Home
Bibles
Biblical topics
Bible Study
 
Articles
Coptics
Orthodoxy
Pope Shenouda
Father Matta
Bishop Mattaous
Bishop Moussa
Bishop Alexander
Habib Gerguis
Agbia
Synaxarium
Saints
Fasts & Feasts
Family & Youth
Christian
Ethics
Patrology
Tutorial
3ds Max 2016
Account Payable
Accounts Receivable
ActionScript
Active Directory
Adaptive Access Manager
Adobe Premiere Pro
Ajax
Android
Apache Hive
ASP
Asset Management
AutoCAD
Banner
Big data
Building OA Framework
Business Intelligence
C Sharp
Calculus
Cash Management
CISCO
Cognos
CRM
Crystal Reports
Data Acquisition
Data Architecture
Data Archiving
Data Guard
Data Mining
Data Modeling
Data Structure
Data Visualization
Database
DataWarehouse
Design Illustration
Dodeca
Dreamweaver
DRM
DW ELT
E-Commerce
Erwin
Essbase
Expression Web
FDM
Fusion Middleware
General Ledger
Google Drive
GoPro Studio
Hacking
Hadoop
HFM
HRMS
HTML5 CSS3
Hyperion Planning
Index
Informatica
iOS
Java
JavaBeans
JavaScript
JQuery
 
Linux
LYNC SERVER 2013
MapReduce
Massive UE4
MetricStream
Microstrategy
MS Access 2016
MS Exchange Server
MS OneNote 2016
MS OneNote 2016 
MS Outlook 2016
MS PowerPoint 2016
MS Publisher 2016
MS SharePoint 2016
MS Word
MS-Dynamics
MYSQL-PHP
Networking
OBIEE
OpenGL
Oracle 12c Administration
Oracle DEMAND PLANNING
Oracle EBS
Oracle E-business tax
Oracle Financial Applications
Oracle Identity Manager
Oracle Mobile
Oracle Payroll Fundamentals
Oracle Performance Tuning
Oracle Product Lifecycle
Oracle project
Oracle Purchasing
Oracle RAC admin
Oracle SOA admin
Peoplesoft
Perl
Photoshop CS6
Pig
PLSQL
PowerShell
Programming
Project
Project Management
Python
R Programming
SAP
SAS
SQL
SQL Server
Subledger Accounting
Supply Chain Planning
Tableau
Template
TeraData
Toad
TSQL
UML
Unix
VBA
Visio
Visual Basic
Visual Studio
Weblogic Server
Windows 10
Windows Server
XML

 

 

THE MIDDLE VOICE IN

THE NEW TESTAMENT

 

 

by

 

George J. Cline

 


 

 

Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements

for the degree of Master of Theology in

Grace Theological Seminary

May 1983

 

Digitized by Ted Hildebrandt, Gordon College, 2006


Title: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MIDDLE VOICE IN THE NT

Author: George J. Cline

Degree: Master of Theology

Date: May, 1983

Advisers: John Sproule; George Zemek

 

The middle voice in Greek has no exact parallel in the English

language. Scholars disagree about both its essential significance and

its various usages as dictated per context. The notion of voice inter-

change, i.e., usage of a middle voice with an active meaning apart

from the issue of deponency, is the primary controversy. Translational

and interpretive problems apart from voice interchange are treated as

secondary. Historical argumentation, clarification of the notion of

voice in general, and a removal of misconceptions regarding the names

of the voices are the foundation upon which ensuing argumentation rests.

The historical development of the middle voice as well as usage

invalidate the concept that the middle voice is middle in meaning between

the active and passive voices. The middle voice is older than the pas-

sive and has fluctuated in meaning with significant passage of time.

Regarding meaning of the middle voice, the suggestions of transitiveness

and general reflexivity are deemed as inadequate or misleading. Although

the concepts of special advantage and subject participation in the

results may at times be involved, these ideas are not inherent to the

middle itself. In fact, an examination of the true middles in the NT

fails to reveal a prescriptive definition applicable to every occurrence.

Instead, a basic notion of the middle voice as an intensification in

some manner or degree of the relationship between the subject and the

action expressed by the verb serves as a valid general guideline. The

absence or presence, degree, and manner of this intensification is deter-

mined by the historical development of the verb, the verbal idea itself,

and the particular context.

Voice interchange without semantic distinction is an infrequent

phenomenon in the NT. An examination of parallel synoptic passages

reveals that Mark apparently employs the middle in certain cases simply

as a stylistic variation. However, no broad spectrum principle is

available, for in James 4:2, 3 a semantic distinction is recognized,

whereas in 1 John 5:14, 15 none is apparent. Each particular case of

voice interchange should be evaluated on its own merits. In addition,

a taxonomical approach is ultimately unsatisfactory.

Several warnings are appropriate regarding the middle voice.

First, not every nuance of the middle can be expressed by English trans-

lation. Second, usage apparently varied among different authors and in

different localities. Finally, unwarranted dogmatism and insistence on

classical distinctions should be avoided. Instead, a safe guideline is

to interpret the intensification of each true middle in terms of its

context, verbal idea, and historical development.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accepted by the Faculty of Grace Theological Seminary

in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree

Master of Theology

John A Sproule

Adviser

 

George J. Zemek

Adviser

 

 


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

 

AJP American Journal of Philology

BAGD Bauer, W. F. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon of

the NT, rev. F. Danker

BG M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek

BGHG R. W. Funk, A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic

Greek

DNTT C. Brown, Dictionary of New Testament Theology

GASS J. Thompson, A Greek Grammar, Accidence and Syntax for Schools

and Colleges

GLHR A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the

Light of Historical Research

GNTG W. F. Howard, J. H. Moulton, and N. Turner, A Grammar of New

Testament Greek

GOECL F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, rev. R. Funk

HGG A. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar

ICC International Critical Commentary

IJAL International Journal of American Linguistics

LPGL G. W. H. Lampe, Patristic Greek Lexicon

LSJ H. Liddell, R. Scott, and H. Jones, A Greek English Lexicon

NICNT New International Commentary on the New Testament

NTG E. Jay, New Testament Greek, An Introductory Grammar

MGNT H. Dana and J. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New

Testament

TDNT G. Kittel and G. Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the

New Testament

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

List of Abbreviations vii

INTRODUCTION 1

 

Chapter

I. BACKGROUND 3

Meaning of Voice 3

Distinctions 5

Emphasis 6

In the active voice 6

In the middle voice 7

In the passive voice 8

History of the Voices 8

Middle Older than Passive 9

Fluctuation in Meaning 9

Names of the Voices 10

Summary 12

 

II. SIGNIFICANCE 13

Viewpoints 14

Reflexive 14

Proponents 14

Opponents 15

Evaluation 16

Middle in Meaning 16

Special Advantage 18

Participating in the Results 18

Transitive - Intransitive 19

Summary 21

Fundamental Concept 21

History of the Verb 22

Idiomatic expressions 22

Deponency 23

Distinct semantic shift 24

Form and Tense 24

Summary 26

 

III. USAGE 28

Interchangeability 29

Middle for Active 30

James 4:2,3 30

Semantic difference 30

Semantic indistinction 32

1 John 5:14,15 33

Parallel Synoptic Passages 35

Matthew 26:23; Mark 14:20 35


Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:20 36

Matthew. 26:51; Mark 14:47 37

Summary 38

Paired Sentences 38

Using eu[ri<skw 39

Using u[stere<w 39

Using Additional Verbs 40

Summary 40

Active for Middle 40

Based on Similarity of Meaning 40

Based on Classical Precedent 41

Based on Different Construction 43

Summary 44

Passive as Middle 44

Divisions 45

Direct Middle 47

Causative or Permissive Middle 47

Indirect 48

Reciprocal 49

Redundant 49

Dynamic or Deponent 49

Summary 51

 

IV. TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION 53

Warnings 53

Overtranslation 53

Rigid Rules 54

Unwarranted Dogmatism 54

Authorial and Geographical Variation 55

Insistence on Classical Distinctions 55

Guidelines 56

For translation 56

For interpretation 57

 

V. CONCLUSION 58


 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Any thorough attempt to interpret and translate Romans 3:9

causes the exegete to ponder over the voice of proexo<meqa. Is the verb

middle or passive, or is it middle in form yet active in meaning though

not deponent? Similarly, the aorist middle participle aTreKcSuo6pcvos

presents exegetical difficulties (Col 2:15). Is the participle merely

deponent or is it a true middle with the sense of having divested himself

of something.1 The resultant theological significance is considerably

affected by the sense which is selected.2

As in the above cases, numerous exegetical questions partially

hinge upon the voice of the verb. In the case of the middle voice, the

difficulty is increased since that phenomenon is a refinement of the

Greek language that has no parallel in English. In common with other

languages of Indo-European origin, Greek expresses by inflection what

some modern languages, notably English, express by auxiliaries. Further-

more, grammarians differ in their understanding of the essential

significance of the middle voice. Thus, in order to remove some of

these obstacles, three basic problems are dealt with.

The first difficult problem concerns the elucidation of a basic

concept regarding the middle voice. After an analysis of various

 

1 BAGD, p. 83. They list a]pekdu<omai as deponent.

2 Homer A. Kent, Jr., Treasures of Wisdom, Studies in Colossians

and Philemon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), pp. 88-89. If the

verb is not deponent, then it does not properly describe the taking of

power away from evil angels.

1


2

viewpoints, a functional definition describing a basic concept of the

middle is set forth. Second, and perhaps the most controversial, are

the problematic areas of usage. Is the middle voice used with an active

meaning even though the verb is not deponent? More generally, is the

semantical distinction among the voices blurred in the NT? In addition,

the effectiveness of taxonomical approaches to usage are questioned.

Third, what are general guidelines regarding translation and interpreta-

tion of the middle voice?

Historical argumentation concerning development of the voices

combined with a clarification of the meaning of voice in general lays

the foundation for treating these problems.


 

 

CHAPTER I

 

BACKGROUND OF THE MIDDLE VOICE

 

In order to avoid semantic confusion, it is advantageous to

clarify the meaning and concept of voice as it applies to language in

general. For often the voices are treated categorically, without the

basic notion of voice having been first clarified. Also, a brief history

of the voices in Greek combined with a discussion of the terminology

relating to the voices is the necessary background for the elimination

of certain erroneous conceptions.1

 

Meaning of Voice

The grammatical category of voice as used by linguists and

grammarians to comprehend and analyze a specific verbal feature con-

tained in some languages has enjoyed considerable popularity over the

last few years.2 It is thus not surprising that voice as a grammatical

category has been variously defined.3 Yet, if a descriptive definition

 

1 Certain older grammarians are imbued with the notion that the

middle voice has a middle signification between the active and passive

voices. See, for example, Richard Valpy, The Elements of Greek Grammar

(New York: W. E. Dean, 1837), p. 82; Charles Anthon, A Grammar of the

Greek Language (New York: Harper and Bros., 1855), p. 124. They appear

to follow the precedent set by Claude Lancelot, A New Method of Learning

the Greek Tongue, 2 vols. trans. Thomas Nugent (London: J. Nourse, 1746;

reprinted; Menston, England: Scolar Press, 1972), p. 236.

2 Jan Svartvik, On Voice in the English Verb (Hague: Mouton and

Co., 1966), p. 1. This popularity in English is largely due to the

advent of transformational grammatical theory.

3 Robert J. Di Pietro, Language Structures in Contrast (Rowley:

Newbury House Publishers, 1971), pp. 75-77. A uniform descriptive

 

3


4

of voice is to be useful in analyzing a language, it should be suffi-

ciently general so that it does not either impose semantic restrictions

or add nuances that are not inherent in a language.1 As pertaining to

Greek, many grammarians discuss the problems of voice without clarifying

the concept of voice itself or finding any single cohesive principle

for the category.2 When the notion of voice itself is clarified it is

usually defined descriptively in terms of the relationship between the

subject of a sentence and the verbal action of its predicate.3 Simply

defined, voice is the relationship between the subject of a sentence and

the action expressed by the verb.4 The various voices indicate a range

of possible relationships between subject and predicate. Yet, strictly

 

definition of voice applicable to all languages is difficult to obtain.

For example, see Alice Werner, Introductory Sketch of the Bantu

Languages (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1919), pp.

146-55. At least eleven different derived forms of the verb have been

found which may be described as voices.

1 Archibald T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in

the Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934), pp.

31-40 (hereafter cited as GLHR). He appropriately warns that the seat

of authority in language is not the books about language, but it is the

people who use the language.

2 Frank E. B. Leddusire, "A Comparative Study of Middle Voice in

Koine Greek and Reflexive Verbs in Old Russian through Case Grammar

Description" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1972),

p. 26.

3 For an exception, see Fred W. Householder, Kostas Kazazis, and

Andreas Koutsoudas, "Reference Grammar of Literary Dhimotiki", IJAL 30

(April 1964):102. They define voice as that which refers to the direc-

tion of the action expressed by the verb. Although this directional

concept may differentiate the active and passive voices, it appears to

be inadequate for the middle.

4 Eric G. Jay, New Testament Greek, an Introductory Grammar,

(London: SPCK, 1958), p. 14 (thereafter cited as NTG); Robert W. Funk,

A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek, 2d corrected ed.

vol. 2 (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1973), p. 395 (hereafter cited as

BGHG). This definition does not appear to impose upon the Greek voices

meanings that they do not contain.


