instances of (accusative) objects in passive constructions

Wayne Leman wayne_leman at sil.org
Tue Oct 16 18:18:34 EDT 2001


B-greek list member Timothy Friberg has sent me a file which he asked me to
post on this list. It was attached to his message. I doubt that the b-greek
listserver accepts attachments. But I think the document might fit within a
single message. Here it is:

The "problem" to be addressed: instances of (accusative) objects in passive
constructions

The normal schoolboy understanding of transitivity (a certain amount of
congruity obtains between Greek and English, but the focus here is Greek) is
that a subject (nominative case) acts on an object (accusative case usually,
but with the right verbs this may also be dative or genitive). Under certain
circumstances (sometimes thought of as advancing/promoting an object to
subject status for greater prominence, focus or topicality) an (accusative)
object is made the (nominative) subject. The former subject, if it is
present at all, is put into a "by" phrase; it may optionally be deleted.

In the list below I have culled out of the GNT those instances where an
accusative object is still there in a supposedly passive-verb construction.
I have deleted cases of accusative subjects in infinitive constructions; I
may have let some cases go by, where the accusative has some other
explanation in the construction from that of "object." (There are also many
other cases where a dative or genitive object persists in passive
constructions. This listing ignores them, but there are at least scores of
them, if not a hundred.)

Generally for "active" lemmas, we want to know what to make of/say about
accusative objects that persist after the verb has been passivized.

A related problem and the triggering puzzle of this study is the following:
Accusative objects with passive-form verbs (O or N in AGNT, Analytical Greek
New Testament) that are thought to be deponent are noncontroversial. The
sentence "A does something to B" is active in meaning for most students of
Greek regardless of the form of its verb, if with nonactive forms it can be
shown that the verb is deponent (whether fully or in some principal parts
only). Thus DECOMAI ("welcome, receive") is somehow deponent and it is not
thought problematic if it has an object, though nonactive in verb form,
because its meaning is taken as active.

One of these verbs, traditionally thought of as passive deponent, is
FOBEOMAI, "fear." We marked it so in AGNT, even though we were unknowingly
breaking one of the analytical founding principles of AGNT, viz., that we
analyze forms according to first-century usage (for example, whether AP or
N- for substantives; whether active or deponent for verbs). Recent computer
advances have given us more direct access to the TLG database and have shown
that some of our earlier determinations were in error. One of these is the
verb in question, which has been reanalyzed as FOBEW, an active lemma.
Though (still) active in the first century, GNT forms of this verb are
entirely nonactive.

That being the case, I was quite surprised to find that some of these
nonactive passive forms still took accusative objects, when perhaps naively
I expected them all to have been promoted to subject status. What to make of
them?

On looking for evidence of accusative objects (which occur with passive
verbs and not merely passive forms, if there is to be any connection between
the language of the GNT and that of the larger Koine world), I looked at all
3104 GNT passive verbs (that is, AGNT P, and not O or N) and also at the
thirty-six middle and passive verb analyses (AGNT E and not N) to come up
with the evidence set that needs an explanation.

Whatever explanation is forthcoming, I note that instances of passive forms
with accusative objects happen not only with "arguable" forms such as FOBEW
(which will always be FOBEOMAI in some people's thinking), but with other
forms that are unarguably active, for which active forms in the GNT abound.

I at first suggested to several scholars that maybe the accusative (with
passive FOBEW) was accusative of specification or reference. That was
quickly rejected, but for some of these many other forms it may be the/an
explanation. Or perhaps a causative sense to the passive verb may provide
some explanation. In some cases the verb takes two objects, leaving one of
them behind when one is promoted to subject. And in a few more cases, there
seems to be a "cognate accusative" construction.

I would like an answer to the problem first just because here is a
construction that I do not understand. But secondly, I am looking for an
answer because, having just seen ANLEX (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New
Testament) through to publishing, I wonder if some general explanation
should be given in the introduction (of a revised ANLEX) concerning all such
occurring forms (or specifically for the entry FOBEW) or is this something
for a grammar that has no place in a lexicon?

I am indebted to SIL's new BART database and program for enabling me to find
the forms below listed without more expenditure of time than actually
passed. It will add speed to the searches of true Greek (and Hebrew)
scholars and speed and generous other support to the searches of Greek (and
Hebrew) students.

The list of constructions where there is an apparent accusative object with
a true passive verb follows. There may be other passives in the GNT, but I
note only those with apparent objects. I also make a note whether/where
there are active forms in the GNT. All the following verbs are analyzed as
active lemmas in AGNT and ANLEX, except for one, which comes with its own
explanation below. There are twenty-eight different verbs; ninety-eight
construction tokens, of which almost half are with FOBEW.

FOBEW 43 passive instances with apparent accusative object; no GNT active
forms: MT10.26, 28; 14.5; 21.26, 46; MK4.41; 6.20; 11.18, 32; 12.12; LU1.50;
2.9; 12.5 (3X); 18.2, 4; 19.21; 20.19; 22.2; 23.40; JN9.22; AC5.26; 9.26;
10.2, 22, 35; 13.16, 26; RO13.3; GA2.12; 4.11; EP5.33; CO3.22; HE11.23, 27;
1P2.17; 3.6, 14; RV2.10; 11.18; 14.7; 19.5

WFELEW 6 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: MT15.5;16.26; MK5.26; 7.11; LU9.25; 1C13.3

BAPTIZW 5 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: MK10.38 (2X), 39 (2X); LU7.29

ENTREPW 5 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instance: MT21.37; MK12.6; LU18.2, 4; 20.13

PISTEUW  5 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: RO3.2; 1C9.17; GA2.7; 1T1.11; TI1.3

APOSTREFW 4 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: MT5.42; 2T1.15; TI1.14; HE12.25

ANAMIMNHSKW 3 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other
active instances: MK14.72; 2C7.15; HE10.32

ZHMIOW  3 passive instances with apparent accusative object; no GNT active
forms: MT16.26; LU9.25; PH3.8

KATHCEW 3 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instance: LU1.4; AC18.25; GA6.6

DERW 2 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: LU12.47, 48

PLHROW  2 passive instances with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: PH1.11; CO1.9

ADIKEW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: 2P2.13

ANASTREFW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: 1P1.17

DEW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: JN11.44

DIAFQEIRW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: 1T6.5

DIDASKW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: 2TH2.15

EUDOW  1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; no GNT active:
1C16.2

KAQISTHMI 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: HE5.1

KALEW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object (attracted to
genitive); other active instances: EP4.1

KATAFQEIRW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; no GNT
active: 2T3.8

KAUMATIZW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: RV16.9

KNHQW   1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; no GNT active:
2T4.3

LOUW   1 passive instance with apparent accusative object (AGNT is E, that
is, "middle or passive"); other active instances: HE10.22

METAMORQAW  1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; no GNT
active: 2C3.18

PEIQW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: HE6.9

PERIKEIMAI 1 "true" passive instance with apparent accusative object (serves
as passive of t°qjmi); other GNT instances deponent: HE5.2

POTIZW 1 passive instance with apparent accusative object; other active
instances: 1C12.13

hRANTIZW 1 passive instance of apparent accusative object; other active
instances: HE10.22

In summary I would either like explanations for the ninety-eight
constructions or (at least) a list of potential explanations that I can try
to apply to individual tokens.

Timothy Friberg
email: Barbara.Friberg at ccmail.lfa.com

Forwarded by Wayne Leman (who is responsible for transliteration errors)
-----
Wayne Leman
Bible Translation discussion list:
http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/discuss.htm





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