Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

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Dave Soemarko
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Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Dave Soemarko » August 4th, 2011, 1:10 pm

Most English readers are familiar with this verse "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal 2:19 GBT or 2:20 in most English translations). It is perfect passive. However, the language that I work with translate it similar to Greek, that is, it can be middle or passive, and some interprete it as middle (I have crucified myself with Christ). Since the morphology for perfect passive and that for perfect middle are the same, can I argue for the passive voice from Greek only?

BDAG's entry for συσταυρόω says "pf. συνεσταύρωμαι. In our lit. only pass" (underline mine). How much weight can I use that for argument? Suppose someone says "yes I know that's what BDAG says, but I still don't agree. I still think it is middle." Then there is nothing I can do to argue from Greek, or is there? Or, if I am writing an article, and I say it is passive and I quote BDAG for the argument, is that considered sufficient enough for support?
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by cwconrad » August 4th, 2011, 1:53 pm

Dave Soemarko wrote:Most English readers are familiar with this verse "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal 2:19 GBT or 2:20 in most English translations). It is perfect passive. However, the language that I work with translate it similar to Greek, that is, it can be middle or passive, and some interprete it as middle (I have crucified myself with Christ). Since the morphology for perfect passive and that for perfect middle are the same, can I argue for the passive voice from Greek only?

BDAG's entry for συσταυρόω says "pf. συνεσταύρωμαι. In our lit. only pass" (underline mine). How much weight can I use that for argument? Suppose someone says "yes I know that's what BDAG says, but I still don't agree. I still think it is middle." Then there is nothing I can do to argue from Greek, or is there? Or, if I am writing an article, and I say it is passive and I quote BDAG for the argument, is that considered sufficient enough for support?
My 2c worth: There's a good reason why Greek allows the middle-passive verb-forms (both the μαι/σαι/ται;μην/σο/το forms and the -θη- forms) to be employed for either sense, and that is: both senses emphasize the involvement of the subject as something more than an agent of the verbal process. I have no objection to understanding συνεσταύρωμαι in a passive sense as "I have been crucified with ... " -- just as I also have no objection to understanding βαπτίζομαι as a passive and Englishing it as "I am being baptized (by somebody)"; BUT in both instances (and in others as well), even if we understand these verbal processes in terms of the subject as the patient of the verbal process, it is also true that in both (verbal processes) the subject consciously and deliberately consents to the performance of the action. Some of the grammars therefore speak of a "permissive passive" and that term would fit the usage of these two verb-forms: βαπτίζομαι = "I undergo baptism of my own accord with the assistance or at the hands of another party ... " and συνεσταύρωμαι = "I have let myself be crucified with ... "

Of course there are instances where the middle-passive form is clearly passive in meaning and the indication of agent or instrument helps to make that meaning clear: ἐβλήθη ἡ γύνη λίθοις ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῶν χαλεπαινόντων. But commonly enough the middle-passive form by itself only indicates the subject's central involvement in the verbal process, whether as agent, patient, undergoer, or beneficiary.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 4th, 2011, 5:06 pm

Dave Soemarko wrote: Since the morphology for perfect passive and that for perfect middle are the same, can I argue for the passive voice from Greek only?
Maybe not from morphology, but how about the verb itself? Crucifying was very concrete act for Jesus and others who lived under Roman dominion. Paul uses it "figuratively" because we are not physically crucified, but I think it's probable that people still used the word as it was used historically, including the morphological semantics. It's hardly possible for one to crucify himself, and therefore the middle/passive form had naturally passive meaning for the original audience. To argue for reflexive meaning we should have clear and strong contextual evidence.
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Dave Soemarko
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Dave Soemarko » August 4th, 2011, 5:59 pm

Thank you, Prof. Conrad. Your examples are very clear and illustrate the point so well! And I am going to read Wallace again tonight on the details of middle voice...

But concerning that BDAG says in our literature, συσταυρόω occurs only as passive, should I just take it as it is talking about morphology only? That is, BDAG is saying that it occurs only in passive (which is the same as middle) form, but meaning wise it can be passive or middle.

Also, I have a question about this:
Greek allows the middle-passive verb-forms (both the μαι/σαι/ται;μην/σο/το forms and the -θη- forms) to be employed for either sense
Are you saying that even the -θη- form can have middle sense, or am I misreading you?


Thanks again.
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Dave Soemarko
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Dave Soemarko » August 4th, 2011, 7:06 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Maybe not from morphology, but how about the verb itself? Crucifying was very concrete act for Jesus and others who lived under Roman dominion. Paul uses it "figuratively" because we are not physically crucified, but I think it's probable that people still used the word as it was used historically, including the morphological semantics. It's hardly possible for one to crucify himself, and therefore the middle/passive form had naturally passive meaning for the original audience. To argue for reflexive meaning we should have clear and strong contextual evidence.
Eeli, I agree with you on the word meaning. Also, in the context Paul is arguing that all is work of God, lest we nullify the grace of God. However, some groups that I know like to use this passage to "remind" people that we need to crucify ourselves. They are not cultic or strange, but they just misunderstood this passage and use it to say the truth of "getting rid of the old self and putting on the new self," which is really not the topic of this passage.

But when I explain to them, I want to use both the context and the Greek, hence the original question of whether using BDAG's "in our literature, only pass" is sufficient to prove that it is passive.
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cwconrad
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by cwconrad » August 4th, 2011, 7:48 pm

Dave Soemarko wrote:Thank you, Prof. Conrad. Your examples are very clear and illustrate the point so well! And I am going to read Wallace again tonight on the details of middle voice...