5

speaking, voice is the property of the verbal-idea rather than of the

subject.1

 

Distinctions

If a definition of voice is chosen as the relationship between

the subject and the action expressed by its verb, then for the sake of

clarity and consistency, the voices should be defined in terms of that

relationship.2 The active voice represents the subject as performing

the action of the verb. The passive voice represents the subject as

acted upon, and does not act.3 However, the middle voice denotes that

the subject is in some special manner involved or interested in the

action of the verb.4 Stated slightly differently, in the middle voice

there is an intensification in some manner between the subject and the

action expressed by the verb.5 The following examples of lou<w illustrate

 

1 Harvey E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the

Greek New Testament (New York: Macmillan Co., 1955), pp. 154-55 (here-

after cited as MGNT); Johann M. Stahl, Kritischhistorische Syntax des

griechischen Verbums der classichen Zeit (Heidelberg: Carl Winter's

Universitatbuchhandlung, 1907), p. 42.

2 For consistency and clarity, see Herbert W. Smyth, Greek

Grammar, rev. Gordon M. Messing (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,

1956), pp. 389-94; Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek,

pt. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965), p. 61-70.

3 John Thompson, A Greek Grammar, Accidence and Syntax for

Schools and Colleges (New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1903), p. 310

(hereafter cited as GASS).

4 Gildersleeve, Greek Syntax, 1:64.

5 A list of definitions of numerous authors was compiled. These

definitions of the voices could be divided as to the central theme. It

appears that the clearest definitions consistently define the voices in

terms of the relationship of subject and action. They virtually all

agree that there is a difference between the relationship in the

active voice and that of the middle. The relationship in the middle is

more intense.


6

the differences between active, middle and passive voice functions,

respectively.1

1. h[ a]delfh> e@lousen to> te<knon. The sister bathed the child.

2. h[ a]delfh> e]lou<sato. The sister bathed (herself).2

3. to> te<knon e]lou<qh u[po> th?j a]delfh?j. The child was bathed by the sister.

 

Emphasis

The difference of emphasis between voices has been termed one of

theme, salience, or focus of attention.3 Voice per se does not appear

to place an emphasis either on the subject, the verbal action, or their

relationship. The subject or verb may be emphasized by contextual

factors such as word--order, but this is not the function of voice.4

In The Active Voice

After suggesting that the prehistoric distinction between the

active and the middle voice involved an accent on the root in the active

form and on the personal ending in the middle form, James Moulton

 

1 Eugene Van Ness Goetchius, The Language of the New Testament,

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965), p. 100. These examples,

although not found in the NT, are particularly lucid because they emplo-

the same verb in the indicative mood. However, similar examples may be

found in the NT using lou<w, but some examples are in participial form.

For example, see e@lousen in Acts 16:33 for active; leloume<noj in John

13:10 for passive; lousame<nh in 2 Peter 2:22 for middle.

2 This use of the middle as reflexive is only one of the possible

functions of the middle voice. No single example can be cited to illus-

trate the broad spectrum of possibilities.

3 Herbert H. Clark, Semantics and Comprehension (Hague: Mouton

and Co. B.V., 1976), pp. 111-12. For forceful argumentation concerning

the emphasis of actives and passives in English, see p. 118.

4 GLHR, p. 798. His statement that the use of voice is to

direct attention to the subject, not to the object, may be misleading.

It should be noted that this statement is made regarding

transitiveness.


7

conjectures that originally in the active the action was stressed, in

the middle the agent.1 However, this possible historical distinction

does not appear to be the case in NT usage as illustrated by John 14:1.

pisteu<ete ei]j to>n qeo<n, kai> ei]j e]me> pisteu<ete. By means of a chiasm the

two verbs are placed in two emphatic positions, stressing the durative

action of believing.2 In the following verse ei#pon is not in an emphatic

position, and it is difficult to envision that the active voice of ei#pon

emphasizes the act of speaking. It simply indicates that Jesus, the

subject, is the performer of the action.

 

In The Middle Voice

Similarly, the assertion that the middle voice stresses the

agent needs to be either qualified or avoided. Dana and Mantey carefully

explain this notion with the following considerations.

While the active voice emphasizes the action, the middle stresses

the agent. It, in some way, relates the action more intimately to

the subject. Just how the action is thus related is not indicated

by the middle voice, but must be detected from the context of the

verbal idea.3

However, it appears possible to relate the action more intimately

to the subject without necessarily stressing the subject, i.e., the

agent of the action being the focus of attention rather than the rela-

tionship between the subject and the action. For example, katalamba<nw

in the active voice means to seize or overtake, but in the middle denotes

grasping for oneself or with reference to oneself, and thus to

comprehend. A mental as opposed to a physical application of katalamba<nw

 

1 GNTG, p. 512.

2 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel,

(Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 969.

3 MGNT, p. 157.


8

is introduced by the middle in this way, since mental action is

especially confined within the sphere of the agent.1 Hence the subject

of this verb in the middle voice indicates both the performer of the

action and that to whom or for which the action is performed.2 If this

notion is justifiably considered as stress, it is certainly far less

emphatic and of a different nature than the stress of a subject as indi-

cated by a personal pronoun as in the following example. ]Egw> de>

katelabo<mhn mhde>n a@cion au]to>n qana<tou pepraxe<nai. "But when I

understood that he had committed nothing worthy of death" (Acts 25:25).3

Thus, if one wishes to speak of special attention being focused

on the subject by the middle voice, it is only in the sense that the

subject both performs the action and is that to whom or for which the

action is performed.

In The Passive Voice

Similarly, the passive voice simply represents the subject as

being acted upon. Any notion of emphasis regarding the subject, verb,

or their relationship is due to contextual factors.

 

History of the Voices

The question regarding the antiquity and development of the

voice forms has not been fully established, and the gaps in knowledge

are often the areas of much conjecture.4 Yet there does appear to be

 

1 Wilbert F. Howard, James H. Moulton, and Nigel Turner, A Grammar

of New Testament Greek, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1906),

p. 158 (hereafter cited as GNTG).

2 Goetchius, Language of the New Testament, p. 104.

3 This author is responsible for the translations of Greek

statements throughout this thesis.

4 GNTG, 1:152-53.


9

sufficient historical information to establish that the middle is prior

to the passive in historical development.

 

Middle Older Than Passive

Although it is unknown whether the active or the middle voice

was the first to develop, it is generally recognized that primitive

Greek, as in other Indo-Germanic languages, had only two voice forms,

active and middle.1 The middle form was subsequently more fully devel-

oped into the passive.2 During the Attic period a complete system of

three voices existed.3 The ensuing tendency during the Hellenistic per-

iod was to merge the middle and passive forms into a single form with the

passive gaining ascendancy.4 In modern Greek, there is no middle form.5

 

Fluctuation in Meaning

Although John Thompson asserts that the original sense of the

middle form was reflexive, it appears that this is questionable.6 Yet

 

1 Karl Brugmann, A Comparative Grammar of the Indo-Germanic

Languages, vol. 4, trans. R. Seymour Conway and W. H. D. Rouse (New York:

B. Westerman and Co., 1895), p. 515; Satya S. Misra, A Comparative

Grammar of Sanskrit, Greek and Hittite, with a Foreward by Sunuti K.

Chatterji (Calcutta: World Press Private, 1968), p. 90.

2 James H. Moulton, An Introduction to the Study of New Testament

Greek, 5th ed., rev. Henry G. Meecham (London: Epworth Press, 1955),

p. 41. For a different viewpoint, see GASS, p. 305. Yet he still recog-

nizes middle is older than passive.

3 Anthony N. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar (London:

Macmillan and Co., 1897), p. 362 (hereafter cited as HGG)

4 Friedrich Blass and Albert Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New

Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. and rev. Robert W.

Funk (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), p. 161 (hereafter

cited as GOECL). For probable causes of this merger, see HCG, p. 362.

5 Irene P. Warburton, "On the Verb in Modern Greek" (Ph.D.

dissertation, Indiana University, 1966), p. 68.

6 GNTG 1:156. Although a reflexive meaning ultimately accrued to

the middle form, it would be wrong to assume that it was originally


10

whether or not this is true for certain periods, it is not true of NT

usage.1 The voices do vary in their usage during different stages of

the language.2 Although in the NT the middle forms may still retain a

wide field of usage for all the senses found in classical use, there are

examples contrary to the general trend.3 Thus, one should not evaluate

usage of the middle voice form in the NT solely by classical standards

or consider NT writers as lacking in their understanding of certain

grammatical distinctions.4

 

Names of the Voices

The names and earliest descriptions of the verbal category of

voice have been traced to Dionysius Thrax.5 Grammarians have objected

to the terminology of the Greek voices as not being clearly descriptive

of usage. Active is not distinct for the other voices also express

 

 

there. For a discussion of the controversy regarding reflexivity in

voice, see Leddusire, "Middle Voice," pp. 36-37.

1 C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, 2d ed.

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959), p. 24.

2 GLHR, p. 799.

3 Maximilian Zerwick, Biblical Greek, adapted from the 4th Latin

ed. by Joseph Smith (Rome: Pontificii Instititi Biblica, 1963), pp.

75-76 (hereafter cited as BG).

4 GLHR, p. 805; Edwin Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek (Oxford:

At the Clarendon Press, 1889), pp. 2-8.

5 Dionysius Thrax, Grammatici Graeci, vol. 1 (Lipsiae: In

Aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1838; reprint ed., Stuttgart: Georg Olms

Verlagsbuchhandlung Hildescheinz, 1965), pp. 48-49. His term for voice,

diaqe<sij, includes the three terms ene<rgeia meso<thj and pa<qoj. For

further history of the terminology, see F. E. Thompson, A Syntax of

Attic Creek (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1907), pp. 158-59; Basil

L. Gildersleeve, "Stahl's Syntax of the Greek Verb," American Journal

of Philology, 29 (1908):275.


11

action.1 Furthermore, the active does not always express an action,

but may denote a state.2 Concerning the middle, it does not stand in

between the active and passive in meaning.3 But even more objections

are raised against the name of deponent.4 This term is derived from the

Latin depono meaning to lay aside, since these verbs appear to have laid

aside and lost the active form.5 Yet certain verbs are found in the

active form only or the middle form only, and thus Moulton would prefer

to apply the name of deponent to both of these classes.6 Although it

may be recognized that the terms are not clearly descriptive of usage,

the solution does not appear to be the coining of new terms in place of

those which are imbedded in grammars and history. Instead, these terms

should be properly defined in terms of their usage.

 

1 GLHR, p. 331.

2 Friedrich Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, 2d ed. rev.

and enl., trans. Henry Thackeray (London: Macmillan and Co., 1905), pp.

180-81. However, linking verbs are best understood apart from the active

or passive idea. For example, see BGHG, 2:398-99.

3 GLHR, p. 331.

4 Certain grammarians even attempt to make deponents a different

category from middles. For example, see George B. Winer, A Grammar

Idiom of the New Testament, 7th ed. enl. and imp. Gottlieb Lunemann

(Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1869), p. 258. He proposes that from

middle verbs are to be carefully distinguished deponents. To eliminate

the confusion regarding deponents, sometimes a non-deponent is called a

true middle. For example, see BGHG 2:398. Others use the term

defective rather than deponent.

5 NTG, p. 85. But in some cases these verbs never had an active

form. A deponent is more accurately define as a verb which has an

active meaning, but only middle (or middle and passive) forms.

6 GNTG, 1:153.


12

Summary

The grammatical category of voice indicates how the subject is

related to the action expressed by the verb. The active voice repre-

sents the subject as performing the action of the verb. It simply

represents the subject as acting without necessarily stressing the

action. The passive voice simply represents the subject as being acted

upon. The middle voice indicates an intensification in some manner

between the subject and the action expressed by the verb, i.e., the

subject is in some special manner involved or interested in the action

of the verb. Although certain grammarians assume that the middle voice

stresses the agent of the action, this is valid only in the sense that

the subject both performs the action and is that to whom or for which

the action is performed. An examination of the history of the voices

invalidates the erroneous concept that the middle voice is middle in

meaning between the active and passive, for the middle form is older

than the passive form. Also from the historical survey it is seen that

the voices have varied in their usage during different stages of the

language. Thus classical standards, by themselves, are not a proper

criterion for evaluating NT usage. Finally, it is recognized that the

names of the voices are not clearly descriptive of their function, and

one should not be misled by the names. Instead, the terms should be

properly defined as regarding their usage.


 

 

CHAPTER II

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MIDDLE VOICE

 

Up to this point it has been briefly assumed, but not proven,

that the middle voice denotes that the subject is in some special manner

involved or interested in the action of the verb. Stated slightly dif-

ferently, in the middle voice there is an intensification in some manner

or degree between the subject and the action expressed by the verb.1

However, this assumption needs to be both clarified as well as qualified.

For it is correctly maintained that it is scarcely possible to formulate

a single definition of its basal function which could be applied to all

its actual occurrences.2 For such a definition, when applied to

particular cases, is subject to limitation or even contradiction.3 An

inductive approach to the study of true middles appears to confirm this,

for no single principle has been found which captures the meaning of

every true middle.4 Moulton even asserts that it is useless to exercise

 

1 For the difficulty involved in selecting a theoretical frame-

work for the study of voice problems, see Leddusire, "Middle Voice,"

p. 8. He rejects the traditional descriptive approach and adopts gener-

ative transformational grammar in the tradition of Noam Chomsky as the

only adequate basis. However, traditional grammar, which defines parts

of speech by their meaning and function, is fully capable of providing a

functional basis for the formulation of a workable definition.

2 MGNT, p. 157.

3 Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, p. 186.

4 A printout of all the middles in the NT was obtained from

project GRAMCORD. The printout of the middles was in two separate lists,

being separated on the basis of deponency. The majority of the

middles in the NT are deponent.

