The usage of LOGIZOMAI (Rom 4)

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Nov 1 07:04:31 EST 1999


At 2:22 AM -0600 11/1/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Dear B-Greekers,
>
>Rom 4:6 reads:
>
>DAVID LEGEI TON MAKARISMON TOU ANQRWPOU hWi hO QEOS LOGIZETAI DIKAIOSUNHN
>XWRIS ERGWN.
>
>Here LOGIZETAI is used as an active verb.
>
>Rom 4.4 reads: ..hO MISQOS OU LOGIZETAI KATA XARIN.
>
>Here LOGIZETAI is used as a passive verb.
>
>What makes it possible? Are there other similar cases?

Interesting case, and one that illustrates one of the points I've been
trying to make about voice: that the passive is not really a distinct form
but rather a not uncommon usage of the middle. There is no active verb
LOGIZW; there is ONLY LOGIZOMAI, which sometimes takes a direct object,
when it means "credit X to an account" but which middle form--as a
reflexive--CAN take a passive sense. So in 4.4 the sense (in the Greek) is:
"The wage gets itself credited in terms of grace (or 'as a goodwill
gesture'" but we take the further step in English of conveying it as, "The
wage gets credited in terms of grace." This is like Spanish: aqui se habla
español, lit. "Spanish gets itself spoken here" but understood as "Spanish
is spoken here."

The contextual verses in Galatians 4 DO indeed show more instances of this
"passive" usage:

Rom 4:3 EPISTEUSEN DE ABRAAM TWi QEWi KAI ELOGISQH AUTWi EIS DIKAIOSUNHN ...

Here there is no subject stated for ELOGISQH, but the context makes it
perfectly clear that it must be the fact that Abraham believed.

Rom 4:5 TWi DE MH ERGAZOMENWi PISTEUONTI DE EPI TON DIKAIOUNTA TON ASEBH
LOGIZETAI hH PISTIS AUTOU EIS DIKAIOSUNHN.

Here what is stated in 4:3 is restated with addition of detail, and the
subject of LOGIZETAI (read as middle with that passive sense) is directly
stated as hH PISTIS AUTOU.

I think voice will continue to be confusing if we try to understand the
Greek morphology and usage in terms of English voice usage. I really think
that what we call the Greek active form is a default form of the verb which
may take an object or may be intransitive, and that the "middle-passive"
form is an intensive form indicating deeper engagement of the subject,
generally as investing him/herself in the action and occasionally as
'receiving' the action. Demonstrating this notion fully is something I
haven't gotten down to for all my good intentions,but sooner or later I
will pay the debt due. In the meantime, I think it's worth considering that
both active and middle forms can be used intransitively and that both
active and middle forms can take a direct object; what that means is that
the difference between active and middle in Greek doesns't have much to do
with the distinction between active and passive or transitive and
intransitive in English.




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 artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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