[b-greek] What OU negates in James 2:24.

From: Moon-Ryul Jung (moon@saint.soongsil.ac.kr)
Date: Mon Feb 12 2001 - 22:40:03 EST

Dear Bgreekers,
on the thread on the translation of James 2:24, the general issue
of what OU negates in a given sentence, the verb or other parts, arose.
I think this is an important issue. I hope that the issue can get some

> >But in general, these two ways of construing OU, e.g. negating the whole
> >proposition (equivalently, the verb phrase) and negating other parts of
> >it
> >(e.g. adverbials), should not be the same. Here the verb DIKAIOUNTAI is
 the topic whose means the author wants to talk
> >about: the issue or focus in question is its means: whether by works as
> >well or only by faith. So, from the viewpoint of discourse analysis, OU
> >here
> >negates EK PISTEWS MONON rather than the whole clause EK PISTEWS MONON
> >


> This seems to me to be very strained. In this case I see no problem with seeingI find that most of the time in the
> NT OU(K) negates the verb.
> DIKAIOUNTAI as understood (a common phenomenon in Greek and in English) in
> the second clause and OU as negating that verbal idea. In fact no other way
> seems possible to me. Hence, "You see that a man is made right with God by
> works and (is) not (made right) by faith alone."

What about the following examples?

(1) He went to New York, but not I.
(2) By bus he went to New Work, but not by car.

In (1), the fact that somebody went to New York is assumed. This is
often called the topic of the sentence. The new information,
often called the Focus of the sentence, is that the goer was He, not I.
(1) can be paraphrased as:
It was He who went to New York, not I.

Similarly, (2) can be paraphrased as:

It was by bus that he went to New York, not by car.

(1) does not convey the same information as

(3) He went to New York, but I did not go to New York.

In (1) HE and I are contrasted. In (3) He going to New York and
I going to New York are contrasted.

The contrast implied in James 2:24 can be visible by the following

It is by works, not by faith alone that man is justified.

In summary, I think the following statement of yours should be considered
an empirical statement rather than a linguistic principle.

"I find that most of the time in the NT OU(K) negates the verb."

Moon-Ryul Jung
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea

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