 

13


14

one's ingenuity in interpreting every middle, for the development in

some cases never progressed beyond the rudimentary stage.1

Thus, this assumption of intensification by the middle will be

first clarified and qualified by surveying different viewpoints among

grammarians. Second, examples and data that do not fall under this

general guideline will be examined.

 

Viewpoints

Although some grammars do have a general functional definition

of the middle voice, the following viewpoints of mediality are either

inadequate, misleading, or too vague to provide a clear operational

framework.

Reflexive

The term "reflexive," as found among different grammarians, was

rarely limited to a directly reflexive sense, i.e., the action is

directly referred back to the subject. The notions of reciprocity,

indirectness, and self-interest are sometimes included.2 Because of this

broad semantic extension, this is a difficult concept to analyze as

regarding its involvement in any basic notion of mediality.

Proponents

Jelf clearly maintains the reflexive position.

The essential sense which runs throughout the middle reflexive

verb is Self--the action of the verb has immediate reference to

self. This is the proper generic notion of all middle verbs, and

 

1 GNTG 1:158. His statement regards the category of dynamic mid-

dles. Yet this does not mean that a general function does not belong to

the middle voice. Usage over time may fix a different idiomatic meaning

to a middle, and thus it does not reflect the general function.

2 HGG, p. 360.


15

the particular sense of each middle verb must be-determined by dis-

covering the relation in which that notion of self stands to the

notion of the verb.1

Curtius and Sonnenschein also maintain that the basic notion of

the middle is primarily, but not exclusively, reflexive.2 Evidence for

this position is not lacking among the middles of the NT.3

Opponents

Jay denies a reflexive usage of the middle in the NT in the

direct sense. "The beginner is apt to jump to the conclusion that the

Greek Middle Voice is reflexive. This is not so. It denotes that the

subject performs the action for himself, but not to himself."4 However,

the following two examples of directly reflexive usage invalidate his

assertions.5

 

1 William E, Jelf, A Grammar of the Greek Language, 2d ed. 2

vols. (Oxford: James Wright, 1851), p. 14. Yet he maintains that

reflexivity is distinct from reciprocity and divides middles into two

categories: reflexive and reciprocal. For a similar position, see

Raphael Kuhner, Grammar of the Greek Language, for the Use of High

Schools and Colleges, trans. Bela B. Edwards and Samuel H. Taylor

(Andover: Allen, Morrill and Wardwell, 1844), p. 330.

2 Georg Curtius, The Greek Verb: Its Structure and Development,

trans. Augustus S. Wilkins and Edwin B. England (London: John Murray,

1880), p. 55. He uses the term "reflexive" in the broadest sense of the

term, not simply the direct passing of the action back onto the subject.

Also see Basil F. C. Atkinson, The Greek Language (London: Faber and

Faber, 1931), p. 136; Edward A. Sonnenschein, A Greek Grammar (London:

Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1914), p. 274.

3 For specific examples see pp. 47-48.

4 NTG, p. 14.

5 For a different view of a]ph<cato, see CNTG 1:155; Moule, An

Idiom Book of the New Testament Greek, p. 24. But the suggestion of the

English intransitive choke is not warranted by the details of the

parallel account in Acts 1:18. Secondly, it has been observed that the

only middle for self-murder is a]ph<cato which seems to have been the most

natural form of self-murder. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek,

1:64.


16

1. kai> a]pelqw>n a]ph<gcato "And after he departed, he hung himself"

(Matt 27:5)

2. o!ti yu?xoj h#n, kai> e]qermai<nonto h@n de> kai> o[ Pe<troj met ] au]tw?n e[stw?j

qermaino<menoj "Because it was cold and they were warming themselves;

And Peter also was with them standing and warming himself" (John

18:18).

As regarding reflexivity in the broader sense, Leddusire has

concluded that although Koine mediality can include underlying reflexive

constructions, the notion of reflexivity should not be considered the

primary motivation for voice.1

Evaluation

Although Robertson observes that reflexive is a better.designa-

tion of the middle than the tern: "middle" if direct reflexive is not

meant, the reflexive notion does not appear to be sufficient in relating

a basic concept regarding the middle voice for several reasons.2 The

sense of indirect reflexivity is very vague and differs from author to

author.3 It is unclear as regarding its termination point, for when

does a middle cease to be indirectly reflexive. Second, it is very

imprecise regarding the function of voice. The notion of emphasis,

either subject, verbal-action, or an interaction, is not specified.4

 

Middle in Meaning

The position maintained by Anthon, Valpy, and Lancelot that the

middle voice form is middle in meaning is modified by Wenham.

 

1 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p. 56.

2 Ibid., p. 331.

3 For example, see Gildersleeve, Greek Syntax 1:64. In some of

its uses, the middle corresponds to the English reflexive, but the

signification is much wider and shades off from what is practically a

direct reflexive until it ceases to present any translatable difference

from the active.

4 For discussion of this problem see the section on emphasis, p. 6.


17

Though some forms of the Middle are the same as the Passive, the

Middle is in meaning much closer to the Active than the Passive.

In fact, the meaning of Active and Middle are often indistinguish-

able. It is better to think of the Middle as a sort-of-Active than

as a sort-of-Passive.1

This modification, although not as directly erroneous as Anthon's

position, is still inadequate. Sometimes the middle may appear to be

closer to a passive idea than an active notion.2 Common ground between

the middle and passive is to be observed in the examples of which a

translation submit to or let oneself be is often suggested for the middle.

For example, a]dikei?sqe is present middle or passive in form (1 Cor 6:7).

BAGD, apparently taking this verb as a middle, offers the translation

let oneself be wronged.3 Zerwick understands this verb to be passive

and translates suffer an injustice.4 The context appears to place the

responsibility on the subject of a]dikei?sqe, and hence the middle is

appropriate. They ought to have submitted to injustice, to have ignored

their rights, to have allowed themselves to be defrauded.5 In this case,

the subject not only performs an action, i.e., letting or permitting

oneself, but also by implication is acted upon, i.e., is wronged.

Although this is not the same as the passive be wronged in every case,

 

1 John H. Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1965), pp. 22-23. For the views of Anthon,

Valpy, and Lancelot, which were discounted via historical argumentation,

see p. 3.

2 GNTG, 1:162.

3 BAGD, p. 17. The verb, when taken as passive, is translated as

be wronged, be unjustly treated (Acts 7:24; 1 Cor 6:7).

4 Mary Grosvenor and Max Zerwick, A Grammatical Analysis of the

Greek New Testament, vol. 2 (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1979),

p. 508.

5 James L. Boyer, For A World Like Ours, Studies in 1 Corinthians

(Winona Lake, BMH Books, 1971), p. 70.


18

for one can be wronged by force without being a cooperative participant,

Moulton correctly notes that the dividing line between middle and passive

in such cases is a fine one at best.1

 

Special advantage

The attempt to precisely describe and define the relationship of

the subject to the verbal-action in the middle voice may lead one into

error. Although the agent of the action may be stressed, this does not

mean that the action described is necessarily of special advantage or

significance to the subject as proposed by Jay.2 He hung himself,

a]ph<cato, was certainly not of special advantage or significance to Judas

(Matt 27:5).

Similarly, it is difficult to envision that special advantage or

significance for the subject is being emphasized by ai]wni<an lu<trwsin

eu[ra<menoj "having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12). Instead, he

found the way. Jesus is represented as having secured eternal

redemption by himself.3

 

Participating in the Results

Dana and Mantey comment that the middle voice is that use of

the verb which describes the subject as participating in the results of

the action.4 However, they carefully expand this concept by adding that

the middle, in some way, relates the action more intimately to the

 

1 GNTG 1:162. Also perite<mnhsqe in Gal 5:2.

2 NTG, p. 14.

3 GLHR, p. 809. For a different rendering of this middle see

James Moffatt, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to

the Hebrews, ICC (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1924), p. 121.

4 MGNT, p. 157.


19

subject. The precise manner in which the action is thus related to the

subject is not indicated by the middle voice.1 Similarly, Gideon and

Vaughan observe that the middle voice at times may call special attention

to the subject as in some way participating in the results of the ac-

tion.2 Subject participation is clearly not always the case, since the

middle may represent the agent as voluntarily yielding himself to the

results of the action, or seeking to secure the results of the action in

his own interest.3 For example, the woman does not appear to be parti-

cipating in the results of the command keira<sqw, "For if a woman will

not wear a veil, let her also have her hair cut off" (1 Cor 11:6).

Thus, while subject participating in the results may at times

be involved, this is not a fundamental concept regarding the middle.4

 

Transitive - Intransitive

Transitivity has been associated with voice as early as Jelf.5

The issue of transitivity obscures the notion of voice, and makes the

discovery of any general notion of voice more difficult.6 To state the

difference between active and middle as merely that of transitive and

 

1 Ibid., p. 157.

2 Virtus E. Gideon and Curtis Vaughan, A Greek Grammar of the New

Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979), pp. 91-92. More generally

it (the middle voice) represents the subject as acting in relation to

himself--either on himself, for himself, or by himself.

3 MGNT, p. 160. The example in 1 Cor 11:6 was chosen because the

foam is middle aorist imperative, and thus the problem in other examples

concerning identity of a middle-passive form is avoided.

4 Even this particular nuance is not an inherent feature of the

middle. The precise relationship of the subject with reference to him-

self is not indicated by the middle itself.

5 Jelf, A Grammar of the Greek Language, pp. 10-15.

6 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," pp. 26-30. His analysis of this

problem is particularly lucid.


20

intransitive is incorrect.1 Voice per se does not deal with the ques-

tion of transitive or intransitive action.2 Robertson rejected transi-

tivity as being essential to voice.3 His forceful argument consists of

four observations. First, any one or all of the voice forms may be in

association with transitive verbs. Second, an inherently intransitive

verb like gi<nomai can appear in any voice form without its intransitivity

being lost.4 Third, a verb may be both transitive and intransitive in

the same voice. Fourth, transitivity varies in different languages

because it relates to the restrictions of a particular verb.5 However,

both transitivity and voice are properties of the verb.6 But transiti-

vity is discerned by the relation of the verb to an object, and is

determined by the nature of the verbal idea. Voice, also a property of

the verbal idea, indicates how the subject is related to the action.7

 

Summary

A survey and analysis of selected viewpoints among grammarians

has yielded the following results. Although direct reflexivity does

 

1 Atkinson, The Greek Language, p. 136.

2 Smyth, Greek Grammar, p. 393.

3 GLHR, pp. 330-31. These arguments are clearly summarized and

presented with examples by Leddusire, "Middle Voice," pp. 28-30. He

adds a fifth argument that intransitive middle or reflexive verbs may

in fact represent an underlying verb with an object. This would mean

that they are only overtly intransitive, while in underlying grammar

they serve a transitive-like function.

4 e]ge<neto middle deponent, to> ge<gonoj active, genhqeh<tw passive.

5 GLHR, p. 330.

6 There are exceptions. Some verbs do vary according to form.

Thus, i!sthmi, a regularly transitive or causative verb, has an

intransitive sense in the perfect and second aorist. For discussion,

see Samuel Green, Handbook of the Greek New Testament (New York:

Fleming H. Revell Co., 1880), p. 292.

7 MGNT, pp. 154-55.


21

occur among NT middle forms in a few cases, the reflexive notion does

not appear to be sufficient in relating a basic concept of the middle.

The suggestion of indirect reflexivity is too general and vague, and the

usage of this term differs among various authors. Also indirect reflexi-

vity is very imprecise regarding the function of voice, for the notion

of emphasis is not specified. Subject participation in the results of

the action at times may occur as a usage of the middle, but this is not

a universal concept inherent in the middle voice itself. The precise

manner in which the action is related to the subject is not indicated by

the middle voice. Likewise, transitivity is not a concept essential to

voice. Voice does not deal with the question of transitive or intransi-

tive action. Also the middle voice is not middle in meaning between

active and passive. Nor is the suggestion that the middle voice is in

meaning much closer to the active than the passive particularly helpful,

for sometimes the middle may appear to be closer to a passive idea than

an active notion.

 

Fundamental Concept

The suggestion, however, that the middle voice denotes the sub-

ject in some special manner involved or interested in the action of the

verb does appear to be a valid principle.2 It serves as a general

guideline when applied to true middles.3 Yet even this general notion

 

1 MGNT, pp. 154-55.

2 Gildersleeve, Greek Syntax, 1:64. For a brief summary of

opinions that attempt to represent a similar notion, see MGNT, p. 157.

3 Again, it is important to note the basis upon which this sugges-

tion is considered valid. Since an inductive approach to the study of

the middles of the NT has failed to reveal a basic principle that is

applicable to every middle, the best functional definition by a grammar-

ian that appears to be valid in the majority of cases was selected.


22

does not cover every middle, and thus needs to be qualified by the

following considerations.1

History of the Verb

A survey of the history of a verb from its earliest traceable

origin down to the time of the usage under consideration may indicate

that there is no exegetical significance of the middle voice in terms of

this general guideline. For a historical survey of the verb may reveal

an idiomatic usage of the middle that has become established over time,

a possible deponent usage not necessarily indicated by a lexicon, or a

distinct semantic shift of meaning from active to middle.

Idiomatic Expressions

The verb poie<w in its middle form followed by a verbal noun in

classical Greek formed a periphrasis for the simple corresponding verb.2

Although bebai<a poiei?sqai is rendered by Lenski as continuous making

sure and firm for ourselves in 2 Peter 2:2, the expression may simply

have the same sense as the verb bebaio<w.3 Another idiom listed by

Robertson is a future middle form of a verb which has a passive

meaning.4 On the basis of the future middle form being used in

 

1 For a more extensive treatment of these issues, see chapter

three, "Usage of the Middle Voice."