But concerning that BDAG says in our literature, συσταυρόω occurs only as passive, should I just take it as it is talking about morphology only? That is, BDAG is saying that it occurs only in passive (which is the same as middle) form, but meaning wise it can be passive or middle..
BDAG does indeed refer to the voice-forms in traditional terms; for instance, BDAG commonly refers to verbs being "passive with active sense" -- the verbs thus referred to are ones that I would call "middle verbs."
Dave Soemarko wrote:Also, I have a question about this:
Greek allows the middle-passive verb-forms (both the μαι/σαι/ται;μην/σο/το forms and the -θη- forms) to be employed for either sense
Are you saying that even the -θη- form can have middle sense, or am I misreading you?
That is exactly what I am saying. -θη- verbs are middle-passive -- as are verbs in μαι/σαι/ται;μην/σο/το.
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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)

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 5th, 2011, 4:49 am

Dave Soemarko wrote: But when I explain to them, I want to use both the context and the Greek, hence the original question of whether using BDAG's "in our literature, only pass" is sufficient to prove that it is passive.
The best you could do with Greek would be to use the TLG corpus, find all occurrences of συσταυρόω and check if it's ever used in non-passive sense. (The same for σταυρόω; I think the former is semantically a direct derivative of the latter so much that it only adds "with" and can be evaluated in the same way. I'm limiting the sample to semantic category "crucify".) If there are enough occurrences and they never have none-passive sense, and the logic of my explanation holds, you can say that the passive sense is exegetically/linguistically more probable and the passage shouldn't be used to prove the opposing view.

I believe my theory does use Greek and clear inductive exegesis. Also, I believe it uses the same methods which are used when writing lexicons. A linguist/lexicologist can evaluate if I'm right. Whether people not trained in such disciplines can be persuaded with that is another thing. The usual problem with prooftexting is that the prooftexters will not change their minds even when given proper evidence. Exegetical (linguistic, historical etc.) methodology is too much for them. Most real Greek exegesis is more nuanced than checking from a grammar book if some form can mean something and making a decision based on one's theology.

I believe you already know and understand this, but it's very difficult to teach it to some people. What I was arguing for is that we have to find out how the original writers/readers used their language, in this case the specific word and its morphological forms. That's how you can use Greek to prove your point - they just won't accept it if they don't understand it.

After all this digression, back to your original question: when trying to find out what the BDAG writers really meant we should find out how they used the words "passive" and "middle" for ambiguous middle-passive forms (those forms which are same for the traditional "passive" and "middle"). Would they have used the word "passive" for an ambiguos middle-passive form even when it could have had non-passive, i.e. traditional middle, meaning? I'm not qualified to answer that. Actually, IANAL (I Am Not A Linguist) and am not really qualified to answer anything :) Hopefully Carl can answer to this question - his previous post wasn't clear on that specific point IMO.
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Dave Soemarko
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Dave Soemarko » August 6th, 2011, 6:50 pm

Eeli, I appreciate your input very much, and I certainly did not mean that I didn't think your theory was Greek. It was just that I was (and still am) very new here, so I am extra cautious not to violate any rule here. I was probably a little over cautious though because exegesis in Greek is indeed Greek. It might not be Greek morphology alone, but it is Greek. :)

I haven't check the TLG corpus, but I did check the NT again. Last time I checked was about a year ago, and from your suggestion, I decided to go back and look more carefully. συνεσταύρόω only occurs 5 times in the NT. Three times it was used for the thieves who were "together crucified" with Jesus. Both usages of present and aorist are used. This is interesting because in aorist we have a different form for passive voice. Since they are talking about the same thing/event, we know that συνεσταύρωμαι is used in passive sense.

Τὸ δ᾽ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ οἱ συσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν. (Mat 27:44 BGT)
ὁ χριστὸς ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἰσραὴλ καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ, ἵνα ἴδωμεν καὶ πιστεύσωμεν. καὶ οἱ συνεσταυρωμένοι σὺν αὐτῷ ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν. (Mar 15:32 BGT)
ἦλθον οὖν οἱ στρατιῶται καὶ τοῦ μὲν πρώτου κατέαξαν τὰ σκέλη καὶ τοῦ ἄλλου τοῦ συσταυρωθέντος αὐτῷ· (Joh 19:32 BGT)

The other one is inRom 6:6 where Paul says that our old self (man) has been crucified with Christ. This one talks about our old man, and passive voice is used.

τοῦτο γινώσκοντες ὅτι ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη, ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, τοῦ μηκέτι δουλεύειν ἡμᾶς τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ· (Rom 6:6 BGT)

None of these prove that the συνεσταύρωμαι in Gal is definitely passive, of course; but it is a nice study for myself.

Thanks again for your input!
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » August 6th, 2011, 6:58 pm

Since they are talking about the same thing/event, we know that συνεσταύρωμαι is used in passive sense.
Not to venture too much into theology here, but you're assuming way more than what's in evidence in this assertion.
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Dave Soemarko
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Re: Gal 2:19 Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι

Post by Dave Soemarko » August 6th, 2011, 8:00 pm

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
Since they are talking about the same thing/event, we know that συνεσταύρωμαι is used in passive sense.
Not to venture too much into theology here, but you're assuming way more than what's in evidence in this assertion.
Could you elaborate a little?

I do see the tense difference, and I am not saying that they are exactly the same, but I don't see any difference as far as the voice goes.

Let's take the synoptics only, I assume they were both talking about the thieves that were (passive) crucified together with Jesus. The evangelists either wrote independently or one smoothing the other one a little (I guess we don't have to get into the priority things), or they were just different because of aspects. Are you saying that Mark might have a different theology that stresses the middle voice of συνεσταύρωμαι (συνεσταυρωμένοι in this case)? If so, what could the middle sense be? (I am not disagreeing, but I am just not seeing it. The thieves could not have crucified themselves, could they?).
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