A few days ago, the Classics Blog, Sententiae Antiquae, had a lovely piece on how language, grammar, and gender often intersect. A man marries, a woman gets married, but what about divorce & adultery? Rachel Aubrey investigates.
What reasons are there for a Greek speaker to use a reflexive pronoun with a verb rather than the middle voice?
Both contributors to this blog (yes, there actually is more than one --- Mike and Rachel Aubrey) are contributing to the Greek Prepositions Workshop at Tyndale House, Cambridge this coming summer. We're co-authoring two papers. We will be doing an examination of the semantics of ἐκ and ἀπό, the emphasis on how their usage has... Continue Reading →
I read an excellent article in Novum Testamentum yesterday that argues that the novel sense of διακρίνομαι 'to hesitate,' or as BDAG puts it: "to be uncertain, be at odds w. oneself, doubt, waver", doesn't actually exist. The author, Peter Spitaler, puts forward the argument that such a meaning is wholly unknown to Greek patristic... Continue Reading →
That moment when you read in BDAG (and BAGD, too) that σκοτίζω's middle form has the function of: The passive of moral darkening. That's about as beautiful as some of Wallace's (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics) categories for case (especially the genitive ones). This particular instance seems to be an effort on the part of... Continue Reading →
That moment when you read in BDAG that κοιμάω is: in our lit. only in pass. and w. act. sense. ...and then the definitions are: "to be asleep" and "to be dead." I'm well aware, of course, that Allan's The Middle Voice in Ancient Greek: A Study of Polysemy (or any number of works that I regularly cite when I... Continue Reading →
Transitivity isn't a binary thing. You can scale it across usage. This is clear in things like lexical semantics. Consider the middle instances of φοβέω, for example. ἐφοβήθησαν δὲ ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ῥωμαῖοί εἰσιν, they grew afraid when they heard they were Roman citizens (Acts 16:38). ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν· They were greatly terrified (they feared [with... Continue Reading →