2 Smyth, Greek Grammar, p. 391. See pp. 22-23.

3 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of I and II Epistles of

Peter, the three Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude, (Minneapolis:

Augsburg Publishing House, 1966), p. 277. However, see BAGD, p. 683. On

the basis of historical precedent, they state that the middle of poie<w

serves mostly as a periphrasis of the simple verbal idea.

4 GLHR, p. 819. Considering the rather large list of verbs that

once used the middle future as passive in sense, the idiom is rare in

the NT.


23

passive sense by Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophen, Plato and

Demosthenes, as well as having been identified as occurring in the LXX,

he suggests the possibility that peribalei?tai in Rev 3:5 and a]poko<yontai

in Gal 5:12 may be examples of this idiom.1

Deponency

Also a survey of the historical evolution of a verb may indicate

a prior history of deponent usage.2 For even if a verb occurs in both

an active form and a middle form in the same tense among literature

written within the same time period, this still may not be an indication

of a true middle, i.e., non-deponent middle. For example, in classical

Greek of the Attic period the future form of a]kou<w is regularly deponent

as a]kou<somai.3 However, in the NT the verb is usually cited as active

in its second principal part as a]kou<sw.4 The verb only occurs eight

times in the future tense in the NT with four forms being active and

four forms being middle.5 Since there is no obvious nuance intended by

 

1 Ibid., p. 819. For strong argumentation against this idiom in

Gal 5:12, see John Eadie, A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle

of Paul to the Galatians (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1869; reprint

ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), p. 397. The example is

cited, however, to simply illustrate the importance of considering the

historical evolution of a verb as one of the factors to be considered

when evaluating the possible exegetical signifiance of a middle form.

2 See pp. 49-50 for further discussion.

3 Joint Association of Classical Teachers Greek Course, Reading

Greek: Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises (Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1978), p. 284.

4 MGNT, p. 255; J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for

Beginners, (Toronto: Macmillan Co., 1951), p. 255. However, both forms

for the future are listed in GNTG 2:227.

5 Alfred A. Geden and William F. Moulton, eds., A Concordance to

the Greek Testament, rev. Harold K. Moulton (Edinburgh: T. and T.

Clark, 1978), pp. 34-38.


24

the future middle a]kou<somai in its contexts, the historical precedent of

deponency in classical Greek contributes to the decision that these

middle futures in the NT are deponent.1

Distinct semantic shift

Occasionally the middle form of a verb expresses a distinct

semantic change as compared to the active form and is best translated

as an active voice with a different meaning.2 These distinct differ-

ences, such as a@rxw (I rule) but a@rxomai (I begin) usually pose no

problem as they have well-known lexical meanings. However, similar

shifts occur for verbs that are not as well known. For example, the

imperfect a]pelu<onto in Acts 28:25 apparently simply means were going

away, departing.3

Form and Tense

The Koine Greek verbal system consists of two forms, the finite

and the non-finite. Finite forms are sub-categorized by moods, wheres

non-finite forms are subdivided as infinitival, participial, and verbal-

adjectival in -teoj.4 Of the non-finite forms, the infinitive

 

1 GLHR, p. 333. He cites at least 15 verbs which had the future

in the middle form as deponent in classical Greek but have an active

future form in the NT. In the case of a]kou<w, apparently this transition

is not complete. Also note zh<sw and zh<somai in NTG, p. 319.

2 GLHR, p. 804. His attempts to trace the middle meaning of

verbs of this type to an original reflexive sense are not always

possible. For example, game<w (I marry, used of the bridegroom) but

game<omai (I marry, used of the bride). Similarly gra<fw (I enrol) but

gra<fomai (I indict).

3 BAGD, p. 96. A sufficient number of passages are cited with a

parallel meaning. Although it is not difficult to envision how this

sense could have been developed in the middle as compared to one of the

active meanings, to send away.

4 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p. 42.


25

apparently did not originally possess voice functions.1 Robertson postu-

lates that gradually by analogy the infinitive forms came to be

associated with the voices in the moods.2 Gildersleeve warns against

always assuming voice significance in an infinitive.

The infinitive being a verbal noun is not so strictly bound by the

voices as the finite form. The infinitive as a complement to

adjectives and the so-called epexegetic infinitive often coincide

with the English idiom in which good to eat is good for food.3


 In this regard Robertson appears correct in asserting that there

is no special voice significance in fagei?n in the phrase kai> ei#pen

doqh?nai au]th? fagei?n "and he said that something to eat be given to her"

(Mark 5:43). For the infinitive fagei?n, being a verbal-noun, serves as

the accusative of general reference of doqh?nai.4 However, his remark

that after the infinitive is fully developed its voice appears exactly

as in the moods is not particularly lucid. How does one determine in

the NT if an infinitive is "fully-developed" or in primitive form?5

Regarding voice in a participle it appears correct to understand that

all the nuances of the voices appear in the participle, and the voices

in the participle parallel usage in the finite verb itself.6

 

1 GNTG, 1:203.

2 GLHR, p. 1079.

3 Gildersleeve, Greek Syntax, 1:63.

4 GLHR, pp. 1079-80.

5 Few grammarians deal with this issue. But see Leddusire

"Middle Voice," p. 42. He cogently argues that the voice idea is re-

duced in infinitive forms, perhaps because of the derived nature of the

infinitive phrase, the usual deletion of the subject of the infinitive

phrase, and the absence of person indicators.

6 GLHR, p. 1110-11. This assertion is supported by the evidence

that voice appears in the earliest Greek participles as well as Sanskrit.

Also the examples cited by Robertson give ample proof of active, middle,

and passive voice distinctions in participles in the NT. Furthermore,

no participles have been encountered which do not admit a possible voice

distinction, nor has any grammarian been found to suggest otherwise.


26

Concerning voice in a finite form a change of mood does not

appear to cause a fluctuation in the significance of the voice.1

However, a change in tense may affect the significance of a middle form

on the basis of deponency. A verb which is not deponent in one principal

part may be deponent in another part.2

 

Summary

Although no single principle was discovered from an inductive

study of middles in the NT that is valid for every occurrence of a true

middle, the suggestion that the middle voice depicts the subject as in

some special manner involved or interested in the action of the verb

serves as a general guideline in the majority of cases in the NT.

However, this significance should not be automatically attributed to

every true middle. A survey of the historical evolution of a verb may

indicate idiomatic usage of the middle, possible deponent indications

which may not be lexically cited, or a distinct semantic shift that has

become fixed over a limited time period.

Also the form and tense need to be considered when evaluating

voice significance. Although all finite forms of a verb and the parti-

ciple demonstrate distinct voice functions, this is not always the case

of an infinitive, especially when used as a complement to adjectives and

in epexegetical usage. Regarding tense, it is important to know the

principal parts of a verb. For a shift from active to middle voice form

 

1 The monumental task of deductively studying mood shifts to

ascertain this assertion has not been done. However, again, no negating

evidence has been encountered nor has any grammarian been found to

suggest otherwise.

2 This is especially true regarding future deponent middles of

many non-deponent present tense verbs. For example see the list in

NTG, 318-22.


27

with a shift in tense, such as present to future, may simply be a

transition to a deponent form.


 

 

CHAPTER III

 

USAGE OF THE MIDDLE VOICE

 

Although the middle voice signals an intensification in some

degree or manner between subject and action expressed by its verb, what

this precise intensification is, the middle voice per se does not

indicate.1 The nature of this intensification must be derived from the

context, the historical development of the verb, and the significance

of the verb itself.2 Thus, usage is the key. Gildersleeve maintains

that the interpretation of the differences between active and middle are

not so much grammatical as lexical.3 The grammatical definition does

not determine the practical use, the conventional use. Thus, gh?mai is

used of the man and gh<masqai of the woman.4 However, these differences

of interpretation are not due to features inherent in the voice itself.

When analyzing usage of the middle voice in the NT, grammarians often

center their discussions around two phenomena. First, there is the

purported usage of the middle voice which overlaps or is synonymous with

the active and passive voices. Second, there are usages in which the

middle voice expresses a distinct nuance, and these nuances are usually

treated with a taxonomical approach.

 

1 GNTG 1:41; William H. Davis, Beginner's Grammar of the Greek

New Testament (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1923), p. 37.

2 GLHR, p. 804.

3 Gildersleeve, "Stahl's Syntax of the Greek Verb," p. 277.

4 Ibid., p. 277.


29

Interchangeability

Turner asserts that during the New Testament period there was

much confusion of meaning between the active and middle voice forms, and

the middle form was a luxury which was dispensed with in time. New

Testament authors were rapidly losing their grip on nice grammatical

distinctions in voice.1 An even more vague generalization reached by

Simcox is that although perhaps the distinction is beginning to be

blurred among some of the NT writers, it is preserved to a greater or

lesser extent in most.3 While recognizing possible overlap, Moulton

agrees with the summary of Blass that on the whole NT writers were per-

fectly capable of preserving the distinction between the active and the

middle.4 This more reserved conclusion is also arrived at by Zerwick,

who notes that on careful examination, the use of the active can usually

be accounted for.5 In view of this controversy, the specific examples

cited as support need to be evaluated. The passages pertaining to this

controversy may be aligned under three headings: middle for active,

active for middle, and passive for active or middle.6

 

1 Nigel Turner, Grammatical Insights into the New Testament

(Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1965), p. 112.

2 Moule, Idiom Book, p. 24.

3 William H. Simcox, The Language of the New Testament, Reprint

ed. (Winona Lake: Alpha Publications, 1980), p. 95.

4 GNTC 1:158; Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, p. 95.

5 Zerwick, BG, p. 73.

6 Allen C. Willoughby, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on

the Gospel according to St. Matthew, ICC 3d ed., ed. C. A. Briggs,

et al. (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1912), p. xxiii. He also

uses a fourth category of active for passive.


30

Middle for Active

Turner, an avid proponent of the interchangeability of voice

forms without a difference in meaning, declares the following bold

assertion.

While it is true that the lexicons provide no example of the middle

voice being used in an active sense, the New Testament abounds

(emphasis mine) in instances where a middle voice is used when

there is an active form of the verb available; indeed, the middle

is often used in the very sentence where its active form occurs

with the same meaning.1

However, one certainly hesitates to subscribe to such a dictum

without solid evidence.2 Indeed, the passages usually cited are few in

number, with James 4:2 being given as the classic example of voice

indistinction.3

James 4:2,3

In this passage the same verb ai]te<w alternates in voice between

middle, active, and middle, respectively. "You do not have because you

do not ask (dia> to> mh> ai]tei?sqai u[ma?j). You ask (ai]tei?te) and do not

receive, because you ask with wrong motives (kakw?j ai]tei?sqe), so that

you may spend it on your pleasures" (Jas 4:2, 3). Numerous and varied

attempts to explain this interchange of voice in terms of a definite

semantic difference have been set forth.

 

Semantic difference

Mayor suggests that a slight additional shade of meaning is

added by the middle voice. The active suggests using the words without

 

1 Turner, Grammatical Insights, p. 106.

2 The purported numerous passages are not cited by the author.

3 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p. 127.


31

the spirit of prayer, while the middle means asking with the spirit of

prayer.1 However, the context does not support this suggestion. For

how can one ask with wrong motives (kakw?j ai]tei?sqe) with a true spirit

of prayer?2 On the other hand, to ascribe an un-prayerlike request to

the voice of ai]tei?sqe as the reason for its being kakw?j is to ignore

dia> to> mh> ai]tei?sqai which states that one does not have what he needs

because he does not ask in that very verbal voice.3

Zerwick finds the difference between middle and active to be

especially clear when the same verb is used in the same context in both

verses.4 Thus, Mark makes a quite classical distinction between ai]te<w

simply ask, and ai]tou?mai avail oneself of one's right to ask. "And he

swore to her, 'whatever you ask (ai]th<shj) of me, I will give it to you;

up to half of my kingdom.' And she went out and said to her mother,

'What shall I ask (ai]th<somai)?'" (Mark 6:23, 24).5 So also the same

distinction may be in James 4:2, 3.6 Hiebert agrees that the middle here

retains its usual middle force of to ask for your own selves since the

purpose clause in verse three certainly involves this personal interest

 

1 Joseph B. Mayor, The Epistle of St. James, 3d ed. (London:

Macmillan and Co., 1913), pp. 137-38. This suggestion is apparently

based upon the notion that the middle combined with the verbal idea sug-

gest the notion of asking for oneself with selfish interests.

2 D. Edmond Hiebert, The Epistle of James: Tests of a Living

Faith, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979), p. 248.

3 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p. 129.

4 Zerwick, BG, p. 76.

5 However, using this passage as a parallel to James 4:2 is only

supportive and does not establish the distinction as always valid. For

a different viewpoint, see William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel

according to Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975), p. 240.

6 Zerwick, BG, p. 76.


32

element.1 Leddusire offers a paraphrase which bears out the voice dis-

tinctions. "You do not have because you are unaffected by asking. When

you do ask, you are without results because your interest in asking is

undesirable, namely to squander with your sensualities.2 Using genera-

tive transformational grammar, he concludes that the persistence of overt

markers in a system where the contrasts are demonstrably productive point

to distinction. However, the interpretation of this assertion in terms

of traditional grammar is uncertain. For he must ultimately depend upon

context to give two different meanings to the middle of ai]te<w, i.e.,

because you are unaffected by asking (dia> to> mh> ai]tei?sqai u[ma?j) and

because your interest in asking is undesireable (dio<ti kakw?j ai]tei?sqe).

Furthermore, the validity of the suggestion because you are unaffected

by asking is very dubious. Is James stating that if his readers are

affected by their asking, then their requests will be answered? How is

one to be affected by his own asking? If this was the crucial point of

the condition, it would seem that James would make plain the answers to

such questions. Thus, this suggestion appears to be forced and unnatural.

