[B-Greek] Aorist Middle/Passive?

Richard Ghilardi qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
Mon Nov 17 11:15:25 EST 2008

Hello Folks,

The following quotation is found in Donald Mastronarde's Introduction to
Attic Greek, page 141, paragraph 6:

<< Note on Terminology. The aorist middle is called "middle" rather than
"middle/passive" because there is a separate aorist passive form, based
on a different tense stem. In fact, strong aorist middle forms are
sometimes found with passive meaning in early poetry and early prose, but
in classical Attic usage this passive use of the aorist middle form is
confined to ESXOMHN, from EXW (and compounds). The weak aorist middle is
sometimes used intransitively or reflexively, but it CANNOT be used with
a passive meaning. >> (Emphasis is mine.)

This quote puzzles me because it seems to be at variance with Carl
Conrad's several essays on Greek voice. (I agree with Dr. Conrad.) Either
I have misunderstood one (or both) of these teachers or one of them is
wrong. (Perhaps there are other possibilities.)

In paragraph 5 on the same page Mastronarde writes that ELYSA = 'I
released' and ELYSAMHN = 'I ransomed'. If paragraph 6 is correct,
ELYSAMHN cannot mean 'I was released', can it?

Is Mastronarde right in asserting that a 1st aorist middle form can never
have a passive meaing, and, with one exception, neither can a 2nd aorist
middle form in classical Attic Greek?

Can someone clear up my confusion?

Yours in His grace,

Richard Ghilardi - qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
West Haven, Connecticut USA
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