From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 20:17:30 EST
I appreciate the feedback I've already had from some on yesterday's post of
the first part of this research report, particularly the message of Alex
Hopkins noting usages of the MP aorist of GINOMAI that have a pretty
clearly passive sense, but also a message from Warren Fulton with more
diachronic evidence from modern Greek usage regarding this matter.
First, for those who didn't read or don't remember the thesis that
exercises me in the present discussion, I'll repeat the paragraph from
>As noted above GINOMAI is found 492x in the aorist tense in the GNT, 447x
>in the "middle-passive" morphoparadigm, 45x in the "passive" -QH- forms.
>The question I want to pose and attempt to answer here is WHETHER THERE IS
>ANY DISTINCTION OF MEANING OR SEMANTIC FUNCTION BETWEEN THE "MIDDLE" FORMS
>AND THE "PASSIVE" FORMS.
The final section of yesterday's discussion reviewed the definitions
offered for GINOMAI in BDAG along with my appended comments on which of
those definitions seemed to me to be essentially middle or intransitive and
which seemed to me to be authentically passive.
What I propose to do now is to examine those of the 45 instances of the
aorist "passive" morphoparadigm of GINOMAI in the GNT in three groups: (1)
passages where it seems to me that the verb-form should be understood in an
authentically PASSIVE sense semantically, (2) passages where it seems to me
that the verb-forms should be understood in a MIDDLE sense semantically,
and (3) passages where I find it difficult to make a clear determination
that the sense is more middle or more passive. With regard to the passages
where the verb is judged to have a PASSIVE sense, I shall try to show that
there are passages where an aorist MIDDLE (MHN/SO/TO) form also clearly
demonstrates that same passive sense.
(I) Aorist -QH- forms of GINOMAI where sense is PASSIVE
(1) Eph 3:6-7 TOU EUAGGELIOU, hOU EGENHQHN DIAKONOS KATA THN DWREAN THS
CARITOS ... (but note the same passive usage in the "middle" form EGENOMHN:
Col 1:23 TOU EUAGGELIOU ... hOU EGENOMHN EGW PAULOS DIAKONOS and Col 1:24-5
hH EKKLHSIA, hHS EGENOMHN EGW DIAKONOS KATA THN OIKONOMIAN TOU QEOU) BDAG
(2) Rom 9:29 hWS SODOMA AN EGENHQHMEN. I think this is another instance of
BDAG def. #5a; while it might be considered intransitive, I would judge
this to mean: "we would have been made to be like Sodom."
(3) 1 Cor 4:9 QEATRON EGENHQHMEN TWI KOSMWi KAI AGGELOIS KAI ANQRWPOIS.
This is probably BDAG def. #7: "we've turned out to be/have been made to be
a spectacle to the world and to angels and humanity." I deem this
(4) 1 Cor 4:13 hWS PERIKAQARMATA TOU KOSMOU EGENHQHMEN, PANTWN PERIYWMA
hEWS ARTI. This is just like the preceding passage, essentially passive:
"We've become/been made to be the scum of the earth ..." BDAG def. #7.
(5) Eph 2;13 hOI POTE ONTES MAKRAN EGENHQHTE EGGUS EN TWi hAIMATI TOU
CRISTOU. While this could be classed under BDAG def. #7 I think it's closer
to #5c and I think it's authentically passive: "You were made to be close
(6, 7, 8, 9) Mt 21:42 LIQON hON APEDOKIMASAN hOI OIKODOMOUNTES, hOUTOS
EGENHQH EIS KEFALHN GWNIAS (= Mk 12:10, Lk 20:17, 1 Pet 2:7. This is a
citation from Psalm 117:22 and the EGENHQH is there in the LXX, yet surely
this is passive in sense, classifiable under BDAG def.#2.