 

Semantic indistinction

This alternation of voices in James 4:2,3 has also been viewed

as simply an arbitrary interchange.3 Yet, as Moulton suggests, it is

difficult to understand how a writer like James could permit so

purposeless a freak as this would be.4 Perhaps on the basis of style

 

1 Hiebert, James, p. 248.

2 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p. 131.

3 GOEL, p. 166; Simcox, The Language of the New Testament, p. 95;

Henry Nunn, A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek (Cambridge:

University Press, 1912), p. 64.

4 GNTG 1:160. Although he argues against an arbitrary inter-

change, he concludes this usage is an extinct subtlety.


33

the middle forms were adopted to balance the two active forms ai]tei?te

and ou] lamba<nete.1 Yet this also is a tenuous suggestion, for such

stylistic usage of voice does not appear elsewhere in James.2

In view of this controversy and lack of strong support for either

position, Adamson correctly observes that no certain distinction has

been established between the active and middle in this passage.3 Yet

there are also no cogent reasons which eliminate the possibility of the

middle conveying an intensification between the subject and its verbal

action.4 This context suggests the possibility that the intensification

may be the personal interest of the subject in the request. Thus, this

passage is certainly not irrefutable evidence that the active and middle

voices of certain verbs are used interchangeably, nor vice versa.5

 

1 John 5:14, 15

Parallel in difficulty are the five occurrences of ai]te<w in

1 John.6 Within two verses there is a variation of middle, middle, and

 

1 James B. Adamson, The Epistle of James, NICNT, ed. F. F. Bruce

(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976), p. 169.

2 An examination of the flow of verbs according to voice in James

has not revealed another sequence of middle-active-middle-active or any

similar combination.

3 Adamson, James, p. 169.

4 For opposing view, see TDNT, s.v. ai]te<w, by Gustov Stahlin,

1:192. Although he states that there is no option but to explain this

voice variation in James in terms of the formal structure of the sen-

tence, his arguments are really only applicable to Mayor's suggestion.

5 Turner, Grammatical Insights, p. 164. Hence his assertive

conclusions for interchangeability need to be more balanced. Even

BAGD, p. 25, concludes that the middle and active only seem to be used

interchangeably.

6 1 Jn 3:22, 5:14, 15, 16. Also the twelve occurrences of ai]te<w

in the Gospel of John display voice variation and present difficulties

of interpretation.


34

active. "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if

we ask (ai]tw<meqa) anything according to his will He hears us. And if we

know that He hears us in whatever we ask (ai]tw<meqa), we know that we have

the requests which we have asked (^]th<kamen) from Him" (1 John 5:14, 15).

Certainly in this passage the qualifying phrase kata> to> qe<lhma does not

seem to permit any self-interest to be involved. On the basis of the

usage of ai]te<w in contexts of business dealings where the middle may add

the nuance that one has the right to ask, it is suggested that this

difference in meaning is apparent and certainly seems to be intended.

Why should the two middle forms that are used here not include

this right? Does the phrase 'according to his will" (qe<lhma, what

God has willed and has made known as being willed by him) not imply

a certain right for our asking?1

However, the context does not support this nuance. The requi-

sitioning in prayer is the same in both ai]tw<meqa and ^]th<kamen without

adverbal modifiers as in James 4:2, 3. Although perceiving no difference

in meaning, two suggestions attempt to account for the variation in form

in this passage. First, the cognate accusative ai]tei?n ai]th<mata in the

active voice is understood as a periphrasis for the middle ai]tei?sqai.2

Second, it is suggested that in Johannine usage the active is used with

the accusative.3 These notions, however, appear to be inadequate,

 

1 R. C. U. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St.

Peter, St. John, and St. Jude (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House,

1966), p. 533.

2 David Smith, "The Epistles of John," in vol. 5 of Expositor's

Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans

Publishing Co., 1979), p. 197. He does note a difference of meaning in

James 4:3.

3 Robert Law, The Tests of Life: A Study of the First Epistle of

St. John, 3d ed. (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1914,; reprinted, Grand

Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968), p. 406. An exception is John 11:22.

Also the usage of the active of ai]te<w in James does not follow this pat-

tern, although the difference may be accounted for simply on the basis

of different authorship.


35

for they confuse the notion of transitiveness with that of voice.

Therefore, in this passage neither a difference of meaning

between active and middle is discernible, nor does the difference

appear to be satisfactorily explained in teams of transitiveness.

While there may be a semantic distinction of voice regarding ai]te<w

in James, none is discernible in 1 John. Thus, one should be wary

of broad generalizations regarding voice distinctions, even with a

specific verb, apart from an examination of each individual context.1

 

Parallel Synoptic Passages

Striking evidence for the notion of interchangeability of

middle and active without semantic difference may be derived from

parallel synoptic accounts. Whereas one author uses the middle voice,

another author employs the active voice in the same verb while describ-

ing the same event.

 

Matthew 26:23; Mark 14:20

The particular detail with voice variation is in the significant

description by Jesus of the traitor.2 Mark uses the middle voice and

Matthew uses the active. "He who dips (o[ e]mbapo<menoj) with me into the

dish" (Mark 14:20). "He who dips (o[ e]mba<yaj) his hand in the dish with

me" (Matt, 26:23). Yet not only does the voice vary, but also the tenses

 

1 For example, see DNTT, s.v. "Prayer," by H. Schonweiss,

2:856.

2 This specific detail is omitted in the Lukan and Johannine

accounts. Furthermore, e]mba<ptw does not occur elsewhere in the NT or

LXX, apart from the textual variant at John 13:26.


36

are present and aorist, respectively. Any intended difference of

meaning by either writer in his use of tense is not readily discernible.1

However, a lexical citation of these passages gives dip for the active

and dip for oneself as the middle.2 This additional nuance in the middle

is in accord with Gould's suggestion that Mark does not mean to indicate

the traitor, but only to emphasize the treachery of the act.3 But this

emphasis may be understood apart from any contribution of voice.

Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:20; Luke 18:18

The rich young ruler's response to Jesus concerning the command-

ments involves the use of fula<ssw. Whereas Matthew and Luke both use

the aorist active e]fu<laca, Mark uses the aorist middle. "Teacher, I

have kept (e]fula<camhn) all these things from my youth" (Mark 10:20).

Leddusire, finding a semantic difference, attempts to explain this in

terms of a dative middle model which has the inference of an affected

subject. He attempts to gather further contextual support from the

young ruler's questioning of Christ.

The exegetical distinction is also supported in the context, which

follows the original question in Mark 10:17, "What (else) must I

do?" On the other hand, the active sentence of Matthew is in

 

1 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel

(Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), p. 616. He views both

the aorist and present as timeless tenses with any intended difference

of meaning as unlikely.

2 BAGD, p. 254. However, no difference is stated in LSJ, p. 539.

The shift of tense from the present of o[ e]mbapto<menoj to the aorist

o[ e]mba<yaj cannot be accounted for by deponency. The verb e]mba<ptw is not

a middle deponent form for the present but an active form for the aorist.

3 Ezra P. Gould, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the

Gospel according to St. Mark, ICC ed. C. A. Briggs, et al. (New York:

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896), p. 262. His suggestion is not based on

simply the voice difference.


37

answer to the question in Matt 19:16, "what is a good action I can

perform?" and can be paraphrased as "why, I've already done that."1

Yet the following three questions posed by the young man and

directed to Christ have little, if any, difference.

1. "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life"

(Matt 19:16)

2. "Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17)

3. "Good teacher, what shall I do to obtain eternal life?" (Luke 18:18)

In fact, the only difference between the question in Mark and

Luke is the use of e@xw rather than klhronome<w in the i!na clause. Thus,

the cause of Mark's use of the middle e]fula<camhn is not to be found in

this question. Nor is the suggestion that Matthew and Luke independently

corrected Mark's use of e]fula<camhn particularly cogent.2 Brown cau-

tiously concludes that, while the middle may have the same force as the

active, it may also mean guard for oneself, store, or be careful.3 If

Mark intends to clarify that the young ruler has emphasized his guarding

of the commandments in relation to himself, it is extremely difficult to

detect this from contextual clues. The contexts, including specific

details, are nearly identical by each author.

 

Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47

These two writers, while reporting a specific detail of a single

event, selected different voices for its transmission. When describing

 

1 Leddusire, "Middle Voice," pp. 136-38.

2 Vincent Taylor, The Gospel according to St. Mark, 2d ed.

(London: Macmillan and Co., 1966), p. 428. He not only assumes the

primacy of a Marcion source, but also assumes misuse of the middle by

Mark. However, if the middle is interchangeable with the active, it is

simply disused, not used incorrectly (Simcox, Language of the New

Testament, p. 96).

3 DNTT, s.v. "Guard," by C. Brown, 2:134.


38

the drawing of the short sword from its scabbard, Matthew uses

a]pe<spasen, but Mark employs spasa<menoj. Again, it is Mark who consis-

tently uses the middle form when there is a voice form difference.1

Matthew's use of the prefix a]po> with the verb does not add any additional

significance to spa<w.2

 

Summary

From these synoptic passages, several factors emerge. First,

various verbal features may vary without any semantic significance.3

These include the choice of a particular verb, the selection of a speci-

fic tense of the same verb, the selection of a specific voice of the

same verb, and the addition of a prefix to the verb. Mark has been the

only author known who consistently uses the middle when parallel synoptic

accounts have the active. Thus, it appears that Mark may simply have a

stylistic preference for the middle without an intended difference of

meaning, compared to the active, for no intended difference is

discernible.4

 

Paired Sentences

Additional support for the theory of voice interchangeability

has been gathered from sentences which, although contextually disparate,

 

1 Although Luke does not include this detail, John includes it

with the usage of a different but synonymous verb e!lkw.

2 BAGD, pp. 98, 761.

3 For other conspicuous grammatical differences without apparent

semantic significance, see Alfred Plummer, An Exegetical Commentary on

the Gospel according to St. Matthew, 3d ed. (London: Robert Scott, 1911),

p. xiii.

4 For a different conclusion, see Leddusire, "Middle Voice," p.

135. While recognizing Matthew's stylistic preference for the active

as undisputed, he views this fact as irrelevant to the theory of voice.


39

use the same verb. A verb in fts active voice form is paired with an

occurrence of its middle form in a different context.1

 

Using eu[ri<skw

The perfect active infinitive eu[rh<kenai is cited as having no

semantic difference as compared to the aorist middle participle

eu[ra<menoj (Rom 4:1, Heb 9:12).2 However, this assertion is wholly

arbitrary and subjective. Appropriate criteria for the establishment of

voice interchange, i.e., parallelisms, contextual similarity or identity,

and stylistic preferences, are lacking.3 The middle voice of eu[ra<menoj

can be clearly distinguished from the active.4

 

Using u[stere<w

In a similar vein, the active of u[stere<w in Hebrews 4:1, 12:15

is viewed as possessing exactly the same significance as the middle in

Romans 3:32.5 Again, the same objections regarding eu[ri<skw are appli-

cable to this methodology. No evidence is cited by either Winer or

Simcox to support their assertions.

 

1 These same. verbs are also acknowledged by others to have

semantic difference according to voice form. For example, note the

lexical listings of fai<nw in BAGD, pp. 851-2.

2 Simcox, Language of the New Testament, p. 96.

3 This problem is further compounded by the fact that non-finite

forms, especially infinitives, do not always reflect the force of the

voice. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek 1:63; Leddusire, "Middle

Voice," p. 42.

4 Brooke F. Wescott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (New York: Mac-

millan Co., n.d.; reprint ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

Co., 1977), p. 259.

5 Simcox, Language of the New Testament, p. 95; Winer, A Grammar

of the Idiom of the New Testament, p. 260. Winer more generally con-

cludes that the middle and the active of this verb are always synonymous

in NT.


40

Using Additional Verbs

Although they are cited without specific passage indicators,

the following verbs have been purported as having interchangeable voice

forms without semantic distinction: la<mpw; o[ra<w; se<bw; and fai<nw.1

 

Summary

From these passages and specific verbs, it appears that the

assumption of voice interchangeability has a very weak foundation. Sup-

portive passages are tenuous and infrequent. It is possible, although

not probable, that in each of the cited passages the middle voice conveys

in some degree or manner an intensification of the relationship between

the subject and the verbal action. However, the voice interchange in

parallel synoptic passages renders this as improbable. Yet each specific

passage must be examined in light of its own contextual factors, and

broad generalizations promoting interchangeability should be avoided.

For while the middle and active of ai]te<w appear to be semantically dis-

tinct in James 4:2, 3, this is not the case in 1 John 5:14, 15.

Active for Middle

The assumption that the active is used for the middle as sup-

portive of interchangeability rests on several slightly different

foundations.

 

Based on Similarity of Meaning

Concerning classical usage, Smyth observes that the active is

often used for the middle when it is not of practical importance to

 

1 Thompson, A Syntax of Attic Greek, p. 160; James T. Allen, The

First Year of Greek (New York: Macmillan Co., 1932), p. 310; Winer,

A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, pp. 256-57. As in the

previous examples, no solid evidence is cited.


41

 

mark the interest of the subject in the action. The active implies what

the middle expresses.1 Regarding Attic usage in particular, it is noted

that the active is used like the middle.2 Inarguably, a significant

difference of meaning between the active and middle forms of the verbs

cited in their examples is not evident.3 However, similarity in meaning

does not necessarily establish identity of usage in general. As Turner

observes, the verbal idea inherent in certain verbs is not significantly

expressed as a difference in either active or middle.

