Rom 12:2 part 3 - METASXHMATIZW medium or passiveImpv

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Mon Jan 4 10:48:01 EST 1999

At 10:13 AM +0100 1/4/99, Jürg Buchegger wrote:
>This is my third question on Rom 12:2:
>3. V.2 has two imperative passive verbs (formally they could be medium too,
>and NEV, NIV, NJB take the first as such). - In my opinion, the second verb
>is unquestionably a passive. Are there hints on the formal level of language
>to decide medium/passive? - And: What does an Imperative passive want to
>say, means how much can I make a point on the theological level out of the
>fact that here we have an imperative and at the same time this is a passive?
>Anyone have a hint to a good treatment of this form of a verb (imp pass)?

I can't resist this, as anyone who has read my harangues on Greek voice
will anticipate! I think both METASCHMATIZESQE and SUMMORFOUSQE are middle;
I'm inclined to think one should always start out interpreting a MP
morphology as middle unless it has an agent construction with hUPO or an
instrumental, and often even then. I've suggested that I read MH
METASCHMATIZESQE as "don't model yourselves upon"--reading it as a
transposition of the OT common warning against "becoming like "ha goyyim"
into eschatological terms. I think that SUMMORFOUSQE has to be understood
in the same context: there's a passive element in it in that the
readers/listeners are admonished to permit GOD to reshape their
hearts/minds; nevertheless, it seems to me that we have here (as regularly
in Paul) an implicit formulation recognizing both divine initiative and
personal participation in the process of the transformation of selfhood
into what one was always meant to be. Indeed, SUMMORFOUSQE has a
Deuteronomic antecedent also, I think, just as does MH METASCHMATIZESQE: it
is "circumcize the foreskins of your hearts."

My own inclination is to understand all forms (including those with -QH-
morphology) as middle unless one can see compelling grounds in the context
or in normal usage for understanding them as passive.

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
cwconrad at OR cconrad at

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