[B-Greek] Matt 5:13 Can GH be the passive subject of hALISQHSETAI?

Paul Zellmer pzellmer at sc.rr.com
Wed Jul 25 21:47:07 EDT 2007


Matt 5:13  hUMEIS ESTE TO hALAS THS GHS; EAN DE TO hALAS MWRANQHi, EN TINI
hALISQHSETAI?  EIS OUDEN ISCUEI ETI EI MH BLHQEN EXW KATAPATEISQAI hUPO TWN
ANQRWPWN. 

Simple question: Can GH be the passive subject of hALISQHSETAI?

Background info:  My mind was wandering during a Bible study on the Sermon
on the Mount tonight, and I looked at Matt 5:13.  Knowing that most English
translations translate EN TINI hALISQHSETAI as "how shall it become salty
again," I was surprised to see no PALIN or ANA- or the like.  One possible
translation of the root, hALIZW, is "make something salty."  But it struck
me as possibly anticipating the desired result to extend this definition to
"make something salty again."

I looked again at the verse, and can see a *logical* possibility that the
one trying to be made "salty" could be the earth, since "you" are the salt
*of the earth*.  The question I have is whether this is a *grammatical*
possibility.

My gut feel is that it is not, because it would require the EAN DE clause to
have hALAS as its subject, the next phrase (the question) to have GH as its
subject, and then the next clauses to return to hALAS as the subject (unless
the world is going to be tossed out and trampled.)  But my gut, I fear, is
English-language based.  So I ask the rest of you if you can see my
hypothesis as being possibly true in the realm of KOINE grammar.

Thanks in advance,

Paul Zellmer




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