Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

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davidmccollough
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Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

Post by davidmccollough » March 31st, 2016, 10:45 am

Is pausontai in 1 Cor 13:8 intransitive and if so, does this undermine the argument that tongues stopped by themselves before the arrival of "the perfect" because middle voice must mean "stop by, for themselves"?

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 31st, 2016, 3:00 pm

davidmccollough wrote:Is pausontai in 1 Cor 13:8 intransitive and if so, does this undermine the argument that tongues stopped by themselves before the arrival of "the perfect" because middle voice must mean "stop by, for themselves"?
It's intransitive here and means nothing more than the grammatical subject undergoes a change of state from active to non-active/stopped. "By/for themselves" is nonsense.

cwconrad
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Re: Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

Post by cwconrad » March 31st, 2016, 3:30 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
davidmccollough wrote:Is pausontai in 1 Cor 13:8 intransitive and if so, does this undermine the argument that tongues stopped by themselves before the arrival of "the perfect" because middle voice must mean "stop by, for themselves"?
It's intransitive here and means nothing more than the grammatical subject undergoes a change of state from active to non-active/stopped. "By/for themselves" is nonsense.
I had to do a double-take here about this "a change of state from active to non-active", but I guess what is meant is that the tongues which heretofore were active will stop being active. This verb, παύεσθαι, is one that I think ought properly to be lemmatized in the middle-voice form; the active παύειν means "cause to cease" or "stop (someone) from doing (something). The middle παύεσθαι is ordinarily used with a participle, so here the implication is παύσονται λαλοῦσαι (αἱ γλὼσσαι)..
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

davidmccollough
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Re: Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

Post by davidmccollough » March 31st, 2016, 4:54 pm

Thank you both for your replies!

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Intransitivity in 1 Cor 13:8

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 31st, 2016, 5:54 pm

cwconrad wrote: I had to do a double-take here about this "a change of state from active to non-active", but I guess what is meant is that the tongues which heretofore were active will stop being active.
Yes. Sorry for bad English. "Change of state" is stock vocabulary in linguistics: "The verb to stop is a clear example of a change-of-state verb." (Michela Ippolito: Subjunctive Conditionals: A Linguistic Analysis, p. 123. Found by googling.) If something stops, its state is changed.

I think παύεσθαι is as ambiguous as English "stop": a car can stop because you use the pedal, or it hits a wall, or it runs out of gasoline, or the engine breaks. The verb doesn't tell anything about the reason or activity or passivity or anything else about the participants or the situation. The car just stops. Grammatically car is the subject and stop is active. It just doesn't mean that the car actively does the stopping - or that something else stops it actively. It just describes what happens to the car. "γλῶσσαι, παύσονται" is similar: it just describes (with subject-affected mediopassive diathesis) what happens to tongues, whatever the force or actor or reason which leads to it.

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