[B-Greek] middle voice or passive voice?
mjriii2003 at yahoo.com
Sat May 21 11:33:09 EDT 2005
Remember that a verb has five(six) qualities. They are person, number, tense, mood and voice. The participle (which is a verbal adjective) would have case - making the number six. However, the participle does not have "mood," so the number reverts back to five.
The DEPONENT verbs have the same FORM for both the middle and passive VOICE in the present and imperfect tense of INDICATIVE (MOOD) forms.
However, some deponent verbs have lost their reflexive quality and are simply middle/passive in form but active or passive in voice. There is not an imperfect PARTICIPLE form. Greek uses the PRESENT FORM OF THE PARTICIPLE (in context) to convey this quality in IMPERFECT past time. But, this tense quality would carry the same significance but in imperfect/incomplete past tense. In Greek the CONTEXT in relation to the TENSE of the MAIN VERB would indicate that it was imperfect action in the past.
The middle voice is basically reflexive of/to the subject of the verb. Remember that the VERB is the action word of any sentence. For example "I am blessing myself" or "I bless myself" is an example of the middle voice. The action of the verb reverts back or reflects back to the subject of the verb.
In the example that you gave 1 Cor 1:2, the tell tale sign for distinguishing the VOICE (quality) of this participle - apart from any other considerations - is "Which makes sense?"
Remember that verbs may take a direct object. In the example you have provided, ...SUV PASIV TOIS EPIKALOUMEVOUS TO OVOMA, the passive tense would not work simply because the action of the verbal aspect would not reach the direct object TO OVOMA.
Now, whether EPIKALEW (OMAI) is a deponent verb only (middle in form but active in meaning) or not is a lexical question. From the form EPIKALEW - in this instance - it would seem that it is not merely a deponent form. Consequently, in 1 Cor 1:2 the best translation and understanding of this section of the verse would be "with all who are themselves calling upon the name...."
There are of course other aspects that could be discussed which would entail the use of the accusative case here in 1 Cor 1:2 and a possible different understanding of EPIKALOUMENOIS which are not under consideration here.
There is a little book by J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners which is the most helpful for solidifying the various qualities and nuances that the NT Greek offers. Machen was well aquainted with Classical authors as well and is most qualified to speak about the Koine dialect from which the NT was composed. By the way the first copy that I bought years ago cost me $6.00. The second copy I bought cost me $2.00! Shop around.
Cordially in Christ,
Apologeten <post at apologeten.no> wrote:
Hello greek scholars!
Maybe it is a silly question, but anyway, here it is:
Recently I read that the greek verbs have identical forms in the present and the imperfect tenses in the middle voice and in the passive voice. I have also read that it is possible to decide whether a verb is in the middle voice or in the passive voice in these tenses only by context. Now to my question: What in the context is it that can tell the difference? What markers to look for? Do the scholars make a good guess, or do they know for sure?
My question springs from my study of the word "epikaleo" in the NT. The "Blue letter Bible" tells me that this word is in the middle voice quite a few times. Can I be sure that this information is correct? Let me give you 1.Corinthians 1:2 as a concrete example to discuss. How is it possible to determine that "epikaleo" here is in the middle voice and not in the passive voice?
I have also read that the middle voice more or less had gone out of use i NT times. Do you have any comments to this?
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