[b-greek] Re: Active voice Acts 11:26

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 13 2000 - 12:23:38 EST

At 11:56 AM -0500 11/13/00, proverbs2918 wrote:
>I am currently studying Acts 11:26 and have a question concerning the =
>My understanding of the word "cratisai" is that it is in the active =
>voice. It appears then that it was the disciples were calling themselves =
>Is this correct?

The verb form in question in Acts 11:26 is CRHMATISAI; yes, it is formally
an aorist active infinitive, but in this instance it appears to be used in
an intransitive sense and to take a predicate word just like a copula such
as EINAI or GINOMAI. LSJ(G) has this for CRHMATIZW at Roman III: "In later
writers from Polybius downwards, the Active CRHMATIZW takes some special
senses: 1. 'to take and bear a title or name, to be called or styled
so-and-so.' This would be very much like German HEISSEN. At any rate, yes,
in Acts 11:26 we ought to understand CRHMATISAI as the aorist infinitive of
an intransitive linking verb with TOUS MAQHTAS as subject and CRISTIANOUS
as predicate noun: " ... and first in Antioch did the disciples assume the
name, 'Christians' ..."

What is obvious upon reflection but readily ignored unless one reflects is
that a verb having "active" voice formally, i.e. having the inflection
W/EIS/EI, etc., is not necessarily transitive so as to take an object. I
have argued elsewhere that the 'active' forms are actually the 'default'
for Greek voice, while the 'middle' forms are subject-intensive and that
this distinction is quite apart from whether verbs have active or
middle-passive morphology.

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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