Accusative of ?? in Luke 7:29

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Sep 11 01:40:59 EDT 2001


At 9:46 PM -0700 9/10/01, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
>   In Luke 7:29b, we read
>BAPTISQENTES TO BAPTISMA IWANNOU
>By its parallel with 7:30, it should probably be
>understood as "having been baptized by John's
>baptism."  This, however, requires using an accusative
> to express means. Surely that's to invent yet another
>grammatical category to use, rather than trying to
>make sense of it with accepted categories.  How should
>this accusative be understood.  Please don't tell me
>categories as such are bad, since when I asked, no one
>had a better practicable suggestion.  Thanks.

Ken, in "classical" English grammar (what I was taught in the fifth grade,
back around 1946--don't know if it's still taught that way or at all ... ),
this was called a "received object of a passive verb." The example by which
I was taught was: "I was given a book." In this situation the indirect
object of "X gave me a book" has become the subject of a passive verb, but
the direct object still has to be expressed in an accusative (i.e.
"objective") case form. That's exactly what TO BAPTISMA IWANNOU is here.

However, in the course of my ruminations on Greek voice, I've personally
come to feel that it would be better to characterize the form BAPTISQENTES
as an aorist MIDDLE participle with the sense "having gotten themselves
baptized" and understand TO BAPTISMA IWANNOU as a "cognate accusative" of
BAPTIZW (like the object in "see the sights" or the like.
-- 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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