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Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 1:36 am
by Stephen Hughes
George F Somsel wrote:It does, however, have Jesus say "θέλω."
It is not my forté, so I don't want to make the leap alone, but the next logical step would be to say that the passive imperative here has as much of sentence subject's agency as the θέλω does, but it is not explicated in that particular form. That requires sentence level analysis of grammar.
George F Somsel wrote: As regards the passive imperative, some have speculated that the passive sometimes indicates divine activity. Perhaps.
Ignorant people often attrubute what they don't understand to divine agency. I'm wondering whether not understanding the function of subject-affected forms hasn't become another instance of unwittingly applying that type of superstition to a point of grammar that is not well understood.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 2:14 am
by Stephen Carlson
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm wondering whether not understanding the function of subject-affected forms hasn't become another instance of unwittingly applying that type of superstition to a point of grammar that is not well understood.
I think "superstition" is a rather harsh term here.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 4:31 am
by Eeli Kaikkonen
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm wondering whether not understanding the function of subject-affected forms hasn't become another instance of unwittingly applying that type of superstition to a point of grammar that is not well understood.
I think "superstition" is a rather harsh term here.
Every point of grammar can become a "superstition" if the word means making unwarranted theological or practical implications from grammatical explanations taken out of their contexts. Take the "punctiliar" aorist for example, or "once for all" action. They may have been innocent and mostly correct descriptions in the beginning but gathered several layers of misunderstandings on the way. The new, more linguistically aware, descriptions may also become new incorrectly applied slogans when not understood correctly as part of grammatical/linguistic framework and parlance. The "basic semantic meaning" of a form is meant to describe the form in the larger context, related to other forms, and explain why that form can or can't be used in some contexts compared with other forms. It's not meant to be something in "real world", extralinguistic world where we live in. WRT "subject-affectedness" we just can't imagine that "subject-affectedness" is something in the real world which must be imposed to every instance of the mediopassive forms.
Stephen Hughes wrote: is there an implication that the one issuing the command will be involved in the carrying out of the subject-affected model.
I'm not sure if I understand what you mean. If I understand the question correctly my answer is no. All what "subject-affected" carries along here is that the subject, the man to be cleaned, is affected by the cleaning. He will become from non-clean to clean. So the subject is affected. Everything else comes from the context: the meaning of clean, the real persons involved, the real situation etc. The grammar here doesn't tell who is active or passive or anything else in the real world. That's also the problem with passive imperatives. It doesn't mean that the subject is passive or active or something in between in real world. That information must be found in the context, not in the grammatical form. (What I have tried to explain here is application of the previous passage about grammatical superstitions.)

