[b-greek] Re: CWRISQHi - follow up

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Aug 04 2000 - 22:53:56 EDT

At 6:21 PM +0000 8/4/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>>1 Cor. 7:11
>>“But if she does depart”
>> Mark:
>>In one word -- idiom.
>>Here is part of the entry from BAGD
>>pass.—a. separate (oneself) , be separated of divorce . Oft. in marriage
>>contracts in the pap.
>> (but if she does separate, NRSV
>> should not separate from her husband 7:11 (but if she does, RSV
>>or if she has already left him, NJB
>>-and if she does separate NAB
>To me, to "separate one's self from" is Active or Middle, since the subject
>is doing the action.
>But "to be separated from" is Passive; the subject is acted upon.
>Since we have the benefit of a context here, can the translation be:
>"should not separate from her husband, but if she is separated from..."
>Or, "if she has already been left behind..."
>Are the above translations valid?

This is precisely the same issue that I was discussing earlier today in my
response to Dmitriy Reznik with the subject header, "[b-greek] Re: 1Cor

I think one of the greatest sources of confusion in learning Greek is the
association of "passivity" with "being acted upon" while one is taught that
the -QH- morphology is fundamentally passive in meaning. The truth is
rather that -QH- forms serve in the aorist exactly the same function as
MAI/SAI/TAI KTL. and MHN/SO/TO KTL. serve in the other "tenses"--which is
to say, aorists in -QH- tend to be reflexive or intransitive, depending on
whether or not there is some clear indicator that the subject is being
acted upon by an external agent or force.

If I say, "John and his wife are getting separated", is the verb in this
instance passive? No--unless what's being emphasized is the action
performed by a court, which may be the case in a particular context, but
normally it means that the couple in question are taking steps to dissolve
their marriage: in Greek the "voice" involved would be middle, I think. If
I say "I am separated from my wallet by a footpad," the verb is
authentically passive: I am neither performing the action of separation nor
am I consenting to it; it's being done TO me. But when either of these
sentences is put into Greek in the aorist, we'll have to use the -QH- forms

        hO IWANNHS KAI hH GUNH AUTOU ECWRISQHSAN ("got separated" =
"arranged to have their marriage provisionally disrupted")


I have discussed the phenomena of Greek voice several times over the years
on B-Greek, most fully in a long message of May 27, 1997 with subject
header, "Some Observations on Ancient Greek Voice," if anyone cares to
consult the archives. I don't think I've persuaded many to my perspective
on this matter, but I continue to maintain most of what I said in that
message three years ago stubbornly, with some minor qualifications.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:33 EDT