[B-Greek] A new stab at voice

Taylor Swendsen taylor at swendsen.org
Thu Oct 18 00:42:44 EDT 2007

I am a relatively new student to Greek, so please be gracious...

On Tue 10/16/2007 at 3:16 PM Carl Conrad wrote:

> ...why should we suppose that EBAPTISQHSAN is unconditionally  
> semantically passive? Morphologically speaking, its form would  
> represent middle or passive semantics -- or both: the subject may  
> function as voluntary patient. For what it's worth, let me simply  
> ask: if the subject of a baptismal process does not voluntarily  
> undergo the process, can we conceive the action/process as having any  
> efficacy?

Is the middle/passive semantic choice determined case by case, or should we expect universal application of this morphological presentation regardless of the context? How do you address the issue of inanimate objects being baptized?  Surely they are not willing participants...

(I know the sense of the word in NT usage is cultic and not used with inanimate objects, but I think of the example given in Strong's Lexicon where he tries to give a comparison between BAPTW and BAPTIZW: "The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo (vs bapto) is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words.  Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.")

Thanks for your help in providing understanding,

Taylor Swendsen

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