Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm asking what difference in meaning, if any, lies between the two forms in this context. It is possible that the two forms could so overlap as to entail the same event even as they still denote, or focus, on different parts of it. If I recall Allan's work correctly, the aorist middles tend to go with volitional actions while the aorist passives tend to indicate undergoing the process without regard to volition. Could that be the difference in nuance? Or is it something else? Or are they exact synonyms?
I'm just trying to think of what sort of data we'd need to accumulate to answer such a question. How is "this context" defined? I've been thinking of GNT verbs that are found in both the MP1 and MP2 (θη) forms. In a middle-only verb like ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι, for instance, there are the following instances in John's gospel:
John 5:35 ἐκεῖνος ἦν ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων, ὑμεῖς δὲ ἠθελήσατε ἀγαλλιαθῆναι πρὸς ὥραν ἐν τῷ φωτὶ αὐτοῦ.
John 8:56 Ἀβραὰμ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἠγαλλιάσατο ἵνα ἴδῃ τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἐμήν, καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐχάρη.
It's hard to see ἀγαλλιαθῆναι
here as involuntary, especially as it follows upon ἠθελήσατε.
The middle 3sg. aorist ἀπεκρίνατο appears 7x (in Mk, Lk, Jn, and Acts), the 3sg.aorist ἀπεκρίθη appears 83x (in Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Acts, and Rev.).
The verb εὐαγγελίζομαι, on the other hand, is clearly a transitive middle verb (the active is found 2x -- in Rev!); all four instances of the passive -θη- form are clearly semantically passive.
The verb ἵστημι/ἵσταμαι in the GNT raises some questions. I'm inclined with Randall to distinguish between the intransitive ἴσταμαι, στήσομαι, ἕστην and the transitive causative ἵστημι, στήσω, ἔστησα. But can we draw any clear distinction between στῆναι and σταθῆναι? Mark 3:24-26 would seem to require the sort of contextual pattern called for:
Mark 3:24 καὶ ἐὰν βασιλεία ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτὴν μερισθῇ, οὐ δύναται σταθῆναι ἡ βασιλεία ἐκείνη· 25 καὶ ἐὰν οἰκία ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτὴν μερισθῇ, οὐ δυνήσεται ἡ οἰκία ἐκείνη σταθῆναι. 26 καὶ εἰ ὁ σατανᾶς ἀνέστη ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἐμερίσθη, οὐ δύναται στῆναι ἀλλὰ τέλος ἔχει.
I think that validation of Stephen's hypothesis, that in a given context the middle (MP1) form involves voluntary action while the passive (MP2) form involves involuntary action, would require a lot more evidence. It may well be the case, as Rutger Allan has shown in his diagrams of middle categories using the different MP1 and MP2 forms in Homer and Classical Attic, that there was such a distinction at one time but that such a distinction was not felt so keenly in a later era. Was it still felt at all in the Hellenistic era? My guess is that the -θη- forms may have been employed in the infinitive (perhaps also the imperative and subjunctive) sooner than in the indicative; that would be like the inroads of -α inflections in 2nd aorist verbs -- they weren't seen in as soon in the 2nd sg. and pl. as quickly as in the 1st sg. and 3d pl.
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)