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

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Fri Jun 15 2001 - 11:49:08 EDT

on 6/15/01 7:38 AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> 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
>> testimony).
>> 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
>> temptation.
>> 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.


I was understanding KHDEA as the subject but NOT the agent. Both Cunliffe
and LSJ list this instance EFHPTAI as a passive w/dative. Even if I we take
EFHPTAI as a middle I cannot see how KHDEA can fill the semantic slot of
agent. There still needs to be an agent unless we understand KHDEA as a
some sort of self animated entity. So I don't see that the middle/passive
choice really impacts the agency issue much. Perhaps I am overlooking

Thanks for bringing up the subject. Your extensive and erudite discussions
of middle/passive have been for the most part a little over my head.



Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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