[B-Greek] The object of METATIQEMAI APO (was "Etc., etc., without apologies to David Letterman")

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sat Jun 13 08:15:58 EDT 2009

On Jun 13, 2009, at 7:23 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> To: "Mark Lightman" <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
> Cc: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: 12. juni 2009 23:35
> Subject: [B-Greek] The object of METATIQEMAI APO (was "Etc., etc.,  
> without
> apologies to David Letterman")
>> On Jun 12, 2009, at 1:32 PM, Mark Lightman wrote:
>>> --- On Wed, 6/10/09, George F Somsel <gfsomsel at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>> <5.   What does the object of METATIQHMI in the middle,
>>> the end, the beginning or the active or passive have to do
>>> with the price of eggs in Outer Mongolia?>
>>> KALESANTOS is the object of METATIQHMAI.  If you think
>>> the subject of KALESANTOS is a thing (gospel) not a person
>>> (God,) you would do well to see how often METATIQHMAI APO
>>> plus the gen takes a thing, how often a person.  Again, all the
>>> examples I saw were things.  Since your theory is interesting on
>>> the one hand and utterly devoid of support on the other hand, I
>>> would think it would be worth it for you to look this up.  I agree
>>> that all things being equal, in "APO X EIS Y," if Y is a thing, and
>>> X is unknown,
>>> we could assume that X is a thing.  But it's your crack pot theory.
>>> You should do the work.  Maybe you could get to it after you finish
>>> all 26 volumes of the Warren Report.  :)
>> The text under discussion, lest it be forgotten, is Gal. 1:6:
>> Θαυμάζω ὅτι οὕτως ταχέως
>> μετατίθεσθε ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος
>> ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι [Χριστοῦ] εἰς  
>> ἕτερον
>> εὐαγγέλιον, ...
>> It would appear that questionable syntactic analysis is infectious.
>> METATIQEMAI is the middle of METATIQHMI. Ordinarily METATIQEMAI is
>> understood as an intransitive verb with the sense "change  
>> allegiance."
>> BDAG s.v. METATIQHMI 3 seems to understand it thus. It construes
>> regularly with an APO + genitive of the person(s) or thing(s) from
>> which one switches allegiance. It does seem strange, however, to  
>> speak
>> of the object of the preposition APO as the object of METATIQESQE in
>> Gal 1:6.
> Semantically speaking, "put" and "give" are the basic trivalent  
> verbs. The full
> set of arguments for "put" is Agent, Patient and Location. For  
> META indicates a shift from one location, position or allegiance to  
> another. The
> MP form in Gal 1:6 could be understood as middle, in which case the  
> Agent and
> Patient are co-referential. I think it is more likely to be passive  
> here, i.e.
> Agent and Patient are not co-referential, because Paul seems to  
> credit the false
> teachers with the activity of turning the Galatians from the true  
> gospel to a
> different "gospel". In that case, these teachers are the implicit  
> agents, the
> patient (subject) is "you-plural" expressed by the verb ending.  
> There is no
> grammatical object. The allegiance they are being moved from is "the  
> one who
> called you to live in grace" (I consider CRISTOU to be a misunderstood
> addition). The new allegiance is to the "different gospel" (and to  
> the people
> who brought it).

LSJ would seem to agree with Iver in interpreting METATIQESQE in Gal  
1:6 as passive rather than middle; I'm not going to attempt to  
transliterate the numerous Greek citations, as I think the gist of the  
classificatins is clear enough:

μετατίθημι, fut. -θήσω:—Med., fut. -θήσομαι D. 
place among, τῷ κ' οὔ τι τόσον κέλαδον  
μετέθηκε (v.l. μεθέηκεν) then he would not have caused  
so much noise among us, Od.18.402.
place differently,
in local sense, transpose, change the place of, τὰ αἰδοῖα  
εἰς τὸ πρόσθεν Pl.Smp.191b; εἰς βελτίω  
τόπον Id.Lg.903d; μ. τὰς θύρας PSI5.546.5 (iii B. C.);  
μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν (sc. τὸν Ἑνώχ) ὁ θεός  
LXX Ge.5.24:—Pass., Arist.Int.20b10; to be transferred, OGI338.20  
(Pergam., ii B. C.), Act.Ap.7.16, etc.
in Logic, μ. τὸ συμπέρασμα alter a conclusion to its  
contrary, Arist.APr.59b1.
change, alter, of a treaty, μεταθεῖναι ὅπῃ ἂν  
δοκῇ ἀμφοτέροις Foed. ap. Th.5.18; τὸ νυνδὴ  
ῥηθέν Pl.Plt.297e, cf. X.Mem.3.14.6; μ. τινὰ ἐς  
πτηνὴν φύσιν AP11.367 (Jul.); ἐπὶ ὑὸς τὰς  
ἐπωνυμίας μ. change their names and call them after swine,  
Hdt.5.68; substitute, προφάσεις ἀντὶ τῶν  
ἀληθῶν ψευδεῖς μ. D.18.225, cf. Pl.Lg.683b (Pass.);  
correct, τοὺς ἠγνοηκότας Plb.1.67.5; but, pervert,  
μετ έθηκεν αὐτὸν ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ LXX 3 Ki. 
Med., change what is one's own or for oneself, μ. τὰ  
εἰρημένα X.Mem.4.2.18; νόμους ib.4.4.14; τὴν  
δόξαν D.18.229; τὸν τρόπον Id.19.341; τοὔνομα  
Arist.Fr.549; ὀνόματα change the use of words, Epicur.Nat.95 G.  
(also in Act., Nat.28.5); [τὸ νόμισμα] Arist. Pol.1257b11:  
abs., change one's opinion, retract, Pl.R.345b, etc.;  
μεταθέσθω let him change his mind, Men.Pk.48; also in  
political sense, change sides, μεταθέσθαι πρὸς τὴν  
Ῥωμαίων αἵρεσιν Plb.24.9.6; Dionysius of Heraclea, who  
went over from the Stoics to the Cyrenaics, was called  
μεταθέμενος, turn-coat, D.L.7.37,166; μ. ἀπὸ τῶν  
πατρίων LXX 2 Ma.7.24; ἐξ ἀδικίας Corn.ND11.
τὴν γνώμην μετατίθεσθαι change to or adopt a new  
opinion, Hdt.7.18 (but τῆς γνώμης μ. change from . . ,  
App.BC3.29); μετέθου λύσσαν ἄρτι σωφρονῶν  
thou hast changed to madness, E.Or.254; μ. τὸ ὄνομα τὸ  
νῦν ἀπὸ τῶν αἰγῶν adopted their present name, Paus. 
μ. [τὸν φόβον] transfer one's fear, D.18.177; τῇ  
μισθαρνίᾳ ταῦτα μετατιθέμενος τὰ  
ὀνόματα transferring . . , ib.284.
c. inf., μ. ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀπλήστως . . ἔχοντος  
βίου τὸν κοσμίως . . ἔχοντα βίον  
ἑλέσθαι change one's mind and determine to choose . . , Pl.Grg. 
c. dupl. acc., τὸ κείνων κακὸν τῷδε κέρδος  
μ. turning their misdeeds into his gain, S.Ph.515 (lyr.).
Pass., to be changed, alter, μετετέθην εὐβουλίᾳ E.IA  
388 (troch.); μ. ἐς Ῥωμαίους pass over, App.Hisp.17; μ.  
ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς are turned away  
from . . , Ep.Gal.1.6.

I would simply note the extensive citations of middle usage, into  
which it seems to me that the usage of Gal 1:6 can readily fall, and  
Iver acknowledges the plausibility of an understanding of METATIQESQE  
here as middle. I would acknowledge the plausibility of understanding  
it as passive also, but here as in several other instances it seems  
less than transparent how great a role in the shift of commitment is  
played by the Galatians themselves and how great a role is played by  
"the false teachers." We speak of "permissive passives" and/or  
"permissive middles," acknowledging that the subject is involved in  
the process of change of attitude even where another or others are  
influential. One can always ask whether a given instance of PEIQOMAI  
is middle and indicates willing consent to the influence of another or  
others or is passive and indicates that the subject has been  
manipulated by others. Perhaps (and perhaps not) the use of a dative  
complement or of hUPO  + genitive may shift the balance of how we  
understand such a verb, but barring some such clear indicator, I think  
the ambiguity here has much to do with the fact that Greek morphology  
doesn't distinguish between middle and passive usage. I note too that  
later in this letter Paul twice addresses the Galatians as ANOHTOI: in  
3:1 he seems to indicate that the Galatians have been subject to  
witchcraft (TIS EBASKANEN hUMAS?) while in 3:9 he seems to indicate  
that the ultimate outcome for the Galatians depends upon their own  
EPITELEISQE?) It may be asked, then, must we envision the Galatians  
here either (a) as if inanimate objects being manipulated by external  
agents, or (b) as if fully responsible masters of their own destiny?  
The 5th c. BCE sophist Gorgias aragued that PEIQW was a kind of  
coercion that could not be resisted, but I'm not altogether  
"convinced" by and don't altogetther "consent to" that proposition.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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