instances of (accusative) objects in passive constructions

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Wed Oct 17 04:34:02 EDT 2001


> 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 looked a bit at the first three words below, and it seems to me that the
causative idea is worth pursuing for the first two, and the cognate
accusative for number three (singing a song is like being baptized with a
baptism).

> 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.

So am I. I use it every day, especially for b-greek questions.
>
> 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
>
Without having done  exhaustive research, my suggestion is that
WFELEW is best described as a trivalent verb in Greek with the basic meaning
of "something results in (or causes - or is the source of) a benefit to
somebody." The first argument, which grammatically is subject (nominative)
in an active form, would be the cause/source of the benefit. The first
object (accusative) is the actual benefit or gain which results and the
second object (accusative) is the experiencer of the benefit. (I am using
the semantic experiencer role here, because there is a possibility that an
experiencer that is not subject is expressed by accusative in Greek rather
than dative or genitive.)

Mr 8:36 TI GAR WFELEI ANQRWPON KERDHSAI TON KOSMON hOLON
subject=cause/source of benefit: gaining the whole world
1. object= actual gain: what? (implied: nothing)
2. object=experiencer: a person

Jhn 6:63 hH SARX OUK WFELEI OUDEN
subject, cause/source of benefit: SARX
1. object, actual gain. OUDEN
2. object, experiencer: left implicit (people)

1 Cor 14:6 TI hUMAS WFELHSW
subject, cause/source of benefit: I (part of verb)
1. object, actual gain: What?
2. object, experiencer: hUMAS

Similarly:
Gal 5:2 CRISTOS hUMAS OUDEN WFELHSEI

In a passive construction the cause/source of the benefit is suppressed - or
made implicit - and the experiencer takes over as the grammatical subject.
Luk 9:25 TI GAR WFELEITAI ANQRWPOS
subject=experiencer: a person
1. object= actual gain: what?

Matt 16:26 TI GAR WFELHQHHSETAI ANQRWPOS
subject, experiencer: ANQRWPOS
1. object, actual gain: TI;

Matt 15:5 DWRON hO EAN EX EMOU WFELHQHiS
subject, experiencer: you - part of verb
1. object, actual gain: DWRON hO
Notice that the cause/source of the benefit (subject in the active sentence)
is suppressed by a passive form. However, it is possible in Greek and
English to bring such suppressed roles back by way of prepositions. If the
suppressed role was an agent, the normal preposition would be hUPO, but here
the role is a cause/source, and therefore the appropriate preposition is EK.

Now looking at FOBEW. Since I don't have access to examples of the active
form I don't know if there are three semantic roles is such active
constructions.
The passive forms are similar to the passives of WFELEW with the grammatical
subject referring to experiencer. However, the grammatical object is not the
result, but the cause. One could say that WFELEI is a "causing verb", the
subject is the cause of something to an experiencer, while FOBEOMAI is a
"receiving verb", the subject is on the receiving end of the experience.

Mark 6:20 hO GAR hHRWiDHS EFOBEITO TON IWANNHN
subject, experiencer: Herod
object, cause of fear: John

Mt 28:5 MH FOBEISQE hUMEIS
subject, experiencer: hUMEIS
object, cause of fear: left implicit.

Gal 4:11 FOBOUMAI hUMAS - you cause me fear (I always had trouble with this
one.)
subject, experiencer: I (part of verb)
object, cause of fear: hUMAS

1 Pet 2:17 TON QEON FOBEISQE - let God be a cause of fear/awe/respect to you

Matt 10:28 MH FOBEISQE APO TWN APOKTENNONTWN TO SWMA
subject, experiencer: you (part of verb)
object, cause of fear: left implicit but brought back through a
prepositional phrase with APO.
In semantic theory such an prepositional phrase is a secondary semantic role
as opposed to a primary semantic role that is attached to a verb by way of
case markings.

Maybe someone else can look at the other verbs mentioned,

Iver Larsen




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