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 5:06 am
by Stephen Carlson
You make good points, Eeli, about how this term (and others) could and likely will be misunderstood as a talisman as it percolates into the larger community, but I don't think that "superstition" is a fair characterization of how people in this thread are using the term. That was the intent of my push-back.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 6:50 am
by Barry Hofstetter
Girgis Boshra wrote:Dear, Stephen Hughes
Thanks for your notes, I don’t deny the nature of the action of the verb that is being commanded to be carried out, but the tense in non indicative has a semantic function, not expressing the cosmic time, So I mean, when the lord use the present imperative the context was about specific action of the imperative (πορεύθητι ἐπὶ τὴν ῥύμην τὴν καλουμένην Εὐθεῖαν) but in using the aorist imperative the context was about general action ( Πορεύου, ὅτι σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς μοι ἐστὶν οὗτος) you can find the same usage in Mark 2:9 (Ἔγειρε καὶ ἆρον τὸν κράβαττόν σου) the Lord uses present imperative (Ἔγειρε) when he ordered him to raise up (and he will be always raised up for he has healed) but he used the aorist imperative (ἆρον) for this action will be for a once.
Look at the present imperative as action in process, and the aorist as action as a whole. How this is to be understood in each specific instance is a matter of context.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 6:52 am
by cwconrad
Stephen Hughes wrote:Carl Conrad (and/or others of the subject-affectedness faction): I have a question about middle imperatives. In your subject-affectedness model of the verb, is there is there an implication that the one issuing the command will be involved in the carrying out of the subject-affected model. I have (until now) read this story as a little "off-handed". In my English understanding at least, καθαρίσθητι comes across as somewhat uninvolved. The man suffering from the disease asks Jesus for a very personal healing, and the subject-affected imperative seems to be an impersonal (uninvolved) response. Does the Greek have any hint of a distainful feeling in this voice?
If you were told -- that is to say, someone says to you in precisely these words: "Get healed from that disease!", what would be your response? Helpless waiting? Do you have no responsibility after you've been given a command? If I were given that command, I think I'd get to a physician as soon as possible, or to the emergency room, or whatever. I would not, I think, sit down and wait for a lightning stroke or visitation from on high. I take it that an imperative is a call to the addressee to do something. We've seen instances of the passive imperative (which I consider middle in sense) of the transitive verb βαπτίζειν:
Acts 2:38 ... βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν
...
and even a middle imperative (which has evidently troubled some who have wondered how a person can baptize her/himself):
Acts 22:16 καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις; ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
But it's not a matter of the addressee performing the baptism upon her/himself; rather it's taking steps to have it done to oneself. The addressee has a responsibility; he or she has to want to be baptized and take steps to have the baptism performed. I don't have the reference handy, but grammars have termed this usage, "permissive passive": the addressee of the imperative must somehow participate willingly to the action indicated by the verb (cf. A.T.Robertson, p. 808).

But the fact is, we've been over this before (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=123&hilit=imperati ... 447796bc99); it's been forgotten or ignored -- and the question is asked again.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 8:30 am
by Eeli Kaikkonen
cwconrad wrote:Do you have no responsibility after you've been given a command?
That depends on the context. If someone wishes you were dead and says to you, perhaps rhetorically, "die", it's your responsibility to go and hang yourself. Which you don't do, of course. But if he shoots at you with a gun and says "die", you have no responsibility. You only can wait helpless.

You used "get healed" as an example. In English it can implicitly mean "get healed by someone" and it requires going to a doctor to be healed by him. But how about "get well"? Does it imply, as a grammatical construction, that the target is responsible for something or that he should something? No. Of course he is responsible for doing the right things, but it's not implied in the phrase. It's a wish, "I wish you were well". When Jesus said "get healed" he didn't mean the sick person should do something. His words had supernatural power, they did the healing without the target's action. Did light have some kind of responsibility to become existing when God said "let there be light"? Responsibility or lack of it is in the context, not in the passive imperative. Usually it requires some action or responsibility, but not always.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 28th, 2015, 8:52 am
by cwconrad
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
cwconrad wrote:Do you have no responsibility after you've been given a command?
That depends on the context. If someone wishes you were dead and says to you, perhaps rhetorically, "die", it's your responsibility to go and hang yourself. Which you don't do, of course. But if he shoots at you with a gun and says "die", you have no responsibility. You only can wait helpless.

You used "get healed" as an example. In English it can implicitly mean "get healed by someone" and it requires going to a doctor to be healed by him. But how about "get well"? Does it imply, as a grammatical construction, that the target is responsible for something or that he should something? No. Of course he is responsible for doing the right things, but it's not implied in the phrase. It's a wish, "I wish you were well". When Jesus said "get healed" he didn't mean the sick person should do something. His words had supernatural power, they did the healing without the target's action. Did light have some kind of responsibility to become existing when God said "let there be light"? Responsibility or lack of it is in the context, not in the passive imperative. Usually it requires some action or responsibility, but not always.
Okay, I think what you say about "Get well" makes sense -- but the implication is that it's not a real imperative but a rhetorical device. Imperatives surely can be used rhetorically; it's said that Jefferson Davis closed his brief history of the Confederacy with the Latin motto Esto perpetua "Let it be everlasting". I haven't checked the reference, but I assume that he was referring to the Union, the United States of America, rather than to the defunct Confederate States of America. In either case, that would be a rhetorical usage of the imperative.

