[b-greek] Re: I Cor. 6:11: APOLOUSASQE

From: B. Ward Powers (bwpowers@eagles.com.au)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 09:34:27 EDT

<x-flowed>At 07:09 PM 000713 -0600, Walt Seevers wrote:

>Apelousasthe is middle in form. Why do most versions translate it as
>passive? Hans Conzelmann (I Corinthians) says it is passive on the
>"analogy of the succeeding passives." He does refer to Bachmann(?) and
>Robertson/Plummer who translate it as a middle. In a grammar by Allen,
>"First Year of Greek," it says that middles are "either middle or
>passive in sense, according to the verb or the context." Can anyone
>direct me to other sources on this? thanks.

Walt, first of all we would encourage you to use the standard pattern of
transliteration which Carl gives you when you are admitted to the List.
That means you use capitals for the Greek, and the English letter Q for
Greek theta. If we are all using the same system, it helps a lot in reading
transliterated Greek. Please. Thanks.

So the word we are looking at is APELOUSASQE.

This is indeed middle, not passive, in form. This could be accounted for
along the lines you mention. For myself, however, I think there is another
explanation. In Isaiah 1:16 the prophet says, "Wash yourselves; make
yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doing from before my eyes"
(NRSV). And the imperative "wash yourselves" is (in the LXX) LOUSASQE. That
is, it is the simplex form of the verb we have in 1 Cor 6:11. I see here in
Paul's use of this word an allusion (conscious or unconscious) to Isaiah's
injunction, so that the point would be, Paul is saying, that the
Corinthians have done what the Lord commanded through the prophet Isaiah.

And in both cases (Isaiah and 1 Cor) the use of the middle indicates that
the persons concerned are not totally passive but that some action on their
part is required too in the washing process. So: whatever Isaiah means,
Paul means the same also.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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