According to various
grammars GNWNAI is a 2nd Aorist Active Infinitive. However, the 2nd
Aorist Active is EGNWN with the stem GNW and according to the rules
an infinitive is only a deponent if that particular tense is deponent
in the finite verb form.</font></blockquote>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">Second Aorist Active
Infinitives have the same morpheme as the Present Infinitive so the
word to be 2nd Aorist Active would normally be GNWN - being derived
from the following-&nbsp; GNW + EEN (EIN endings were formerly EEN,
which comes into play when contraction rules are applied) .This then
would become GNWN.</font></blockquote>
<div>This is one matter wherein I think traditional description of
ancient Greek verb morphology can only be confusing to new learners
of the language, namely, the distinction between &quot;First&quot;
and &quot;Second&quot; categories in the Aorist, Perfect, and
so-called &quot;(Aorist) Passive.&quot; The distinction intended
between &quot;First&quot; and &quot;Second&quot; at each
'tense'-systems (and of course 'tense' is also a misnomer, since only
in the indicative do these forms have any normal temporal
reference)--the distinction is between &quot;First&quot; forms as the
paradigm followed by the great majority of verbs that have an Aorist,
Perfect, and/or (Aorist) Passive, and &quot;Second&quot; which, as
usually applied, includes all archaic forms that deviate from the
&quot;First&quot; paradigm, most of them having a distinct paradigm
of their own: Second Aorists having &quot;thematic&quot; forms
comparable to omega present and imperfect conjugation; Second
Perfects having -A rather than -KA endings and a bewildering variety
in ways of forming perfect tense-stems; Second Passives having -H
rather than -QH endings.</div>
<div>In my own teaching of ancient Greek I have made it my practice
to refer to Aorists of the type EGNWN, hEALWN, EBHN, ESTHN as
&quot;Third&quot; Aorists; I've also urged students to link together
the descriptive language that's really more valuable than the ordinal
numeral used: &quot;First or Sigmatic or Alpha Aorist&quot;--the sort
formed with -S- as a tense marker and endings in
-A/-AS/-E/-AMEN/-ATE/-AN; &quot;Second or Thematic or O/E
Aorist&quot;--the sort formed like the imperfect by linking the
thematic O or E to a stem before adding the endings
-N/-S/-E/-MEN/-TE/-N; and &quot;Third or Athematic ('Non-Thematic')
Aorist&quot;--the sort formed with a stem element which is a long
vowel A or H or W, which may alternate with a short vowel form in A
or E or O and to which the same secondary endings are attached
directly--with no intervening thematic
vowel--(-N/-S/--/-MEN/-TE/-SAN. EGNWN falls into this category; the
stem is simply the long-vowel root form GNW.</div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">To get GNWNAI one could
take the 2nd Aorist Stem GNW + HNAI (which is the normal 2nd Aorist
Passive morpheme) and end up with&nbsp; GNWNAI after applying the
rules of contraction:-</font></blockquote>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">W + H =
<div>No, the 2nd (which I'd prefer to call &quot;3rd&quot; Aorist
stem is GNW, but the active infinitive ending is -NAI (just as for
athematic present stems: DIDO-NAI, TIQE-NAI, hISTA-NAI. The form
GNWNAI is NOT a contraction; moreover, although you might
THEORETICALLY have a middle/passive infinitive GNW-SQAI, that
function is taken over by the forms EGNWSQHN with stem GNWSQH- and
infinitive GNWSQHNAI.</div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">I can't find any
reference in the following major Greek scholar's books that GNWNAI is
a 2nd Aorist Passive Deponent:- Bill Mounce, Max Zerwick/Mary
Grosvener, Barbara &amp; Timothy Friberg,</font></blockquote>
<div>I can't speak for them; but I don't think this distinction is
very clearly treated even by Smyth's grammar (e.g. at the Perseus web
<div>At any rate, I think a Greek teacher has an obligation to make
this distinction between KINDS of &quot;Second Aorist&quot; clear and
show how it works. If anyone else cares to use my term &quot;Third
Aorist,&quot; be my guest, but the truth is that I did not invent it
so much as I have sought to promulgate as a clarifying factor.</div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font size="-1">Obviously if GNWNAI is
in fact passive, the meaning of Phillipians 3: 9 and context could
alter quite significantly.</font></blockquote>
<div>Banish the thought! It is NOT passive. That would have to be
GNWSQHNAI. A nice place to observe the alternation of active and
passive is 1 Cor 13:12, where the verb is compounded as EPIGINWSKW
and what we have is an opposition of future active with aorist

<div>-- <br>
Carl W. Conrad<br>
Department of Classics/Washington University<br>
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018<br>
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649<br> <br>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:24 EDT