(10) Lk 18:23 hO DE AKOUSAS TAUTA PERILUPOS EGENHQH; HN GAR PLOUSIOS
SFODRA. This is passive, BDAG def. #5b. Yet this usage is quite common in
the "middle" morphoparadigm also; cf. Mt 17:2 TA DE hIMATIA AUTOU EGENETO
LEUKA hWS TO FWS, Rev. hO PRWTOS KAI hO ESCATOS, hOS EGENETO NEKROS KAI
EZHSEN (here I don't think EGENETO NEKROS is equivalent quite to APEQANEN
but rather "was put to death.")
(11) 1 Cor 1:30 EN CRISTWi IHSOU, hOS EGENHQH SOFIA hHMIN APO QEOU. This is
surely passive, BDAG def. #5a; comparable to this in the "middle"
morphoparadigm is surely John 1:14 KAI hO LOGOS SARX EGENETO.
(12-13) Mt 11:23 = Lk 10:13 EI EN SODOMOIS EGENHQHSAN hAI DUNAMEIS hAI
GENOMENAI EN SOI ... This is clearly passive--"had been performed", BDAG
def. #2; it is noteworthy that DUNAMEIS is here subject to both the aorist
"passive" indicative EGENHQHSAN and the aorist "middle" participle with
GINOMAI bearing the same "passive' sense in each case. And it would appear
that the same dominical saying is offered in slightly varied form with the
aorist "middle" participle in Mt 11:21, 23 and Lk 10:13 hAI DUNAMEIS hAI
GENOMENAI EN hUMIN ...
(14) Col 4:10-11 MARKOS ... KAI IHSOUS hO LEGOMENOUS IOUSTOS ... hOITINES
EGENHQHSAN MOI PARHGORIA. This is presumably BDAG def. #7 and might be
arguably middle ("have turned out to be"), but I'm inclined to see it as
passive ("have been made my comfort").
(15-16) Mt 6:10 = Mt 26:42 GENHQHTW TO QELHMA SOU. This is unquestionably
passive, BDAG def. #2, usually Englished as "thy will BE DONE!"
(17-18-19) Very similar to the above are Mt 8:13 hWS EPISTEUSAS GENHQHTW
SOI, Mt 9;29 KATA THN PISTIN hUMWN GENHQHTW hUMIN, and Mt 15:28 GENHQHTW
SOI hWS QELEIS. These too are passive, BDAG def. #2. The same sense may be
seen in the aorist "middle" morphoparadigm in Lk 4:23 hOSA HKOUSAMEN
GENOMENA EIS THN KAFARNAOUM POIHSON KAI hWDE EN THi PATRIDI SOU (where
POIHSON is the active verb corresponding to the passive GENOMENA) and Heb.
9;11 ARCIEREUS AGAQWN TWN GENOMENWN AGAQWN DIA THS MEIZONOS KAI TELEIOTERAS
(20-21) Also similar are Acts 1:20 GENHQHTW hH EPAULIS AUTOU ERHMOS (LXX
citation) and Rom 11:9 GENHQHTW hH TRAPEZA AUTWN EIS PAGIDA (another LXX
citation). These are passive, classifiable IMO in BDAG def. #5c.
(22) Heb 5:5 hO CRISTOS OUC hEAUTON EDOXASEN GENHQHNAI ARCIEREA. Passive,
BDAG def. #5a "that he had been made a high priest ..."
(23) Heb 6:4 ADUNATON GAR TOUS hAPAX FWTISQENTAS ... METOCOUS GENHQENTAS
PNEUMNATOS hAGIOU ... Here, I think, the aorist participle is passive in
sense, BDAG def. #5a "those who have been made to share in the Holy Spirit
..." Cf. Mk 6:26 where Herod certainly does not feel that he is acting of
his own free will: KAI PERILUPOS GENOMENOS hO BASILEUS DIA TOUS hORKOUS KAI
TOUS ANAKEIMENOUS OUK HQELHSEN AQETHSAI AUTHN. I think we'd want to
understand GENOMENOS here as passive: "having been made deeply pained
because of his oaths and his dinner-guests ..."