For practical purposes, it mattered very little whether the

active or middle voice was used with verbs of a certain type. "I

make a request" is active, but is not profoundly different from the

middle, "I make a request for myself." It defines the idea more

narrowly (emphasis mine), but in normal conversation, either active

or middle would do.4

But even as Turner recognizes, this does not mean that no subtle

nuance may be intended. Thus, rather than assuming that the active is

used for the middle, it seems better to view this phenomenon as a

result of the verbal idea. Certain verbal ideas do not have a signifi-

cant semantic shift in active to middle, but subtle nuances may be

detected.

 

Based on Classical Precedent

Some verbs are thought to appear in the active where the middle

would be expected in classical Greek.5 The most notable example is

poie<w with a verbal noun. In classical Greek, there are numerous

 

1 Smyth, Greek Grammar, p. 393.

2 Thompson, Syntax of Attic Greek, p. 167.

3 metape<mpw, dhlo<w, dida<skw, metaxeiri<zw, bia<zw, pare<xw,

o[mologe<w.

4 Turner, Grammatical Insights, p. 163.

5 GNTG, 3:56.

 


42

differences between poiei?n and poiei?sqai with verbal nouns in which the

active gives the literal side "to fashion," "to bring about," whereas

the middle serves to form a periphrasis with the verbal noun for the

corresponding verb.1 This periphrasis, composed of poiei?n in the middle

voice plus a noun denoting action as an object, is equivalent to a

simple verb.2 However, lo<gon poiei?sqai (to make a speech) may correspond

to legei?n, but it is not the same as lo<gon poiei?n (to compose a speech).

Similarly, o[do>n poiei?sqai (to make one's way) may correspond to o[deuei?n,

but this is not the same as o[do>n poiei?n (to construct a road). Thus,

using this criterion, the middle would be expected in Mark 2:23, but in

fact the active occurs. "And his disciples began to make their way

(o[do>n poiei?n) while plucking the heads of grain" (Mark 2:23). Yet, this

assumption that the classical distinction is lost may be challcnged.3

A possible explanation is that the disciples began to make a way, i.e.,

to open a path, by plucking the ears of corn.4 But this cannot be

maintained as an inviolable rule, for the LXX clearly uses o[do>n poiei?n

 

1 Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, p. 69; Smyth, Greek

Grammar, p. 391.

2 BG, pp. 72-73. Examples cited as evidence include porei<an

poiei?sqai for poreu<esqai, mnei?an poiei?sqai for memnh?sqai. Also see

James L. Boyer, "Notes on 2 Peter and Jude" (Winona Lake, IN, 1977),

p. 10. Perhaps the middle sense of bebai<an poiei?sqai< should not be

pressed, since Greek idiom in classical Greek required the middle. In

the NT both active and middle forms of poiei?n are used in this peri-

phrastic construction.

3 Heinrich A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke, vol. 2 trans. Robert E. Wallis in Meyer's

Commentary on the New Testament, rev. and ed. William P. Dickson

(London: T. and T. Clark; reprint ed., Winona Lake: Alpha Publications,

1979), p. 33; Alexander B. Bruce, "The Synoptic Gospels," in vol. 1 of

Expositor's Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids: Wm.

B. Eerdmans Publishing Co_, 1979), pp. 354-55.

4 Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-book to the Gospels of

Mark and Luke, p. 33.


43

in the sense of to make one's way, to journey. "Then the man departed

from the city, from Bethlehem of Judah, to dwell wherever he might find

a place, and he came to the hill district of Ephraim to the house of

Micah as he made his journey (tou? poih?sai th>n o[do>n au]tou?)" (Judg 17:8).1

Thus, the criterion of a classical precedent may be used to establish

either view, and it is a tenuous standard for the determination of voice

interchange without semantic distinction. Even if o[do>n poiei?n means to

make one's way in Mark 2:23, this only demonstrates a difference of

classical and koine usage. It does not establish the notion of inter-

changeability in the NT.

 

Based on Different Construction

In the NT, a verb in the active voice with a reflexive pronoun

is numerically predominant over the direct reflexive usage of the middle

voice.2 These two different constructions have been equated in terms of

semantic significance in the NT.3 In Luke 16:9, e[autoi?j poih<sate might

have been fully expressed by one word, poih<sasqe.4 Similarly, the dif-

ference between prose<xete e[autoi?j and fula<ssesqe is viewed as minimal

in Luke 12:1, 15.5 Yet, Robertson's conclusion that the use of the

 

1 Alfred Rahlfs, ed. Septuginta, vol. 1 (Stuttgart: Wurttem-

bergische Bibelanstalt, 1935), p. 476.

2 Alfred S. Geden and William E. Moulton, eds. A Concordance to

the Greek Testament, 5th ed. rev. Harold K. Moulton (Edimburgh: T. and

T. Clark, 1978), pp. 240-44.

3 BGHG, 2:398.

4 Samuel Green, Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek New Testa-

ment (New. York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1880), p. 293. However, the

numerical dominance of active voice with reflexive pronoun in koine

seems to indicate a loss of the directly reflexive sense in most cases.

5 GNTG 1:157. Perhaps the reflexive construction is slightly

more emphatic.


44

reflexive pronoun with the active bears more sharply the reflexive

relation than the mere middle has more justification.1 For as early as

Homer, the reflexive forms are occasionally used with the middle to more

clearly bring out the reflexive notion.2 Regardless of how closely the

two constructions are identified in meaning this does not establish the

notion of interchangeability. For the active voice per se is not equated

with the middle, but rather the active with reflexive pronoun.

 

Summary

Therefore, in summary, the assumption of active for middle

usually stands without warrant. Certain verbal ideas may be signifi-

cantly different in their active as compared to middle voices, but this

is due to the nature of the verbal idea. Also the appeal to classical

usage is a two-pronged argument that may validate either position.

However, even if the active is used where a middle might appear more

appropriate in classical usage, the only fact established is that of a

difference between koine and classical. The notion of interchangeability

in the NT has not been supported. Finally, a difference of construction

with identical or very similar meaning also fails to support voice

interchange. Jannaris' conclusion that the use of the active instead of

the middle occurs times without number is unwarranted.3

 

Passive as Middle

The aorist passive of some active verbs may have a reflexive or

middle sense.4 Whereas fai<nw means show, e]fa<nhn showed myself,

 

1 GLHR, p. 802. Also, see BG, p. 75.

2 Gildersleeve, Greek Syntax, p. 68. In the NT, note Acts 7:21,

20:24, 1 Tim 3:13; Titus 2:7. However, this phenomenon usually occurs

with deponents.

3 HGG, p. 364. His numerous NT illustrations usually involve poie<w.

4 Smyth, Greek Grammar, p. 222. He identifies these verbs as

middle passives.

45

appeared. The same type of semantic shift is true of eu]frai<nw, kine<w,

and xai<rw. However, this phenomenon appears to be adequately accounted

for by the historical development of the qhn aorist. The passive idea

was not always the original sense, and hence, in NT times, the passive

idea is not perceptible in these verbs.1 This does not support voice

interchange in the sense that the middle and passive voices are used

interchangeably. Instead, these passives are simply used with a mild

reflexive sense. The middle and passive of the same verb do not occur

in parallel passages with semantic identity.

 

Divisions

In this section, except for deponents, fall the usages of the

middle voice which do not overlap in meaning with the active and passive

voices. In order to analyze the various usages, it is a matter of

convenience to refer to the divisions of the middle voice constructed

by grammarians. However, these divisions appear, as Robertson main-

tains, more or less arbitrary and unsatisfactory.2 Almost every

grammarian differs to a certain extent in his terminology and categori-

zation, for the Greeks themselves did not need or possess such divisions.

Grammarians have listed as few as two to as many as nine categories.3

Furthermore, Green calls the reflexive usage direct or indirect, whereas

 

1 GNTG 1:161.

2 GLHR, p. 806. Also, see MGNT, p. 158.

3 HGG, pp. 360-61. He places all usages in either a directly

reflexive or an indirectly reflexive category. For nine categories,

see William W. Goodwin, Greek Grammar, rev. Charles B. Gulick (Boston:

Ginn and Co., 1930).


46

Brooks and Winbery classify the same phenomenon as dynamic or

intensive.1 However, this is not an indictment against grammarians,

for the categories are erected for analytic and didactic purposes. Even

Dana and Mantey, who employ a taxonomic approach, offer the following

warning.

An analysis of the uses of the middle is of necessity more or

less arbitrary. No rigid lines of distinction can in reality be

drawn. Distinctions there are, however, and the following analysis

is proposed as indicating the main lines of difference.2

Furthermore, when recognizing distinct nuances of usage of the

middle voice, it is helpful to employ a distinctive term to describe the

particular phenomenon of language. However, by, no means does this mean

that these categories are an essential feature of the fundamental signi-

ficance of the middle voice. The middle voice per se only relates an

intensification of the relationship between the subject and the action

expressed by the verb. The degree or manner of intensification may be

mild or acute, and the determination of the intensification is in terms

of a particular context and the meaning of a verb.3 Thus, these cate-

gories are of usage and not of features inherent in the middle voice

alone.

Since the categories are defined differently by grammarians, a

somewhat arbitrary selection of the terminology and categorization of

one author will be consistently employed in order to avoid confusion.

As Robertson's six categories are generally defined and thoroughly

 

1 Green, Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, p. 292.

This taxonomical confusion repeatedly occurs among grammarians.

2 NGNT, p. 158.

3 Ibid., p. 158.


47

illustrated, they will conveniently serve as the basis for an analysis

of usage.1

Direct Middle

In the directly reflexive usage, the intensification of the

subject to verbal action is such that the action is directly upon or to

the subject. Although Jay denies this category, and Moulton only accepts

one possible example in a]ph<cato, Robertson offers over twenty illustra-

tions.2 However, over one-half of these examples may also be identified

as passive and are questionable.3 Thus, although a directly reflexive

sense does occur in the NT, the number of occurrences is extremely

small.4

Causative or Permissive Middle

The labeling of the middle voice as causative appears to be

unwarranted.5 The active voice is also designated as causative, but as

both Robertson and Jannaris observe, this feature is not due to the

voice.6 In addition, this feature is common to all languages.7 If

transitiveness is to be properly separated from the notion of voice,

 

1 GLHR, p. 106. Even Robertson follows these divisions merely

for convenience.

2 Ibid., pp. 806-08.

3 For example, note the verbs pota<ssesqe, dogmati<zesqe, and

a]narau<esqe.

4 MGNT, p. 158.

5 Although Robertson does not explicitly define the term

causative, his citation of Gildersleeve gives the impression that he is

following Gildersleeve's definition.

6 GLHR, p. 801.

7 HGG, p. 359.


48

then so also is causation.1

Neither is the permissive label particularly lucid. The per-

missive sense of the middle is considered as closely allied to the

causative and approaches the passive.2 This permissive middle has been

more clearly defined as representing the agent as voluntarily yielding

himself to the results of the action, or seeking to secure the results

of the action, or seeking to secure the results of the action in his own

interest.3 Simply stated, the action takes place by order or with per-

mission of the subject.4 Thus, the intensification of the relationship

between subject and verbal action is such that the subject permits or

allows the action. Again, it should be noted that this is derived from

the context and the root idea of the verb. Dani<sasqai and misqw<sasqai

appear to be valid examples of this usage (Matt 5:42; Matt 20:1).5

 

Indirect

In this usage the subject is represented as doing something for

or by himself. This indirect usage is quite varied and abundant in the

NT. Often the subject is merely highlighted as the doer of the action.

This, along with the dynamic category, is very vague, and perhaps the

two should be combined. For even Robertson finally concludes concerning

this category that each word and its context must determine the result.6

 

1 Thompson, Syntax of Attic Greek, p. 162. Also see GLHR, p. 809.

The causative idea in a]nakefalaiw<sasqai ta> panta> e]n t&? Xrist&? is not

due to the voice, but to the verb itself (Eph 1:10).

2 GLHR, p. 809.

3 MGNT, p. 160.

4 Winer, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, p. 254.

5 GLHR, p. 809.

6 Ibid., p. 809.


49

In fact, the exact relation of the indirectly reflexive usage must be

perpetually varied if the sense of the middle is to be appropriate to

the particular example.1

 

Reciprocal

An interchange of effort between the members of a plural subject

may be expressed by the middle voice.2 This usage appears to be semanti-

cally equivalent to the active voice with a reciprocal pronoun.3 The LXX

quotation of diemeri<santo e[autoi?j from Psalm 21:19 is given as

diemeri<santo e[autoij in John 19:24, but is only stated as diemeri<santo

without the reciprocal pronoun in Matthew 27:35. Therefore, in Matthew the

middle appears to be clearly used in either a reciprocal or distributive sense.

 

Redundant

In this usage both the pronoun and the middle occur.4 This

redundance also exists in classical Greek, and it may represent more

clearly the reflexive force in some cases.5 Overlap within these cate-

gories is apparent, for diemeri<santo e[autoi?j, although being reciprocal,

also falls within this class (John 19:24).

 

Dynamic or Deponent

Whereas certain grammarians have a separate category for dynamic

and for deponent, Robertson combines them.6 Gildersleeve's remark that

 

1 GNTG, 1:157.

2 MGNT, p. 160.

3 GLHR, p. 810.

4 Ibid., p. 811.

5 Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, 1:68.

6 GLHR, p. 811. Also see Thompson, Syntax of Attic Greek, p.

161.


