Aorist: middle vs. passive verb forms in GNT (correction)

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Sun Oct 28 18:12:30 EST 2001

At 1:36 PM -0400 10/27/01, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>Before commenting on EPISTREFW, I want to just note that I am now in the
>process of examining individually all GNT verbs that have either/and/or
>aorist forms in the 'middle-passive' (MHN/SO/TO) paradigm or in the
>'passive' (-QH-) paradigm. One question I have been seeking clarification
>about is whether Ward Powers is right in asserting that the differentiation
>between the aorist middle morphology and the aorist passive morphology is
>really significant. Even statistically, what I've found is (to me, at
>least) astounding!

I just wanted to correct the figures I gave yesterday for these two groups
of verb-forms; I failed to subtract the 18 verbs that have forms in both
the aorist middle and the aorist passive from the totals, so that my totals
are skewed. Corrected, the figures should read:

(a) There are 1244 aorist 'middle' verb-forms in the GNT representing 176
verbs that have forms in the aorist 'middle' (MHN/SO/TO) paradigms but do
not have any forms at all in the aorist 'passive' paradigms;

(b) There are 1775 aorist 'passive' verb-forms in the GNT representing 322
verbs that have forms in the aorist 'passive' paradigms but but do not have
any forms at all in the aorist 'middle' paradigms;

(c) There are ONLY EIGHTEEN (18) verbs that have verb-forms in BOTH the
aorist 'middle' (MHN/SO/TO) paradigms AND the aorist 'passive' (-QH-)
paradigms. Of these 18 verbs, there are 84 verb-forms in the aorist
'middle' paradigm, 348 verb-forms in the aorist 'passive' paradigm. These

>	AGALLIAW (4x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive', identical sense)
>	ANAPAUW (12x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive', identical sense)
>	ANATREFW (1x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	APOKRINOMAI (7x aor. 'middle', 213x aor. 'passive'
>	BAPTIZW (2x aor. 'middle', 32x aor. 'passive'
>	DIAMERIZW (3x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	DIATASSW (3x aor. 'middle', 3x aor. 'passive'
>	EKTIQHMI (1x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	ENDUW (19x aor. 'middle', 6x aor. 'passive'
>	EPIKALEW (7x aor. 'middle', 11x aor. 'passive'
>	EUAGGELIZW (18x aor. 'middle', 4x aor. 'passive'
>	hEURISKW (1x aor. 'middle', 27x aor. 'passive'
>	KATALAMBANW (3x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	LUTROW (1x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	MERIZW (1x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	METAPEMPW (7x aor. 'middle', 1x aor. 'passive'
>	hORAW (root OP) (1x aor. 'middle', 23x aor. 'passive" (= "appear")
>Isn't it interesting that ONLY 18/516 verbs in the GNT with aorists in
>'middle' and/or 'passive' paradigms have forms in BOTH paradigms? I think
>this MUST be interpreted to mean that the -QH- paradigms have already
>become stabilized to represent the "subject-intensive" or "subject-focused"
>counterpart to the "basic" ('active') paradigms. And I think that it means
>we have concurrent forms in the period of  GNT KOINH Greek (I think it's
>really not very different from the concurrent forms of the "first" or -SA
>aorist and the "second" or -ON/ES/E aorist).
>Granted, a great many of the verb-forms in -QH- bear a real PASSIVE sense,
>nevertheless, the whole slew of so-called "passive deponents" (aorists in
>-QH- that aren't passive in meaning) as well as numerous -QH- verb forms
>that are NOT "passive deponents" but that can be shown to have a "middle"
>or intransitive sense seem(s) to indicate that the -QH- paradigms are NOT
>distinctly and fundamentally passive in function and meaning.

I think that my tentative conclusions drawn from these are still very

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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