(24) 2 Pet 1:16 EPOPTAI GENHQENTES THS EKEINOU MEGALEIOTHTOS. I would guess
that GENHQENTES here is passive and that the sense falls under BDAG
def.#5a: "having been made eyewitnesses of his greatness ..." Cf. Gal 3:13
CRISTOS ... GENOMENOS hUPER hHMWN KATARA
(25) Heb 4:3 KAITOI TWN ERGWN APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU GENHQENTWN Passive, BDAG
def. #2 "the works (of creation) having been made/completed ever since the
creation of the world." This is very much like the usage in John 1:3 PANTA
DI' AUTOU EGENETO, KAI CWRIS AUTOU EGENETO OUDE hEN.
(B) Aorist -QH- forms of GINOMAI where sense is MIDDLE
(1) 1 Th 1:5 hOTI TO EUAGGELION hHMWN OUK EGENHQH EIS hUMAS EN LOGWi MONON
ALLA KAI EN DUNAMEI. middle BDAG def. #6a "came to you"
(2) 1 Th 1:5 KAQWS OIDATE hOIOI EGENHQHMEN hUMIN DI' hUMAS. I deem this to
be middle because Paul's deliberate intention was involved; BDAG def #7.
(3) 1 Th 1:6 KAI hUMEIS MIMHTAI hHMWN EGENHQHTE KAI TOU KURIOU. BDAG def.
#7; I think this is middle: "You made yourselves emulators of us and of the
Lord" Surely there's deliberate intent here.
(4) 1 Th 2:5 OUTE GAR POTE EN LOGWi KOLAKEIAS EGENHQHMEN, KAQWS OIDATE.
This is very similar to the preceding; Paul claims he acted sincerely:
middle, BDAG def. #7.
(5) 1 Th 2:7 ALLA EGENHQHMEN NHPIOI EN MESWi hUMWN. Again BDAG def. #7,
middle. Paul claims guileless behavior in the presence of the Thessalonians.
(6) 1 Th 2:8 DIOTI AGAPHTOI hHMIN EGENHQHTE. BDAG def. #7. I think this is
middle: the Thessalonians had made themselves Paul's loved ones by their
(7) 1 Th 2:10 hWS hOSIWS KAI DIKAIWS KAI AMEMPTWS hUMIN TOIS PISTEUOUSIN
EGENHQHMEN. Again BDAG def. #7, middle. These four instances, in fact, all
involve the same middle usage of GINOMAI to indicate intentional behavior
on the part of the subject.
(8) 1 Th 2:14 hUMEIS GAR MIMHTAI EGENHQHTE, ADELFOI, TWN EKKLHSIWN TOU QEOU
Yet another instance of BDAG def. #7, middle. Here the Thessalonians
themselves are said to have behaved in a deliberate manner to imitate
others. This entire sequence of eight passages with -QH- forms of GINOMAI
all involves the notion of deliberate effort to live up to a potential
(9) Acts 4:4 EGENHQH [hO] ARIQMOS TWN ANDRWN [hWS] CILIADES PENTE. BDAG
def. #8; I think this is middle as intransitive copula, GINOMAI being here
used as an aorist equivalent of HN.
(10) Rom 16:2 KAI GAR AUTH PROSTATIS POLLWN EGENHQH KAI EMOU AUTOU. BDAG
def. #7, middle; Phoebe "made herself to be" or "turned out to be" a
patroness; she acted deliberately, not by happenstance.
(11) Heb 10:33 TOUTO DE KOINWNOI TWN hOUTWS ANASTREFOMENWN GENHQENTES ...
BDAG def. #7, middle: "having made yourselves partners with those who live
in this manner ..."
(C) Aorist -QH- forms of GINOMAI where sense is ambiguous: "too close to call"
(1) Mt 28:4 APO DE FOBOU AUTOU ESEISQHSAN hOI THROUNTES KAI EGENHQHSAN HWS
NEKROI. middle, BDAG def. #5c; I think this is middle: "they seemed to
change into dead men" but some might want to see it as passive, "they were
made to be like dead men."
