[B-Greek] tenses of GINOMAI

Steven Lo Vullo slovullo at mac.com
Sun Jun 22 21:57:12 EDT 2003


On Sunday, June 22, 2003, at 06:12  AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> The fact is that there is no substantive difference of meaning between
> EGENOMHN and EGENHQHN; both forms with essentially the same sense are 
> in
> use during the Hellenistic era, but it is evident that EGENHQHN is 
> becoming
> ever more frequent and it did eventually completely supplant the older
> EGENOMHN.

While the aorist passive form of GINOMAI may have later in history 
become ever more frequent and eventually have supplanted the aorist 
middle form, I don't see any evidence that such an eclipse was underway 
in the era with which we usually deal on B-Greek, at least not in the 
Greek literature written and used by early Christians. The breakdown in 
historical sequence from LXX to GNT to Apostolic Fathers is as follows:

In the LXX, GINOMAI in the aorist middle in all its various forms 
occurs 1378 times (77%), while in the aorist passive in all its various 
forms it occurs 420 times (23%). In the indicative, it is 960 (72%) to 
366 (28%).

In the GNT, GINOMAI in the aorist middle in all its various forms 
occurs 447 times (91%), while in the aorist passive in all its various 
forms it occurs 45 times (9%). In the indicative, it is 233 (88%) to 31 
(12%).

In the Apostolic Fathers, GINOMAI in the aorist middle in all its 
various forms occurs 200 times (96%), while in the aorist passive in 
all its various forms it occurs 9 times (4%). In the indicative, it is 
68 (96%) to 3 (4%).

Not only does there not appear to be any gradual historical trend in 
our literature of the aorist middle forms being eclipsed by the aorist 
passive forms, but on the basis of the numbers, the opposite could 
actually be argued, though I would not go that far.

>  In fact, the two most common verbs which retained some passive
> usage in the older aorist MP -MHN/SO/TO forms (as indicated by agent
> constructions with hUPO + genitive) are EGENOMHN and APWLOMHN. My
> endeavor to demonstrate that EGENOMHN and EGENHQHN are not distinct in
> meaning constitutes the bulk of my appendix to the document I've cited 
> in
> the URL above.

I don't think agentive constructions with hUPO and the genitive are a 
truly convincing indication of passive voice. Even active verbs, both 
transitive and intransitive, may be modified by agentive hUPO with the 
genitive (e.g., Matt 17.12; 2 Cor 11.24; 1 Th 2.14; Rev 6.8). In light 
of this, I don't think it is beyond the pale to think in terms of 
someone or something "perishing" by the agency of another.
============

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI




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