[B-Greek] Active for Passive?

Yancy Smith yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Wed Apr 14 10:47:03 EDT 2010


I agree that speaking of "passive" in this case is distressing and confusing. What may be going on here is that the participle has been "reverse attracted" and that the surface structure is grammatically nonsensical, but conforms to the expectations of local religious verbiage. One might fill out the ellipsis in this way
EX hAMARTIWN hWN EIDWTES KAI MH EIDWTES, which becomes EX EIDOTWN KAI MH EIDOTWN.  By reverse attraction, I guess I mean that it picks up phonological features from grammatically non related elements (an implied relative pronoun or NP) in a way that does not conform to grammatical expectation. The genius of participles and other verbal nouns is their usefulness in speaking indirectly, smudging, as it were the thematic roles involved when one wishes to speak in "fuzzy language." Of course that drives 24 carrat grammarians insane.

I note that the late Eugene Lane has a summary article on his work on the god Men that you can view on Google Docs ANRW 18.3. In it he mentions the central importance of EX EIDOTWN KAI MH EIDOTWN in this cult. I haven't had a chance to go to the library and get his full discussion in his Dei Mensis book(s).

Yancy

Iver wrote

> Carl wrote:
>> "active form with PASSIVE MEANING???? Ordinarily the term is applied to 
>> middle/passive forms with ACTIVE meaning.
>>
>> I think that's a pretty pitiful discussion of "deponency" -- poorly written, 
>> unreferenced. Of course Wikipedia stuff varies considerably in quality.
>>
>> In Greek I know of three verbs commonly used in a passive sense:
>>
>> PASCW, e.g. DEINA EPAQON hUP' AUTWN = "I suffered awful things at their 
>> hands" = "I was treated dreadflly by them."
>> PIPTW, e.g. PIPTOUSIN MURIADES TWN POLEMIWN = "Untold numbers of the enemy 
>> fall" = "Untold numbers of the enemy are cut down."
>> APOQNHiSKW, e.g. APOQNHiSKEI hO PRODOTHS hUPO TWN POLITWN = "The traitor is 
>> executed by the citizens."
------------------
PASCW suggests MP semantics in that the subject is clearly the Patient. Some 
verbs with a patient as subject are active in form in Greek as well as in other 
languages that have both active and passive morphology.
>>
>> I remain skeptical about EIDOTWN KAI MH EIDOTWN meaning "things known and 
>> unknown."
>
> Text and translation from Horsely [see below]:
> Μῆνα ἐγ Διοδότου Ἀλέξανδρος Θαλούσης μετὰ Ἰουλίου καὶ τῆς ἀδελφῆς ἐλυτρώσαντο 
> τὸν θεὸν ἐξ εἰδότων καὶ μὴ εἰδότων. Ἔτους σλγ’
> MHNA EG DIODOTOU ALEXANDROS QALOUSHS META IOULIOU KAI THS ADELFHS ELUTRWSANTO 
> TON QEON EX EIDOTWN KAI MH EIDOTWN. ETOUS SLH’
> "Alexander, son of Thalouse, with Julius and his sister
> paid to the god Men of Diodotos a ransom for things known and not
> known. Year 233 (= 148-49 CE)."

What I don't understand is why people talk about a passive meaning here. Maybe 
they look at the English above and take "things" as subject for (be) known, or 
maybe I am missing something? It seems to be a rather short and ellipsed 
statement since the scenario is common knowledge:
Alexander, Julius and his sister paid a ransom to the god Men because of the 
things/sins which they knew about and the things/sins which they did not know 
about (as sins).

The subject for knowing (the Experiencer) is the three people while the object 
is the implicit things/sins, and that means no passive idea as far as I can 
tell. With an elision, the subject for EIDOTES is supplied from the preceding 
context.

Iver Larsen 




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