From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Aug 04 2000 - 22:53:56 EDT
At 6:21 PM +0000 8/4/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>>1 Cor. 7:11
>>EAN DE KAI CWRISQHi
>>“But if she does depart”
>>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.
>>AP' ALLHLWN CWRISQHNAI
>> (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")
ECWRISQHN EGWGE TOU BALLANTIOU MOU hUPO KLEPTOU TINOS
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
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