Understanding Greek Middle Voice: A New Proposal for a Persistent Problem

The last few decades have seen a number of scholarly works produced on various aspects of the Greek middle voice calling for changes ranging from changes in terminology (e.g., deponency) to the description of its meaning (e.g., subject affectedness or subject-oriented), to abandoning the traditional tripartite division Greek voice into active, middle, and passive in favor of understanding the -θη forms as a less-transitive subset of middle voice (Allan 2002, Pennington 2003, 2020, R. Aubrey 2016, 2020, 2023, Kmetko 2018, 2022, Cruickshank 2022, Maketansky 2023). Despite these advances, introductory accounts of Greek voice have noted these advances and yet persisted in retaining a largely traditional account (e.g., Mathewson 2021). Furthermore, recent crosslinguistic descriptions of middle voice semantics have challenged Kemmer’s (1993) very influential premise that ‘subject-affectedness’ best describes the semantics of middle voice (Inglese 2020, 2022, 2023). Building on the work of R. Aubrey (2016, 2020) and Inglese (2022, 2023), this paper will offer an updated description of the Greek middle voice that reflects current typological research but is also functional enough to serve the needs of NT pedagogy and exegesis.

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