For my part, I cannot imagine an imperative that is really meant as a command stated to a person or persons that doesn't involve some response on the part of the addressee. Of course, as you say, if a guy shoots you and tells you to die, you don't respond voluntarily but rather spontaneously. But in that case, I think we'd have to say that the imperative is more rhetorical than it is a real command. A real command, it seems to me, is a challenge that demands a response, not a stand-still goofy look on the face of the addressee, who can only say, "Who? Me?"

The way you've put that reminds me of the story of the guy who regularly sought guidance by random selection of a Biblical verse and came upon this one: "And Judas went out and hanged himself." Thinking that this couldn't be meant for him, he tried again; this time his finger lit on: "Go and do thou likewise." With a little anxiety he tried it a third time, only to find, "What thou doest, do quickly!" (I wasn't told what happened thereafter -- perhaps some crisis of faith ...)

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 29th, 2015, 2:00 am
by Stephen Hughes
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm wondering whether not understanding the function of subject-affected forms hasn't become another instance of unwittingly applying that type of superstition to a point of grammar that is not well understood.
I think "superstition" is a rather harsh term here.
Stephen Carlson wrote:I don't think that "superstition" is a fair characterization of how people in this thread are using the term. That was the intent of my push-back.
My basic and strongly held assumption in communicating on this forum is that B-Greekers are knowledgeable. The second - less strongly held - is that most participants hold to (or are at least aware of the concept of) a belief in personalised divine agency. Subject-affectedness, it seems to me, is a point where, in attempt to explicate the agency to our own satisfaction, we will imply a subject, that will be most suitable to our own sensibilities, i.e. an agent to fill in the gap left by subject-affected constructions.

Without experience in dealing with a category of grammar and without a breadth of knowledge more extensive than the point which is under consideration, it is very easy to fill in all the gaps of what we wished we knew with the available knowledge that we have. That is a normal human reaction to ignorance + the desire to know. Eeli has gone some good way towards describing the limitations of what the grammatical system of Greek is capable of / comfortable with conveying. Knowing what the Greek is capable of (and not capable of) expressing with clarity is a step in the right direction towards phrasing sensible questions that can be asked of the texts that we have.

Superstitions of the type that Eeli describes are one problem in reading a language that (honestly speaking) we don't know in all its nuances and implicatiions (but we are trying as best we can). In that situation, there is a tendency to ask the question, "Well what DO we know?" and to use those points as more or less immoveable supports for our understanding which we can rely on. That of course is not bad and it altogether necessary, but it does have the down side that they can eclipse (or replace) the points that we don't know (in the case of those whose knowledge is not well formed) or not let us step back and see what the Greek doesn't say, but context does, as Eeli has pointed out.

While we are on the topic of superstitions, another type of superstition (besides divine agency to explain the unknown and talismans that can be carried into unfamiliar situations to make us feel better and bring meaning in ways they were not intended to) to be careful of is unrelated associations. Things like because there is such and so form her together with a such and so other form, therefore something something something must be true. At a simplistic level, this sentence has a genitive in it, therefore some such thing. At a more advanced level combinations of verb tenses in a phrase imply somethings that are unrelated. A recurrent example is the subjunctive after ἵνα that is translated as a subjunctive. ἵνα is a discourse marker and the form after it is subjunctive in the way that a nominal element is genitive after ἐκ. Making an ado out it being subjunctive is like various superstitious associations and avoidances.

Re: πορεύθητι and πορεύου Acts 9:11 & 15

Posted: June 29th, 2015, 2:10 am
by Stephen Hughes
cwconrad wrote:But the fact is, we've been over this before; it's been forgotten or ignored -- and the question is asked again.
My current signature wrote:τῶν δ᾽ εἴ τί σοι ψελλόν τε καὶ δυσεύρετον,
ἐπανδίπλαζε καὶ σαφῶς ἐκμάνθανε: (Aesch. P.V. 816-7)