The Middle Voice in the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament
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The Hellenistic Greek verbal system was capable of communicating three voices: active, middle, and passive. Of these, the middle voice has long proven the most difficult for English speakers to understand. Questions exist regarding the Hellenistic Greek middle voice forms (morphology) and function (semantics). Morphologically, these questions focus on the function of the (θ)η forms of the aorist and future tenses. Semantically, these questions focus on the range of meaning the Greek middle voice communicated and the legitimacy of the concept of deponency in Greek. Answers to these questions have obvious bearing on the study of the Septuagint and Greek New Testament.This dissertation addresses these questions. It argues that the middle voice in the Septuagint and Greek New Testament expresses a broad variety of semantically related ideas, all of which revolve around the notion of subject focus. The dissertation advances this argument in two ways. First, it describes the historical origins of the Greek voice system through a diachronic study of related Indo-European languages. Second, it applies the eleven middle voice semantic types described by Rutger J. Allan in his study of Classical Greek to the literature of the Septuagint and Greek New Testament. Specifically, chapter 1 of the dissertation provides an overview of recent Greek middle voice studies, showing where advances can be made within the field. Chapter 2 describes a diachronic sketch of ancient Indo-European middle voice phenomena. The chapter describes middle voice morphology, semantics, and syntax in Proto-Indo-European, Hittite, Sanskrit, Classical Greek, and Hellenistic Greek. Evidence from the chapter sheds light on the semantic core and range of semantic applications of the Greek middle voice. Further, evidence from this chapter sheds light on the medio-passive function of Greek (θ)η aorist and future verbs. Chapters 3-6 apply each of Rutger J. Allan’s eleven Classical Greek middle voice types to the literature of the Septuagint and Greek New Testament. Chapter 3 discusses the passive, spontaneous process, and mental process middle types. Chapter 4 discusses the body motion, collective motion, and reciprocal middle types. Chapter 5 discusses the direct reflexive, perception, and mental activity middle types. Chapter 6 discusses the speech act and indirect reflexive middle types. These chapters provide an abundance of verses from the Septuagint and Greek New Testament showing each of these middle voice uses to be fully operational in this literature. Finally, chapter 7 draws conclusions from this study and suggests areas for future research on the Greek middle voice.