μοιχευθῆναι (Matt 5:32) passive

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deborahewitt
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

μοιχευθῆναι (Matt 5:32) passive

Post by deborahewitt » May 7th, 2015, 2:24 am

What difference does the passive voice make here: "ποιεῖ αὐτὴν ⸀μοιχευθῆναι"? Any suggestions appreciated.
Debbie Hewitt
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cwconrad
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Re: μοιχευθῆναι (Matt 5:32) passive

Post by cwconrad » May 7th, 2015, 6:30 am

deborahewitt wrote:What difference does the passive voice make here: "ποιεῖ αὐτὴν ⸀μοιχευθῆναι"? Any suggestions appreciated.
Debbie Hewitt
I think that there are a couple things to note here:

1) Although the verb usage is not wholly consistent, μοιχεύειν/μοιχεύεσθαι functions in terms of voice usage much as does γαμεῖν/γαμεῖσθαι; that is to say, the active form is used of the man who marries or commits adultery, while the middle form is used of the woman entering into a marriage or committing adultery.

2) The -θη- "passive" forms in the era of NT Koine are in the process of supplanting the older "middle" μην/σο/το personal endings in the aorist. So the tense-forms for the middle voice used for a woman committing adultery are: μοιχεύεσθαι, μοιχεύσεσθαι, μοιχευθῆναι. The sense of ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι is "causes her to commit adultery" or "brings her into an adulterous relationship"; that is to say, his own divorce and remarriage brings his erstwhile wife into an adulterous relationship with himself -- his behavior has dissolved her legal and moral status.
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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)

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