50

this is the drip-pan or pande<kthj middle that is put at the bottom to

catch the drippings of the other uses clearly demonstrates the diffi-

culty of applying a label to every usage of the middle.1

However, it is important to recognize the phenomenon usually

described by the term deponent. Deponent verbs have been defined as

verbs which have no active forms, but only middle or passive forms with

active meaning.2 However, this definition is inadequate for advanced

students because certain verbs, especially in the future tense, have

both an active and a middle form with the middle voice form performing

an active voice function. Both a]kou<sw and a]kou<somai are found in the

NT, with a]kou<somai having an active voice function (Matt 12:19; Acts

3:22).3 Rather than a facet of voice interchange, this phenomenon is

closely parallel to verbs which are deponent only in the future. Thus

the distinctive feature of a deponent is that its voice form is

different from its voice function.4 The active voice form may also

occur when a middle form is deponent, although this is usually not the

case.5

 

Identification

The identification of a deponent middle form is not simply

limited to a lexicon. Whereas Thayer, Abbott-Smith and LSJ have an

 

1 Gildersleeve, "Stahl's Syntax of the Greek Verb," p. 277.

2 J. Gresham Maclien, New Testament Creek for Beginners, (Toronto:

Macmillan Co., 1951), p. 61.

3 GNTG 1:154

4 MGNT, p. 163.

5 For additional verbs exhibiting this feature, see GNTG 1:154-55.


51

active form for proxeiri<zw, LPGL and Sophocles have a deponent lexical

listing.1 BAGD lists it as active but observes that it is only middle

deponent in the included literature.2 The extent of the literature sur-

veyed is a contributing factor in identifying a deponent middle. However,

usage in the particular contextual environment is the key indication.3

 

Summary

Two areas of usage of the middle voice have been investigated.

First, regarding the phenomenon of voice interchange without semantic

difference, there is scant supportive evidence in the NT. An investi-

gation of parallel synoptic passages as well as key individual texts

does reveal voice interchange without semantic distinction as occurring.

However, rather than being a general rule, this phenomenon must be

determined per individual context.

Regarding the divisions of usage, they are not derived from any

inherent feature of the middle voice per se. Contextual factors com-

bined with the verbal idea are the foundation upon which these divisions

have been erected. Naturally, therefore, they vary from grammarian to

grammarian and are somewhat arbitrary. Yet, it is important to recognize

the category of deponent, i.e., one whose distinctive feature is an

 

1 Joseph H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

(Grand Rapids: Zondervon Publishing House, 1975), p. 554; Georg Abbott-

Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1922), p. 391; LSJ, p. 1541; Evangelinus A. Sophocles,

Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods, vol. 2 (New York:

Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., n.d.), p. 956.

2 BAGD, p. 724. Also see lumai<nw, parrhsia<zw, e]pilamba<nw,

e]pektei<nw, strateu<w in the various lexicons.

3 Concerning the problematic identification of pau<somntai as a pos-

sible deponent in 1 Cor 13:8, see Charles Smith, Tongues in Biblical

Perspective (Winona Lake: BMH Books, 1972), pp. 83-84.


52

active meaning with a middle form. Since for certain verbs the issue of

deponency is not clear, further lexicography needs to be performed.


 

 

CHAPTER IV

 

TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION

 

Before suggesting general guidelines, it is appropriate to

submit warnings that should remove artificial prescriptive rules.

 

Warnings

 

Over translation

 

Not a single grammarian has been encountered who advocates the

translation of every middle. Instead, they have appropriately warned

against overtranslating the middle voice by attempting to express every

single shade of meaning by an English word or phrase.1 The variation of

the middle form may be too minute for translational discrimination.2

Stahl's attempts to translate the middle are cogently corrected by

Gildersleeve.

We translate i]dei?n to see and i]de<sqai to see with one's own

eyes; an overtranslation as o]fqalmoi<sin o[ra?n shows, but if there is

such virtue in i]de<sqai, why not in i]doma<noj? Ah! the verse. Like

the rest of us, Stahl has to go into bankruptcy. Translation will

not suffice.3

Similarly, Smyth submits that the force of the middle in

a]kou<esqai, ti<masqai, a]riqmei?sqai, and a]porei?sqai cannot be reproduced

in translation. In some cases, it may not have even been felt.

 

1 Davis, Beginner's Grammar, pp. 36-37.

2 GLHR, p. 804.

3 Gildersleeve, "Stahl's Syntax of the Greek Verb," p. 278.

53


54

Rigid Rules

Against the definitive, exhaustive approach of erecting rigid

rules in any language stands the timely warning of Meyer-Myklestad.

Within the limits imposed by the syntactic possibilities of a

language, the speaker is a free agent: grammar cannot compel him to

think this way or that. The sentence is instructive in that it shows

the impossibility of prescriptive rules in grammar.1

Hence, it reasonably follows that no fixed rigid rule can be

maintained for the translation of a particular use of the middle voice.2

If the categories of usage themselves overlap and are somewhat arbitrary

and indistinct, how can a fixed rule be erected for that category?

Instead, each particular occurrence must be analyzed separately.

 

Unwarranted Dogmatism

In view of the difficulty involved in interpreting and trans-

lating many occurrences of the middle voice, it appears sound to conclude

with Moule that as a rule it is far from easy to come down from the

fence with much decisiveness on either side in an exegetical problem if

it depends on voice.3 The assertion that the middle voice of pau<sontai

demonstrates that tongues are no longer extant today is highly

gratuitous (1 Cor 13:8).4 It is possible to reach a valid conclusion

based on partially erroneous exegetical reasoning since that conclusion

 

1 Johannes Meyer-Myklestad, An Advanced English Grammar for

Students and Teachers (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1969), p.

2 GLHR, p. 810.

3 Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, p. 24. However,

for four arguments against this conclusion, see Leddusire, "Middle

Voice," p. 135. Since his presupposition that generative transforma-

tional grammar is the only adequate framework for voice study problems

has been questioned, his conclusions are unconvincing.

4 Again, for cogent argumentation, see Smith, Tongues in Biblical

Perspective, pp. 83-84.


55

may be demonstrably valid via other argumentation. But this does not

condone improper methodology and unwarranted dogmatism that will

normally yield unsupportable results.

 

Authorial and Geographical Variations

Moulton's conclusion that usage inevitably varied in different

localities and between different authors appears sound.1 From the

parallel synoptic passages, it has been suggested that Mark's use of the

middle compared to the active in other passages may simply be a

stylistic feature. Furthermore, the voice interchange in James 4:2, 3

may be explained as the writer's stylistic variation adopted to balance

the two active forms.2 Perhaps also the usage of the middle would vary

with the writer's Greek culture.3

 

Insistence on Classical Greek Distinctions

It appears hazardous to agree with the conclusion that the

system of voices in general remained the same in the Hellenstic period,

including the NT, as in the classical period of the language.4 To the

other extreme, Turner concludes that NT writers are not happy in their

understanding of the middle voice according to classical standards.5

One of the principal characteristics of NT Greek in general is the

 

1 GNTG 1:159.

2 Adamson, James, p. 169. However, that is not the position

adopted in this paper.

3 GNTG 1:159.

4 GOECL, p. 161.

5 Turner, Grammatical Insights, pp. 106-7.


56

absence of classical Greek standards.1 Although a middle form of a verb

may have had a distinctive sense in classical Greek, this meaning should

not be automatically carried over into the NT.2

 

Guidelines

Only two basic guidelines emerge from this study that appear to

be helpful.

 

For Translation

Each particular occurrence of the middle voice must be weighed

in terms of the historical development of the verb, primacy of context

and the idea itself. These factors determine not only if there is any

intensification between the subject and the action expressed by the

verb, but also the degree and manner of intensification. Although one

may not always be able to clearly express the middle voice by an English

translation, one can seek to acclimate oneself to its mental atmosphere

and feel its force by repeated exposure in different contexts with

different verbs.3 Moulton's suggestion that "He pardoneth" could be

used to represent a]fi<etai, whereas "He pardoneth" expresses a]fi<hsi,

would be valid only if the particular context indicated that this was

the emphasis. The same is true for Dana and Mantey's suggestion for the

use of italics.4

 

1 DNTT, s.v. "Presuppositions and Theology in the Greek New Tes-

tament," by Murray J. Harris, 3:1171-1215. Many of his observations do

not simply regard prepositions but the language as a whole.

2 Observe poiei?n o[do>n in the discussion of Mark 2:23 by Bruce,

"The Synoptic Gospels," pp. 354-55.

3 MGNT, p. 157. In addition, general guidelines and an elementary

procedure for translating Greek into English are offered by Gideon and

Vaughan, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, pp. 231-32.

4 MGNT, p. 159. The Greeks employed the middle where we must

resort to italics.


57

For Interpretation

As it is difficult, if not impossible, to translate without

interpretation, the preceding suggestions are applicable here. In addi-

tion, Blass' conclusion that on the whole the NT writers were perfectly

capable of preserving the distinction between the active and the middle

appears to be sound.1 Thus, although there is some usage which may be

synonymous in meaning among the voices, voice interchange is an infre-

quent phenomenon. The probable exegetical significance of a true middle

as dictated per context should not be overlooked.

 

1 Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, p. 186.


 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

The grammatical category of voice is the relationship between

the subject of a sentence and the action expressed by the verb. For the

sake of clarity and consistency, it is advantageous to define the three

Greek voices in terms of this relationship. The notion of general

reflexivity, although an apparent feature of the middle voice, does not

elucidate the nature of this relationship. General reflexivity is vague

and imprecise, and does not considerably aid one's comprehension. In

addition, the concepts of middle signification and transitiveness are

either inadequate or irrelevant regarding voice meaning. Although the

concepts of special advantage and subject participation in the results

may be involved at times, these ideas are not inherent to voice itself.

Historical argumentation and usage remove the idea that the middle voice

is middle in meaning between active and passive. Instead, a basic notion

of the middle voice as an intensification in some manner or degree of

the relationship between the subject and the action expressed by the

verb serves as a valid guideline. The precise nature of this intensifi-

cation between subject and verbal action is not indicated by the middle

voice per se. The nature of the intensification must be derived from

the context, the historical evolution of the verb, and the verbal idea

itself. Thus, even though this basic concept regarding the middle voice

occurs in the majority of NT true middles, it may be absent or modified

as indicated by these factors.

Concerning the controversy regarding voice interchange without

58


59

semantic distinction, the phenomenon does appear to exist but in a very

limited number of cases. An investigation of parallel synoptic passages

and key texts with voice interchange reveals that no apparent distinction

is intended in certain cases. However, no general rule of thumb is

available regarding this voice variation. For in one passage an inten-

ded semantic shift can be detected, but in another passage no semantic

distinction is apparent.

Regarding the divisions of the middle voice, they are not

derived from the middle voice per se. Contextual factors and the verbal

idea are the foundation upon which these categories have been erected.

The divisions are not rigid and definitive, but are somewhat arbitrary

and overlap. The division of deponency is the most important category

which includes middle voice forms with an active function. The identi-

fication of a deponent is not simply via lexicons, but in certain

questionable cases further lexicography is needed.

Several warnings regarding translation and interpretation have

emerged from this study. The middle voices cannot always be expressed

by means of translation. Certain verbal ideas per se do not suggest

that this is possible, and apparently the Greeks did not always intend a

major difference. At times the variation of the middle from the active

is so minute it is difficult to know if one has properly recognized an

intended distinction. In view of this, it is difficult to be decisive

in an exegetical problem if it depends on voice.

Also an author may use a specific voice as a stylistic feature,

but this is not a general rule. However, it does warn against

establishing principles without considering possible authorial tendency

or preference.


60

Finally, classical Greek distinctions per se should not be used

to determine NT usage. Examples contrary to classical usage do appear.

A distinctive classical meaning for a middle voice should not be

automatically carried over into the NT.


 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Abbott, Edwin. Johannine Grammar. London: Adams and Charles Black,

1906.

Abbott-Smith, George. A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.

Adamson, James B. The Epistle of James. NICNT. Edited by F. F. Bruce.

Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976.

Alford, Henry. Alford's Greek Testament, an Exegetical and Critical

Commentary. vol. 4. London: Rivington's, 1857, reprint ed.,

Grand Rapids: Guardian Press, 1976.

Allen, James T. The First Year of Greek. New York: Macmillan Co.,

1932.

Allen, Willoughby C. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel

According to St. Matthew. ICC. 3d ed. Edited by C. A. Briggs,

et al. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1912.

Anthon, Charles. A Grammar of the Greek Language. New York: Harper

and Bros., 1855.

Argyle, Aubrey W. An Introductory Grammar of New Testament Greek.

Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965.

Atkinson, Basil F. C. The Greek Language. London: Faber and Faber,

1931.

Bauer, Walter; Arndt, William F.; and Gingrich, F. Wilbur. A Greek-

English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian

Literature. 2d ed., revised and augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich

and Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

1979.

Benner, Allen R., and Smyth, Herbert W. Beginner's Greek Book. Chicago:

American Book Co., 1906.

Blass, Friedrich. Grammar of New Testament Greek. 2d ed., revised and

enlarged. Translated by Henry S. Thackeray. London: Macmillan

and Co., 1905.

Blass, Friedrich and Debrunner, Albert. A Greek Grammar of the New

Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Translated and

revised by Robert W. Funk. Chicago: University of Chicago

Press, 1961.

61
62

 

Bruce, Alexander B. "The Synoptic Gospels." In vol. 1 of Expositor's

Greek Testament. Edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Grand Rapids:

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.

Brugmann, Karl. A Comparative Grammar of the Indo-Germanic Languages.

vol. 4. Translated by R. Seymour Conway and W. H. D. Rouse.

New York: B. Westerman and Co., 1895.

Buttman, Philip. Greek Grammar. Translated by Edward Robinson. New

York: Harper and Bros., 1859.

Chamberlain, William D. An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament.

New York: Macmillan Co., 1960.

Clark, Herbert H. Semantics and Comprehension. Hague: Mouton and Co.

