Stephen Carlson wrote:
BenAskins wrote:Would it be reasonable to conclude that the two participles from James 1:6 discussed above (ἀνεμιζομένῳ / ῥιπιζομένῳ) could be considered as "Spontaneous Process Middles" [Rutger Allan] (or possibly Suzanne Kemmer's "Spontaneous Event Middle")?
Or might a "Body Motion Middle" be more appropriate, signifying the change in posture of the inanimate sea wave as being "wind-driven" and "wind-tossed"?
What's wrong with the Passive category of Allan's, since the waves are being affected by an external force of the wind?
I recall that we once had a discussion of whether ταραχθῇ in Jn 5:8 ὅταν ταραχθῇ τὸ ὕδωρ ιs middle or passive. ταράσσομαι very commonly appears in contexts of emotional turmoil.
I think that the passive and the spontaneous process are not so sharply distinguished; the significant factor, I think, is whether the process seems to be initiated or to initiate itself from within. σαπῆναι "go bad/rot" or θέρεσθαι "become warm/warm up" may be viewed from the perspective of modern physics as processes initiated by a cause or agent external to the subject, but as perceived the process takes place within the subject. I think this is a reason why Greek (and PIE) originally had only the two fundamental morphological categories (default, subject-affected). Allan (pp. 60-61) lists as subcategories of spontaneous process: physiological processes, inorganic processes, changes in physical properties, appearing and disappearing, verbs of happening and occurring. It's worth noting too that much of our language of spontaneous process, even if we know something about physical and chemical factors in play, is formulated in terms of the subject's participation in the action: "the wind sweeps over the plain" or "the fruit is rotting on the trees" or "The grapes are ripening." Allan has noted too that in Homeric Greek the -θη- forms were being used only with verbs in the subcategories of spontaneous process and passive, but that these forms later spread to other middle subcategories.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)