From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Sep 06 2000 - 09:29:38 EDT
At 7:03 AM -0600 9/6/00, Robert L. Garringer wrote:
>Is it possible to take the perfect participle, APOLELUMENHN, to be
>middle rather than passive voice in the phrases KAI hOS EAN APOLELUMENHN
>GAMHSH(i) MOICATAI in the latter part of Matthew 5:32 and KAI hO
>APOLELUMENHN APO ANDROS GAMWN MOICEUEI in the latter part of Luke
>This would take the full verse in each case to mean that:
>Jesus declared, first, that a man who divorces his wife in order to
>marry another woman committs adultery.
>And then He declared, in the part of the verses I have quoted, that a
>man who marries a woman who has divorced her husband (for her own
>benefit) also committs adultery.
You already raised this question in August (8/24/2000) and, so far as I can
tell, got only one response, from Jonathan Robie. Upon checking the
archives I find quite a history of discussion of Mt 5:32 (4/11/96;
10/10-18/97; 1/26-30/98; 11/27-12/2/98; 10/2-15/99, although a cursory
review doesn't seem to show that your question specifically was ever dealt
At 3:57 PM -0700 8/24/00, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 09:50 AM 8/24/00 +0000, Robert L. Garringer wrote:
>>Is there any possibility that the participle in the latter part of Mt 5:32
>>and 19:9 could indicate that the woman is the one who had initiated
>>divorce? If so the thought would parallel Mk 10:12 which simply repeats for
>>the woman the prohibition that had been stated for the man in the previous
>Please cite the texts to which you refer, in Greek. Here are the relevant
>Matthew 5:32 EGW DE LEGW hUMIN hOTI PAS hO APOLUWON THN GUNAIKA AUTOU
>PAREKTOS LOGOU PORNEIAS POEIEI AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI, KAI hOS EAN APOLELUMENHN
>Matthew 19:9 LEGW DE hUMIN hOTI hOS AN APOLUSHi THN GUNAIKA AUTOU MH EPI
>PORNEIAi KAI GAMHSHi ALLHN MOICATAI.
>In both verses, it seems fairly clear that the person who "divorces his
>wife" (APOLUSHi THN GUNAIKA) is not the woman, but the man. I assume that
>the participle you refer to is APOLELUMENHN, from Matthew 5:32. This
>participle is feminine, and I think it does refer to the divorced woman.
>Now the interesting question is whether the form of APOLELUMENHN is to be
>taken as middle or passive. I'm not familiar enough with the usage of the
>word to say. From the context, I assume that the passive interpretation is
>to be taken - "and anyone who marries a woman who has been repudiated
>commits adultery". My guess is that the woman in that clause did not
>initiate the divorce. Does anybody want to argue that this verb should be
>taken as a middle, rather than a passive?
While I think that I'd agree with Jonathan that it "appears on the surface"
to be passive, I can really see no reason whatsoever why it could NOT be
understood just as well as a middle--and in fact, I rather think that it
makes more sense to understand it that way, i.e. that the "sinful" behavior
in view is fundamentally taking the initiative to dissolve one's marriage.
(In saying this, I'm offering no judgment upon any modern situation, simply
offering an interpretation of what the NT Greek text appears to me to be
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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