(2) 1 Cor 10:6 TAUTA DE TUPOI hHMWN EGENHQHSAN BDAG def. #7. Paul has
described the behavior of the Israelite tribes in the wilderness following
the exodus from Egypt: those incidents are "paradigms" for believers in
Paul's community, he says. But we may ask whether they were "made to be
paradigms for us" or whether they simply "have become paradigms for us"?
(3) 1 Pet 1:15 KAI AUTOI hAGIOI EN PASHi ANASTROFHi GENHQHTE; BDAG def.
#5b, middle: "you are to become holy" or passive? "you are to be made
holy"? If it's really an exhortation (aor. subjunctive) addressed to the
audience, then it seems to me it must be middle.
(4) 1 Pet 3:6 hWS SARRA ... hHS EGENHQHTE TEKNA AGAQOPOIOUSAI. BDAG def.
#7. Is it passive: "you have been made children of Sarah"? or middle: "you
have come to be children of Sarah"?
(5) 1 Cor 15:10 CARITI DE QEOU EIMI hO EIMI, KAI hH CARIS AUTOU hH EIS EME
OU KENH EGENHQH. BDAG def. #7--or 5b. I think this is middle ("and his
grace towards me has not turned out to be futile") but one might just as
well argue it is passive: "and has grace was not wasted on me."
(6) Heb 11:34 EGENHQHSAN ISCUROI EN POLEMWi, PAREMBOLAS EKLINAN ALLOTRIWN.
BDAG def. #7. Were they "strengthened in warfare" (passive) or is this a
simple fact (aorist of GINOMAI for HN): "proved themselves valorous in
(7) 2 Cor 3:7 EI DE hH DIAKONIA TOU QANATOU EN GRAMMASIN ENTETUPWMENH
LIQOIS EGENHQH EN DOXHi ... I think this is middle, BDAG def. #10 or
perhaps #3: "occurred" or "took place"--although some might want to see it
as passive in BDAG def.#2, "was transacted"
(8) 2 Cor 7:14 hOUTWS KAI hH KAUCHSIS hHMWN hH EPI TITOU ALHQEIA EGENHQH.
BDAG def. #5a; "has turned out to be the truth" (middle), I think, but some
might say passive: "has been validated."
(9) Tit 3:7 hINA DIKAIWQENTES THi EKEINOU CARITI KLHRONOMOI GENHQWMEN. BDAG
def. #5a. This looks passive, particularly in combination with
DIKAIWQENTES, yet one might argue that KLHRONOMOI GENHQWMEN doesn't mean
"Let us be made heirs" but rather "Let us make good our status as heirs"
I've discussed all 45 GNT texts displaying a -QH- form of GINOMAI: 25 I've
judged to be Passive, another 11 Middle, and 9 others that seem to me to
allow arguments for one side as well as the other. For most of the 25
deemed Passive, I've shown that there are comparable instances of the
aorist MP EGENOMHN in semantically identical usage. My own conclusion from
this exercise is that these -QH- forms of GINOMAI, although some of them do
indeed clearly bear a passive meaning, many others do not--and the passive
sense is equally well displayed in the so-called "middle" aorist forms
which, according to the argument for a distinction of semantic function of
aorist middle and passive morphoparadigms, ought NOT to bear that passive
I should add that although later Greek does develop a so-called future
"passive" morphoparadigm in GENHQHSOMAI, it is not to be found in the GNT,
which shows only a future "middle" GENHSOMAI.
My examination here has been restricted to the -QH- forms of GINOMAI in the
GNT; although I have shown how comparable GNT aorist "middle" forms bear
comparable "passive" meanings to those seen in the -QH- forms, I think this
study might be brought full round by a survey of those forms of the aorist
MP morphoparadigm of GINOMAI which clearly express passive sense. I think,
however, that the present examination has amply demonstrated that the -QH-
forms of GINOMAI range across the spectrum of semantic dynamics from
intransitive to middle to authentic passive--just as do the MP -MHN/SO/TO
forms of GINOMAI.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
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