Greek middle voice

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AlexCostea
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Greek middle voice

Post by AlexCostea » February 9th, 2016, 11:21 am

Hello everybody. My name is Alex and I'm currently a student at the Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands. I'm also really interested in the biblical languages, especially Greek. For this particular reason my thesis will be on the translation of the Greek middle voice, but I have some struggles finding really good studies or developments in this area. I have few articles on it and just the reference grammars (Wallace, BDF, Robertson, Moulton). Does anyone know more good resources on this topic? Thank you a lot.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Greek middle voice

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 9th, 2016, 6:18 pm

Are you familiar with Carl Conrad's Ancient Greek Voice page? I think he has strongly influenced the way many of us understand the middle voice.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

AlexCostea
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Re: Greek middle voice

Post by AlexCostea » February 9th, 2016, 7:18 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Are you familiar with Carl Conrad's Ancient Greek Voice page? I think he has strongly influenced the way many of us understand the middle voice.
Yes, I am familiar with his article "New Observations on Voice in the Ancient Greek Verb." But not too much:) it's always better to read as much as you can on a topic. But thank you for the answer, and I am sorry if it's not the best topic for this forum. I am new here so I don't know yet what is to be discussed and what it is not discussed.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Greek middle voice

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » February 9th, 2016, 7:27 pm

Check out Campbell's book Advances in the Study of Greek and this thread: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =66&t=3186.

Another thread which is about the above mentioned C. Conrad's view: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =34&t=2459.
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cwconrad
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Re: Greek middle voice

Post by cwconrad » February 10th, 2016, 11:11 am

AlexCostea wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:Are you familiar with Carl Conrad's Ancient Greek Voice page? I think he has strongly influenced the way many of us understand the middle voice.
Yes, I am familiar with his article "New Observations on Voice in the Ancient Greek Verb." But not too much:) it's always better to read as much as you can on a topic. But thank you for the answer, and I am sorry if it's not the best topic for this forum. I am new here so I don't know yet what is to be discussed and what it is not discussed.
That “New Observations” paper is outdated; more recent items that I’ve written are listed on that page. I probably should have pulled it.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Check out Campbell's book Advances in the Study of Greek and this thread: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =66&t=3186.

Another thread which is about the above mentioned C. Conrad's view: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =34&t=2459.
The thread that Eeli refers to resulted in the item https://pages.wustl.edu/files/pages/imc ... 201102.pdf — I’m working on a new essay on this now.Here I’m going to hazard an all-too brief and perhaps all-too-cryptic summation:

I’d say that an adequate description of ancient Greek voice forms and usage is greatly complicated by linguistic changes that took place over the course of several centuries. Earlier phases of these changes can be seen in the Homeric poems; they are far from completed in the time of NT Koine. A key factor in those changes is the development of -θη- forms in the aorist and future tenses, evidently out of aorist active forms in -η- originally used to encode intransitive or reflexive-type events for verbs found with “middle” patterns in the present (e.g. ἐφάνθη/ἐφάνη/φαίνεται, ἐστάθη/ἔστη/ἵσταται). Greek inherited from PIE a two-voice distinction between “active” patterns of inflection, most simply described as unmarked for subject-affectedness, and “middle-passive” patterns of inflection that are marked for subject-affectedness. The middle-passive patterns are polysemous; they encode several varieties of event-types including reflexive, self-benefactive, perceptive, emotional, volitional, and spontaneous process as well as passive (alteration by external agent instrument). Some of these verbs commonly found in middle-passive patτerns have active patterns indicating causation (e.g. ἵστασθαι “stand” vs. ἴστάναι “cause to stand”, σήπεσθαι “rot” vs. σήπειν “cause to rot”). Over the course of centuries, -θη- middle-passive patterns have been supplanting older middle-passive patterns in -μην/σο/το κτλ. (e.g. ἀπεκρίθη has supplanted ἀπεκρίνατο, ἐγενήθη is supplanting ἐγένετο). The “classical” distinction between active and passive verbs is useful for describing verbs that are fundamentally transitive (e.g. ἀπέκτεινε “killed” vs. ἀπεκτάνθη “was killed”), but the -θη- “passive” forms were not and are not fundamentally employed to encode passive meaning. Verbs traditionally termed “deponent” are best described as “subject-affected” verbs that ordinarily are found in middle-passive patterns (e.g. βούλεσθαι/βουληθῆναι, δύνασθαι/δυνηθῆναι). Verbs that are subject-affected may and frequently do appear in active patterns of inflection, where subject-affectedness is present but not marked (e.g. ὁρᾶν, ἀκούειν, γι(γ)νώσκειν). Perhaps the simplest accounting of recent thinking about ancient Greek voice is that we now better understand the nature of polysemous subject-affected verbs and their marked forms in -σθαι and -ῆναι/-θῆναι patterns of inflection.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

AlexCostea
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Joined: February 9th, 2016, 11:15 am

Re: Greek middle voice

Post by AlexCostea » February 10th, 2016, 2:34 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Check out Campbell's book Advances in the Study of Greek and this thread: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =66&t=3186.

Another thread which is about the above mentioned C. Conrad's view: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =34&t=2459.
Thank you for the advice. I just got that book and I got the chance to look through a little bit. It is useful, but I wished it had more, doesn't go too much in detail. But the middle voice section does have some articles at the end that will be more than helpful, so I guess that's a good start.
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AlexCostea
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Joined: February 9th, 2016, 11:15 am

Re: Greek middle voice

Post by AlexCostea » February 10th, 2016, 3:02 pm

Thank you very much for the answer, Dr. Conrad:) I read the article on the ancient Greek voice forms and it is really helpful. What I found for myself not that easy to explain are the "middle-passive" forms and recently I encountered an article of an Eastern Orthodox guy who was arguing for the reflexive translation throughout his whole paper in order for this to support the Orthodox soteriology (you have to earn your salvation). For instance he examines Luke 13:23a: Εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ· κύριε, εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι; (NA28). And this substantival participle is translated by the Orthodox Church as "those who save themselves." At a close look their translation does give you this sensation that the verb is translated always as pointing out "those who save themselves." Any grammatical discussion you bring up doesn't seem to work for him. Anyway, I'm going astray with my encounters of these attempts of Romanian translation of the Greek NT. Bottom line, I found the paper helpful:)
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