Re: Double negatives

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Thu Nov 18 1999 - 11:22:28 EST

<x-flowed>To: David Miller,

<< The standard view is that, because of the double negative, the expected
answer is "Yes" when MH + OUK occur together in a question. ... Leon
Morris, however, suggests that while this is the case in 10:18, in 10:19
"MH introduces the question, but OUK is found with the verb: the question
negates the suggestion that Israel did not know." (Morris 393 #78) >>

A question introduced by MH normally expects a negative answer, but where
the main verb is itself negated by OU an affirmative answer is now
anticipated. At Romans 10:18 Paul asks "have they not heard?" and expects
an affirmative answer "they have heard"; now when Paul asks "did Israel not
understand?" (if I understand you correctly) Morris wants to suggest that
Paul is expecting a negative answer, is that correct? According to most
grammarians, the answer expected is affirmative "they did understand." Is
it possible you have misunderstood Morris? For isn't that the same thing as
negating "the suggestion that Israel did not know"?

If you haven't misunderstood Morris, the question which needs to be asked
is what evidence does Morris provide for such an interpretation?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"There was indeed a passing hope that the United States might shed the
dubious distinction of being, as someone quipped, the only nation in the
history of humanity 'to move directly from' barbarism to decadence 'without
an interval of civilization'" (Frederick W. Danker, "A Century of
Greco-Roman Philology," 185).

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