B. V., 1976.

Collinge, N. E. "Voice in the Mycenean Verb." Durham University Journal

62 (1969-70): 91-95.

Crosby, Alpheus. A Grammar of the Greek Language. Boston: Crosby,

Nichols, Lee and Co., 1861.

Curtius, Georg. Elucidations of the Student's Greek Grammar. Translated

by Evelyn Abbott. London: John Murray, 1875.

_______. The Greek Verb: Its Structure and Development. Translated

by Augustus S. Wilkins and Edwin B. England. London: John

Murray, 1880.

Dana, Harvey E. and Mantey, Julius R. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New

Testament. New York: Macmillan Co., 1955.

Davis, William H. Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New Testament. New

York: George H. Doran Co., 1923.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology. S.v. "Guard," by C. Brown.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology. S.v. "Prayer," by H. Schonweiss.

Dictionary of New Testament Theology. S.v. "Presuppositions and Theology

in the Greek New Testament," by Murray J. Harris.

Di Pietro, Robert J. Language Structures in Contrast. Rowley: Newbury

House Publishers, 1971.

Erades, P. A. Points of Modern English Syntax: Contributions to English

Studies. Edited by N. J. Robat with a Foreward by R. W.

Zandvoort. Amsterdam: Swets and Zeitlinger, 1975.

Funk, Robert W. A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek.

2d corrected ed., 3 vols. Missoula: Scholars Press, 1973.


63

 

Geden, Alfred A., and Moulton, William F., eds. A Concordance to the

Greek Testament. 5th ed. revised by Harold K. Moulton.

Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1978.

Gideon, Virtus E. and Vaughan, Curtis. A Greek Grammar of the New

Testament. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979.

Gignac, Francis T. A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and

Byzantine Periods. 2 vols. Milano: Instituto Editoriale

Cisalpino-La Goliardico, 1981.

Gildersleeve, Basil L. "Stahl's Syntax of the Greek Verb." American

Journal of Philology 29(1908):257-79.

________. Syntax of Classical Greek. 2 pts. New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1965.

Goetchius, Eugene V. The Language of the New Testament. New York:

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965.

Goodwin, William W. Greek Grammar. Revised by Charles B. Gulick.

Boston: Ginn and Co., 1930.

Gould, Ezra P. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel

According to St. Mark. ICC. Edited by C. A. Briggs, et al.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896.-

Green, Samuel. Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek New Testament.

New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1880.

Hale, Clarence B. Let's Study Greek. Chicago: Moody Press, 1957.

Hatch, Edwin. Essays in Biblical Greek. Oxford: At the Clarendon

Press, 1889.

Hatch, Edwin and Redpath, Henry A. A Concordance to the Septuagint and

the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the

Apocryphal Books). 2 vols. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press,

1897.

Hatzidakis, Georg N. Einleitung in die Neugriechische Grammatik. In

Bibliothek Indogermanischer Grammatiken. Bd. 5. Bearbeitet von

F. Bucheler, et al. Leipzig: Druck und Verlag von Breitkopf

und Hartel, 1892.

Hendriksen, William. Exposition of the Gospel according to Mark. Grand

Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975.

Hiebert, D. Edmond. The Epistle of James: Tests of a Living Faith.

Chicago: Moody Press, 1979.

Householder, Fred W.; Kazazsis, Kostas; and Koutsoudas, Andeas.

"Reference Grammar of Literary Dhimotiki." International Journal

of American Linguistics. 30 (April 1964): 1-188.


64

 

Howard, Wilbert F.; Moulton, James H.; and Turner, Nigel. A Grammar of

New Testament Greek. 4 vols. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark,

1908-76.

Huddilston, John H. Essentials of New Testament Greek. New York:

Macmillan Co., 1915.

Huther, J. Ed. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the General Epistles

of James, Peter, John, and Jude. In Meyer's Commentary on the

New Testament. 3d ed. vol. 10. Translated by Paton J. Gloag,

et al. Funk and Wagnalls, 1884; reprint ed. Winona Lake: Alpha

Publications, 1980.

Jannaris, Anthony N. An Historical Greek Grammar. London: Macmillan

and Co., 1897.

Jay, Eric G. New Testament Greek: An Introductory Grammar. London:

SPCK, 1958.

Jelf, William E. A Grammar of the Greek Language. 2d ed. 2 vols.

Oxford: James Wright, 1851.

Johnstone, Robert. Lectures Exegetical and Practical on the Epistle of

James. Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1871; reprint ed.,

Minneapolis: Klock and Klock, 1978.

Joint Association of Classical Teachers Greek Course. Reading Greek:

Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1978.

Kennedy, H. A. A. Sources of New Testament Greek: The Influence of the

Septuagint on the Vocabulary of the New Testament. Edinburgh:

T. and T. Clark, 1895.

Kuhner, Raphael. Grammar of the Greek Language, for the Use of High

Schools and Colleges. Translated by Bela B. Edwards and Samuel

H. Taylor. Andover: Allen, Morrill and Wardwell, 1844.

Lampe, G. W. H. A Patristic Greek Lexicon. Oxford: At the Clarendon

Press, 1961.

Lancelot, Claude. A New Method of Learning the Greek Tongue. 2 vols.

Translated by Thomas Nugent. London: J. Nourse, 1746; reprinted,

Menston, England: Scolar Press, 1972.

Law, Robert. The Tests of Life: A Study of the First Epistle of St.

John. 3d ed. Edinburgh: I. and T. Clark, 1914; reprint ed.,

Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.

Leddusire, Frank E. B. "A Comparative Study of the Middle Voice in Koine

Greek and Reflexive Verbs in Old Russian through Case Grammar

Description." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington,

1972.


65

 

Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St.

John, and St. Jude. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House,

1966.

________. The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis: Augs-

burg Publishing House, 1961.

Liddell, Henry and Scott, Robert, compilers. A Greek-English Lexicon.

Revised and augmented throughout by Henry Jonas with the assis-

tance of Roderick McKenzie et al., with a supplement. Oxford:

At the Clarendon Press, 1968.

Machen, J. Gresham. New Testament Greek for Beginners. Toronto:

Macmillan Co., 1951.

Mandilaras, Basil G. The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri. Athens:

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sciences, 1973.

Mayor, Joseph B. The Epistle of St. James. 3d ed. London: Macmillan

Co., 1913.

Mayser, Edwin. Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemderzeit.

2 bds. 3 teils. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter and Co., 1906-34.

Mc Intosh, Roy S. Greek Forms and Syntax. Geneva, NY: Press of W. F.

Humphrey, 1924.

Meyer, Heinrich A. W. Critical and Exegetical Hand-book to the Gospels

of Mark and Luke, vol. 2. Translated by Robert E. Wallis. In

Meyer's Commentary on the New Testament. Revised and edited by

William P. Dickson. London: T. and T. Clark; reprinted, Winona

Lake: Alpha Publications, 1979.

Meyer-Myklestad, Johannes. An Advanced English Grammar for Students and

Teachers. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1967.

Milligan, George and Moulton, James H. The Vocabulary of the Greek

Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary

Sources. Reprinted. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

Co., 1976.

Misra, Satya S. A Comparative Grammar of Sanskrit, Greek, and Hittite.

Foreward by Suniti K. Chatterji. Calcutta: World Press Private,

1968.

Moule, C. F. D. An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek. 2d ed. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1959.

Moulton, James H. An Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek.

5th ed. Revised by Henry G. Meecham. London: Epworth Press,

1955.

Nunn, Henry P. The Elements of New Testament Greek. Cambridge: An the

University Press, 1918.


66

 

________. A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1912.

Oesterley, W. E. "The General Epistle of James." In vol. 4 of Exposi-

tor's Greek Testament. Edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Reprinted

Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.

Palmer, Leonard R. The Greek Language. London: Faber and Faber, 1980.

Plummer, Alfred. An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to

St. Matthew. 3d ed. London: Robert Scott, 1911.

Rahlfs, Alfred, ed. Septuaginta. 2 vols. Stuttgart: WUrtembergische

Bibelanstalt, 1935.

Robertson, Archibald T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the

Light of Historical Research. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934.

Ropes, James H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of

St. James. ICC. Edited by C. A. Briggs, et al. New York:

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916.

Ruck, Carl A. P. Ancient Greek: A New Approach. Cambridge: M. I. T.

Press, 1968.

Semenov, Anatol F. The Greek Language in Its Evolution. London: George

Allen and Union, 1936.

Shilleto, Richard. "On Greek Deponent Verbs with Aorist in qhn." The

Journal of Philology. 7(1875):148-51.

Simcox, William H. The Language of the New Testament. Reprint ed.

Winona Lake: Alpha Publications, 1980.

Simonson, Gustave. A Greek Grammar, Accidence. New York: D. C. Heath

and Co., 1903.

Smith, Charles R. Tongues in Biblical Perspective. Winona Lake: BMH

Books, 1972.

Smith, David. "The Epistles of John." In vol. 5 of Expositor's Greek

Testament. Edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Reprint ed. Grand

Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.

Smyth, Herbert W. Greek Grammar. Revised by Gordon M. Messing.

Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956.

Sonnenschein, Edward A. A Greek Grammar. London: Kegan, Paul, Trench,

Trubner and Co., 1914.

Sophocles, Evangelinus A. Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine

Periods. 2 vols. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co.,

n.d.


67

 

Stahl, Johann M. Kritisch-historische Syntax des griechischen Verbums

der klassischen Zeit. Heidelberg: Carl Winter's Universitat-

buchhandlung, 1907.

Steyer, Gottfried. Satzlehredes neutestamentlichen Griechisch. Zwickau:

F. Ullman KG, 1972.

Story, Cullen T. K. and Story, J. Lyle. Greek to Me: Learning New

Testament Greek through Memory Visualization. San Francisco:

Harper and Row, 1979.

Strong, Herbert. Introduction to the History of Language. London:

Longmans, Green, and Co., 1891.

Svartvik, Jan. On Voice in the English Verb. Hague, Netherlands:

Mouton and Co., 1966.

Tasker, R. V. G. The General Epistle of James. TNTC. Edited by R. V. G.

Tasker. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979.

Taylor, Vincent. The Gospel according to St. Mark. 2d ed. London:

Macmillan and Co., 1966.

Thackeray, Henry St. J. A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek accord-

ing to the Septuagint. Cambridge: At the University Press,

1909.

Thayer, Joseph. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand

Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. S.v. "ai]te<w," by Gustav

Stahlin.

Thompson, F. E. A Syntax of Attic Greek. London: Longmans, Green, and

Co., 1907.

Thompson, John. A Greek Grammar, Accidence and Syntax for Schools and

Colleges. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1903.

Thrax, Dionysius. Grammatici Graeci. vol. 1. Lipsiae: In Aedibus

B. G. Teubneri, 1838; reprint ed., Stuttgart: Georg Olms

Verlagsbuchhandlung Hildescheinz, 1965.

Turner, Nigel. Grammatical Insights into the New Testament. Edinburgh:

T. and T. Clark, 1965.

Valpy, Richard. The Elements of Greek Grammar. New York: W. E. Dean,

1837.

Veitch, William. Greek Verbs, Irregular and Defective. Oxford:

Clarendon Press, 1879.


68

 

Walther, James A. New Testament Greek Workbook: An Inductive Study of

the Complete Text of the Gospel of John. Chicago: University

of Chicago Press, 1966.

Warburton, Irene P. "On the Verb in Modern Greek." Ph.D. dissertation,

Indiana University, 1966.

Wenham, John W. The Elements of New Testament Greek. Cambridge Univer-

sity Press, 1965.

Werner, Alice. Introductory Sketch of the Bantu Languages. London:

Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1919.

Westcott, Brooke F. The Epistle to the Hebrews. New York: Macmillan

Co., n.d.; reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

Co., 1977.

Winer, George B. A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament. 7th ed.

Enlarged and improved by Gottlieb Lunemann. Andover: Warren F.

Draper, 1869.

Zerwick, Maximilian. Biblical Greek. Adapted from the 4th Latin ed. by

Joseph Smith. Rome: Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1963.

 

 

 

Please send any errors discovered to: Ted Hildebrandt at

 

 

 

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    The Orthodox Faith (Dogma)    ||    Family and Youth    ||    Sermons    ||    Bible Study    ||    Devotional    ||    Spirituals    ||    Fasts & Feasts    ||    Coptics    ||    Religious Education    ||    Monasticism    ||    Seasons    ||    Missiology    ||    Ethics    ||    Ecumenical Relations    ||    Church Music    ||    Pentecost    ||    Miscellaneous    ||    Saints    ||    Church History    ||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Patrology    ||    Canon Law    ||    Lent    ||    Pastoral Theology    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bibles    ||    Iconography    ||    Liturgics    ||    Orthodox Biblical topics     ||    Orthodox articles    ||    St Chrysostom    ||   

||    Bible Study    ||    Biblical topics    ||    Bibles    ||    Orthodox Bible Study    ||    Coptic Bible Study    ||    King James Version    ||    New King James Version    ||    Scripture Nuggets    ||    Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus    ||    Index of the Miracles of Jesus    ||    Index of Doctrines    ||    Index of Charts    ||    Index of Maps    ||    Index of Topical Essays    ||    Index of Word Studies    ||    Colored Maps    ||    Index of Biblical names Notes    ||    Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    New Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    Bible Illustrations    ||    Bible short notes

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    Prayer of the First Hour    ||    Third Hour    ||    Sixth Hour    ||    Ninth Hour    ||    Vespers (Eleventh Hour)    ||    Compline (Twelfth Hour)    ||    The First Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Second Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Third Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Prayer of the Veil    ||    Various Prayers from the Agbia    ||    Synaxarium