[b-greek] Re: Agency & Passive Iliad example

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 15 2001 - 10:38:40 EDT

At 2:00 PM -0700 6/14/01, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>After about 7 months of neglect I decided to pick up the Iliad again and ran
>into an example of an agentless passive which caught my attention after the
>discussion previous discussion (see, Agency & Passive, Mk 14:57-59 False
>Iliad Book 2 lines 14-15
>The context tempts one to supply the agency slot for EFHPTAI with hHRH, but
>I noticed that Richmond Lattimore* and A.T. Murray** both resisted this
>Here we have troubles and suffering being forecast for the Trojans with no
>agent specified. An intriguing parallel to the NT passages where judgement,
>woe and divine vengeance is prophesied without an agent specified. Like the
>agentless passive in the woe & judgement texts in the the NT, the passive
>EFHPTAI could be understood as having double levels of agency, the "gods" or
>"fate" as one level of agency and enemy armies as the most immediate level
>of agency.
>The agentless passive suppresses the whole idea of "who will do it" and
>focuses the readers attention on the result.

Clay, isn't it one heck of a lot easier to understand EFHPTAI as middle
with KHDEA as the subject? That's the way I, at least, would understand
this text.
Remember that a neuter plural subject in earlier Greek is regularly used
with a singular verb.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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